With all of the struggles that the offense has faced since the loss of Ezekiel Elliott, it has been hard for the Cowboys to score any points. Dak Prescott has not played particularly well, his receivers haven’t always done a great job of getting open, and the playcalling has been head-scratching at times. There is a lot of blame to go around for this three-game skid.
On Thanksgiving, Dallas had the opportunity to rebound after two disappointing losses against NFC contenders. They welcomed in a 4-6 Los Angeles Chargers team into AT&T Stadium on Turkey Day; things looked optimistic to get turned around at home before two divisional games ahead.
Instead, the offense had an even worse start on Thursday. The Cowboys scored seven first half points against Atlanta and nine versus the Eagles. It certainly could not get any worse than that, right? Well, the offense was completely shutout in the first two quarters of play against a mediocre defense (the Chargers entered the game in the 20’s in YPG).
It did not get much better from there. The Cowboys had a golden opportunity to make it a game in the second half against the Chargers, but a Dak Prescott rushing touchdown was called back after Tyron Smith was called for holding. Points were taken off the board and the drive stalled due to the penalty. It was a punch in the gut for a team that appeared to be finally gaining some momentum.
As it turns out, the Cowboys were held to just six points on the day. The team is averaging 7.3 points per contest over the three games since the Zeke suspension was brought down. That’s ... not ideal.
One player did stand out for the offense, though.
The Cowboys have tried to make up for 21’s absence, largely depending on Alfred Morris in the run game. Dak has gotten some carries on read-option keepers, and Rod Smith has had opportunities as well. Smith made the most of his opportunities on Thanksgiving.
The former Ohio State Buckeyes tailback carried the rock nine times for 41 yards — good for a 4.6 yard per carry average. He also caught two passes for seven yards and scored the team’s only points on the day when he reached the end zone in the final quarter:
The best of both worlds: Rod Smith scores first NFL career touchdown in a Cowboys loss.pic.twitter.com/IFbz9TNOjo— Eleven Warriors (@11W) November 24, 2017
It was a solid day for an offensive player on a day that was largely frustrating. Our own Dave Halprin named Smith one of the team’s ‘four winners’ after the game:
Rod Smith - He scored a TD for Dallas, something that it took 10 quarters to do after the team scored one on the Falcons. He also looks like a patient and powerful runner who can catch out of the backfield. He’s upped his stock.
Smith had a productive day and shows potential of becoming a better player as his role increases.
I still like Rod Smith. pic.twitter.com/Q2xXzAjpQ2— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) November 24, 2017
Here’s hoping Rod Smith builds on Thursday’s performance down the stretch. He gets our Thanksgiving Game Ball.