With one meaningless game to play, the offseason starts early for the Dallas Cowboys. In order to move forward, you have to look back. For today, looking back at the seven losses the Cowboys suffered this season, which one would you want back most? Let’s dive in to the candidates and their importance on how this season shook out.
9/17 Denver Debacle - Broncos 42, Cowboys 17
The 411: After riding high in week one, the Cowboys laid an egg in Mile High. From start to finish, this game by far makes the least amount of sense. The Broncos stifled every aspect of the Cowboys’ offense while shredding their defense in the process. Trevor Siemian looked like a Pro Bowler, throwing four touchdowns and 230+ yards. The Cowboys also allowed 178 rushing yards, 118 of which came from C.J. Anderson. The Cowboys surrendered the most points of their season in week two as they were outscored in three straight quarters.
Why this game?: Dallas just completely got whipped from the jump. The Broncos left this game 2-0 but since have won only three more games and sit at 5-10 on the season. The Cowboys beat the Giants in week one 19-3, New York beat Denver 23-10 less than a month after Dallas was destroyed. Again, this game made zero sense and was one of the most embarrassing blemishes of 2017.
Telling Stats: Dak Prescott threw the ball 50 times, completing only 30 passes with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Ezekiel Elliott rushed the ball nine times for eight yards, getting less than a yard per carry.
10/1 It’s the Rams, dude!- Rams 35, Cowboys 30
The 411: Dallas got back in business the week before while the Rams barely squeaked by the 49ers. After the game, Todd Gurley told Michael Irvin he was going to have to bust up the Cowboys. Dallas began by dominating the Rams and punishing them on the ground. The Cowboys’ defense was forcing a potent Rams offense off the field and bottling up Gurley. Dallas was up 24-16 at the half and the only touchdown allowed was due to a muffed Dallas punt. In the second half, the wheels came off and the Rams outscored the Cowboys 19-6 with big play help from Gurley, who delivered on his promise.
Why this game?: If Ryan Switzer catches that punt, Dallas has decent field position and a great chance to go up 24-6. Instead, they let the Rams right back into the game and Los Angeles put it on them in the second half. The Cowboys had them on the ropes and squandered the opportunity to knock them out.
Telling Stats: This was the first of five games Sean Lee has missed this season. In the second half, the Rams exposed Jaylon Smith and battered this defense for 168 rushing yards, 121 coming from Todd Gurley. He also had 94 receiving yards on seven catches and a touchdown. Kicker Greg Zuerlein made seven field goals in this game as well.
10/8 1:13 is an eternity! - Packers 35, Cowboys 31
The 411: Much like the week before, this was another second half meltdown as the Cowboys led this game 21-6 at one point. Green Bay scored a touchdown just before half but missed the extra point and it’s 21-12. In the third quarter, Green Bay scores a quick three points, forces a Dallas punt, then takes an eight minute drive that ends in a 22-21 lead change. Dallas regains a two point advantage but Terrance Williams decides to let a ball bounce off him and into the arms of a Packers defender who returns it for six. Dallas somehow rebounds in the fourth quarter to lead it 31-28 but left time on the clock. Aaron Rodgers marched the Packers down the field for the deciding score.
Why this game?: Once again, the Cowboys had ample opportunities to come out the victor but couldn’t get the Packers off the field. Just when it looks as though the Cowboys are going to force the Packers to use their final timeout, Scott Linehan calls a pass on second-and-goal that stops the clock. Dak Prescott scores quickly after, but that pass call looms large. Aaron Rodgers made them look absolutely silly in one minute of football.
Telling Stats: The Cowboys missing Lee allow a rookie running back to destroy the second level of this defense as the Packers rushed for 160 yards, Aaron Jones had 125 of those. The Cowboys won every battle but the turnover battle losing two fumbles and allowing a pick-six.
11/12 Dink and duck for cover, Dak! Falcons 27, Cowboys 7
The 411: The Falcons were a struggling team but got right against the Cowboys. So much pregame animosity between Jerry Jones and Arthur Blank as the Ezekiel Elliott suspension was rumored to be advised by Blank himself. In the first game without Elliott, the Cowboys forgot how to play offense. They were also missing key All Pro players that destroyed any hope to win this game.
Why this game?: No other team was a deciding factor in the Cowboys’ playoff hopes more than the Falcons. By losing this one, the Cowboys sat at 10th in the wildcard race and eventually were hoping Atlanta would lose two games just to have hope at the sixth seed. If they beat the Falcons, they may haven’t have had much wiggle room but at least they had some.
Telling Stats: Without Tyron Smith on the left side, Chaz Green was forced to fill in. He was atrocious and NFL journeyman Adrian Clayborn had six of their eight sacks on Dak Prescott. It was clear that Dak Prescott was rattled and it carried over into the next two weeks. There was no confidence on offense for the Cowboys.
11/19 No offense but you’re terrible. Eagles 37, Cowboys 9
The 411: For the second straight week, the offense redefined ineptitude even though Alfred Morris was breaking off good runs. The Eagles waited out Dallas’ best efforts and poured it on in the second half. Dallas was hopeless and Prescott was sacked four more times.
Why this game?: At 5-4, The Cowboys were still in the NFC East race, if they beat the Eagles at home, then they’re really in it having already gone 2-0 in the division. It would likely mean beating the Eagles twice but it wasn’t impossible. This week 17 game could have been the decider but now it’s meaningless.
Telling Stats: The Eagles owning a 7-6 advantage, had the following five drives: missed FG, punt, punt, punt, punt. The Cowboys offense scored a total of three points in that time, talk about a wasted defensive effort.
11/23 Thankful this game is over. Chargers 28, Cowboys 6
The 411: Wash, rinse, repeat. The Cowboys offense was terrible once again and the Chargers were able to get after Dak Prescott with two sacks. The Chargers also picked Prescott off twice. For the Cowboys defense, they couldn’t get pressure or turnovers and this one was a pretty quick fade out as the Chargers ransacked Dallas in front of the home crowd at AT&T Stadium.
Why this game?: The Chargers were not a good team, 4-6 at the time. You have to give teams like the Chargers a reason to fold but all Dallas did was give them life in the AFC playoff picture. This may have been the most embarrassing loss and the Cowboys had no will to compete.
Telling Stats: Philip Rivers threw for 434 yards, three touchdowns, zero sacks, zero interceptions. His offense racked up over 500 yards against the Cowboys as well.
12/24 Turn out the lights, the party is over. Seahawks 21, Cowboys 12
The 411: After a three-game winning streak, after getting back their best player in Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys outsmarted themselves and will sit home in January because of it. Much like the Eagles game, Dallas wasted an amazing effort by their defense. On a 12-play drive that showed some life, Dak ran into a wall on first and goal from the three. They suffered a holding penalty on a pass attempt on second and goal from the two. On second and goal from the 12, Prescott took an 11-yard sack. On third and goal, it was a seven-yard completion and they missed the field goal on fourth down. It was the worst two minute drive of the season and the Cowboys were eliminated from the postseason.
Why this game?: They had already received huge help when both the Lions and Falcons lost earlier in the day. The Cowboys would need one more loss by the Falcons, which wasn’t impossible as they take on a Panthers’ team looking to win the NFC South in week 17. If the Falcons don’t win this Sunday, the pain will come creeping back in.
Telling Stats: The Cowboys gave the Seahawks 142 yards in penalties which was more than the Seattle offense produced. They could have blown the Seahawks out as the only scores came off turnovers from Dallas. Ezekiel Elliott rushed 15 times for 73 yards in the first half but only touched the ball nine times in the second half. He’s the Cowboys’ best player but was basically ignored when they needed him most.
Which Cowboys’ loss would you want back the most?
This poll is closed
Broncos 42, Cowboys 17
Rams 35, Cowboys 30
Packers 35, Cowboys 31
Falcons 27, Cowboys 7
Eagles 37, Cowboys 9
Chargers 28, Cowboys 6
Seahawks 21, Cowboys 12