Well, that did not go as planned. The Dallas Cowboys were thoroughly annihilated en route to a 42-17 loss to the hands of the Denver Broncos. The offense failed to move the football, the defense could not get any stops, and a young secondary saw injuries to Chidobe Awuzie and Nolan Carroll that only made things worse. Both Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott played poorly, the offensive line failed to get a push, and the offense as a whole could not seem to figure out the Broncos’ elite defense.
The game was baffling to watch. The team that marched to thirteen regular season wins a season ago and that defeated the New York Giants in the season opener looked clueless in Mile High. Now, a lot of the credit goes to the Broncos. Their ‘No Fly Zone’ defense certainly lived up to the hype. Denver’s front seven clogged up running lanes all game long. The offense that seemingly dominates everybody across the league was shut down. Not only that, but the defense had a completely opposite performance from the opener.
That said, who did stand out on Sunday night?
DeMarcus Lawrence looks to be the one defensive linemen on the Cowboys that is able to get after the quarterback. Number 90 was the one bright spot on a defense that looked lost on Sunday. There isn’t any other way to put it. Lawrence got into the backfield, rushed Siemian into throws, and wrecked havoc.
The big highlight of the game for the Cowboys’ defense was when #90 hit Siemian and forced a fumble in the first half. Maliek Collins recovered the ball inside the five, and the offense was able to score one of their only two touchdowns of the day. The play looked to be a critical point in the game, but the Broncos would score on the ensuing drive. Regardless, Lawrence had a big impact in the Cowboys putting up some points on the scoreboard.
Demarcus Lawrence is healthy and just playing out of his mind pic.twitter.com/i0hqearuBB— Cowboys Nation (@CowboysNation) September 17, 2017
The Boise State product has showed flashes of brilliance throughout his career, but he has yet to be consistent — whether it be because of injuries, off-the-field concerns, or anything in between. D-Law did mess up by using the center as leverage to attempt to block a field goal. The penalty resulted in a first down for the Broncos, in which they would use to trade the three points for six.
Nonetheless, Lawrence is a huge player for the Cowboys this season. After bringing down Eli Manning twice in the season opener, DeMarcus Lawrence finished Sunday with seven tackles — five solo — two sacks, and the aforementioned forced fumble that set up a touchdown.
If the Dallas Cowboys are going to have any success on the defensive side of things moving forward, the ‘Boys desperately need another pass rusher to step up. It helps that David Irving will return in a couple of weeks, and Damontre Moore next week, but it’s clear that Lawrence can’t do everything by himself — regardless of how well he played tonight.
Dan Bailey impresses week in and week out, and he gets an honorable mention. His ability to hit big kicks and be consistent for the Cowboys each Sunday makes him a huge weapon for Dallas. You would be hard pressed to find a better kicker in football.
As the offense struggled, the reliable kicker helped the Cowboys gain some momentum heading into half time. The offense was able to get into field goal range for Bailey to drill a 56-yard field goal with two seconds before half. Number 5 made a kick that the majority of people alive would miss, yet he looked as if he would have made it from sixty.
In a game that the Cowboys struggled to get anything going, Dan Bailey deserves some recognition for continuing to be the reliable player that he has been throughout his career.
The rookie played in his first career NFL game. Although the defense was awful, and he gave up some big plays, the former Michigan defensive back recorded his first NFL interception. That deserves a shout out. He also racked up six total tackles on the day. Don’t be surprised if he grows into a bigger role in the secondary as the season progresses.
Who deserves this week’s game ball?