For two straight weeks, the Cowboys’ offense hasn’t been it’s powerful self that we saw in 2016. That’s because for two straight weeks the Cowboys have faced off against defenses with elite personnel. The Giants weren’t on the same level as the Broncos but that’s partly to do with how inept their offensive line is. It’s been talked about over and again but the Broncos “Cowboy’d” the Cowboys. Everything they did was exactly as the Cowboys want to do to other teams. Denver just beat them to the punch and beat them to a pulp while they were at it.
It’s week three now and it’s on to the Arizona Cardinals for a Monday night match up. If the Cowboys offense doesn’t wake up against Arizona, they’ll find themselves at 1-2. There aren’t very many teams that can do to the Cowboys what the Broncos did but the Cardinals defense is pretty close (even though it has struggled somewhat this season).
Think about it, their combination of Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu are as good any combination of cornerback and safety that Denver has. If those two guys are on their game and the Cowboys’ receivers can’t find separation, it severely limits their offensive production. That’s what the problem has been, people have been calling out Ezekiel Elliott for this and Dez Bryant for that, but it’s been a collective effort that involves everyone.
The Cowboys have scored three offensive touchdowns in two games. They have scored 36 points total, which is less than the Eagles and Redskins. Nobody would venture to say that either of those teams are better than the Cowboys and that’s why their offensive production has been a surprise. What we’ve seen thus far is far from the offense that we’ve been used to with Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. It’s time for that offensive juggernaut to return and what better time than this week?
Here was a pretty terrible stat line that was unnerving:
Fun fact: The Cowboys ran the football 51.3 percent of the time in the red zone in 2016. So far this season? 26.3. #DALvsARI
Talk about a team that needs to find its identity and fast. This goes back to the criticism that Scott Linehan garnered after throwing it three straight times in the opener. Dez Bryant has been targeted 25 times but has only caught 9 passes for 102 yards and one touchdown. It’s understandable to want to feed your best receiver but that’s forcing it to him with reckless abandon. Don’t overthink your offense because Dak walked away with two picks out of possibly four he could have had that day. If the Cowboys get back to their style of football, they can move the ball on this upcoming defense.
The Cardinals’ defense has some solid players sprinkled in but they are much more beatable than the two defenses the Cowboys just faced. The Cardinals are 26th in scoring defense, allowing 24 points per game. As good as their defense is known to be, they have given up 48 points which is three more than the Cowboys’ defense who gave up 42 in one game. The Cardinals may be giving up 79 rushing yards per game but they have faced Theo Riddick and Frank Gore. The Cardinals are also giving up 316.5 yards per game to offenses. They are normally a stout defense, but they have struggled this year.
You have to hope the offense took a long look at their performances over the last two weeks and said ‘this isn’t right’. By the quotes from various players this week, the Cowboys seem like they are ready to prove that they’re every bit as good as we thought they were.
“We don’t go out there and play for the talking heads. We don’t go out and play for you guys. We go out there and play for each other. We go out there to win ball games. So that’s our motivation. We don’t need any extra motivation.”- Ezekiel Elliott
After all the talk about “quitters”, “blueprints”, and “slumps” this week, the Cowboys are probably hating that they have to wait until Monday. This is a team that was stifled in week two but that doesn’t mean they’re going fold it up. It hasn’t been the hottest start for an offense that bludgeoned teams in 2016. With great offenses like the Cowboys, we’ve seen what they can do once the ball gets rolling. They need an offensive awakening and it needs to happen against a decent defense like Arizona.
Games like what we witnessed on Sunday don’t happen to teams like this very often. Nothing went right that day and that’s why it’s been brought on such a bad hangover. If they’re going to drag themselves out of that funk, we need an offense resurgence. It’s time to dominate the line of scrimmage, run at will, open up the play-action, and most importantly score touchdowns.
Though they’re 1-1, defenses have made their offense look pedestrian. It’s your move, Cowboys’ offense.