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Tweetcap: Cowboys played not to lose, wasting defensive effort in Houston

Cowboys fall to 2-3 after 19-16 defeat in overtime against the Texans. Wasted opportunity?

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Houston Texans Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys 19-16 loss in overtime to the Texans is another reminder of how this Dallas team manufactures ways to get beat. Five weeks in, the Cowboys have adopted the old routine of win one, lose one, which typically ends in 8-8 mediocrity. The Cowboys had so many opportunities to walk out of Houston 3-2 but they settled for 2-3.

Red Zone Woes Continue

Coming into this game, the Texans defense had allowed 10 touchdowns on 14 attempts inside their red zone. The Cowboys first drive had such promise:

Sadly, the Cowboys would gain just seven more yards and settled for the Brett Maher field goal to take a 3-0 lead. After the Cowboys defense got off the field and the Texans missed a field goal attempt, Dak Prescott delivered the ball to Rico Gathers for another huge gain:

The Cowboys again were left kicking another field goal from the Houston 25. 6-0 Cowboys but it sure doesn’t feel all that great. It didn’t take the Texans long to respond, as the second quarter began, Keke Coutee scores:

Cowboys offense gets the ball back and yet again, we start off with an offensive statement play against one of the better run defenses in the league:

This one ends with a Chris Jones punt just a few plays and five yards later. The Texans get a huge gift from the officials when Xavier Woods is flagged for a personal foul:

The Texans would try to get into the end zone with Deshaun Watson but Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods had other plans. He’s taken down at the Cowboys two-yard line.

That tackle saves the touchdown and Cowboys are getting the ball back only down four points with a chance to take a halftime lead. Facing 4th and 1, Dak Prescott sneaks it for the conversion. On the next play at the Texans’ 39-yard line disaster strikes.

Texans with the ball and Alfred Blue takes a second and two from the 50 into Cowboys territory. Watson finds DeAndre Hopkins on third and nine from the Cowboys’ nine-yard line but Jeff Heath makes a touchdown-saving tackle:

Instead of kicking the field goal on fourth and one to go up seven points at the half, Deshaun Watson tries to run it in and Jaylon Smith destroys his world:

Texans start the third quarter with the ball but it doesn’t last long, Anthony Brown forced Hopkins to fumble with Jourdan Lewis recovering it.

On 2nd and 3 from the Texans three-yard line, Dak Prescott finds Allen Hurns for the touchdown and the Cowboys lead 13-10:

After the defense forces another three-and-out, the Texans gift the Cowboys better field position:

But it’s squandered by the Cowboys offense on third down on another interception off the hands of a Cowboys receiver:

The ball certainly hits the ground...

Brandon, it definitely moved.

In the red zone, at the Dallas 4 and trying to score another touchdown, Watson looks for Hopkins but Byron Jones locks it down:

Another Texans designed quarterback run, another stop by the Cowboys defense:

Some really questionable play-calling from Bill O’Brien keeps the Texans from taking the lead and Houston ties the game at 13.

Once again, the Cowboys defense saves the day. They played their tails off for their offense to have a shot.

J.J. Watt is apparently the only pass rusher that doesn’t get roughing the passer called on him because he clearly destroyed Dak Prescott here. Body weight? CHECK. Looks like he was impersonating Bill Goldberg with that call...sigh.

Dak Prescott connects with Tavon Austin, who does get his feet down but loses control on the way out of bounds. Jason Garrett challenges the call, which was clearly not his best decision.

Can anyone on this team help the quarterback? Anyone?

On 3rd and 5, we’ve seen this before...bring out Chris Jones...and maybe a stretcher for the quarterback!

The Cowboys defense is back on the field and guess what? They deliver again by getting Houston off that field.

Ezekiel Elliott starts to get this offense going on back-to-back runs and almost takes one all the way:

Just when things may look up, the Cowboys move backwards thanks to a holding call to take us into the fourth quarter:

On third down, when Dak needed his receivers to help him out, Deonte Thompson responds with a drop:

It’s incredible really how wrong the Cowboys have been about their committee approach at receiver. Dak isn’t a perfect passer but there is no way around how badly his supporting cast has failed him:

We head into the fourth quarter.

With the Texans on the ropes, facing a 3rd and 7, Randy Gregory lends a hand:

When it rains flags, it’s usually a torrential downpour all over the Cowboys as Byron Jones is next on “Who Wants To Help The Texans?”

The ball is placed at the Dallas one-yard line, does this defense have another stop in them?

The Cowboys defense once again keeps the Texans out of the end zone...from the one...FROM THE ONE-YARD LINE! Texans take 16-13 lead on the field goal.

I’m all for dumping on Jason Garrett but Bill O’Brien was a hot mess last night as well:

On 1st and 10, Dak Prescott does his “2014 Tony Romo impression” to escapes J.J. Watt and complete a 44-yard pass to Tavon Austin! Just Wow!

The Cowboys can’t get past the Texans 30 as Michael Gallup and Dak can’t connect on the pass:

How good is the decision to change kickers looking for the Jones family? Brett Maher ties the game up at 16 with another money kick.

The Texans have the ball back but it feels like a home game for the Cowboys as the fans are screaming their heads off with Houston on offense. The Cowboys defense delivered once more:

Unfortunately, Dak Prescott is sacked by J.J. Watt and the drive ends before it even has a chance. Texans offense, with the ball, inside the two-minute warning. Cowboys safety Xavier Woods delivers the ever elusive interception, Dallas’ first pick of the year with 20 seconds left:

It’s overtime, the Cowboys win the toss, they take the ball, which is the first step. We get a Dak to Zeke for 10 yards and the first down. How about another easy first down on the first career catch no less!

This is where everything just goes completely sideways as Dak finds Cole Beasley (first catch) for eight yards on second and nine. On 3rd and 1 at the Houston 42, Zeke gets stuffed:

On 4th and 1, from Houston’s 42, the call is a PUNT?! Are you joking? Hasn’t the defense given you enough? DeMarcus Lawrence limped off the field, Tyrone Crawford was banged up too, this is what this offense was built for! We’re punting?!

When you give the opponent a chance to beat you, often times, they do exactly that. DeAndre Hopkins gladly accepted that generous offer from Jason Garrett and the Cowboys coaching staff:

Game. Set. Match. Field Goal Good. Cowboys fall to 2-3...What just happened?!

Rule #1 in overtime: Keep the ball away from the opponent and most definitely when you are on their side of the field.

The Cowboys converted a 4th and 1 from the Texans 41 right before halftime, this is perplexing. To hand the second-most explosive offense in the NFL the dagger to stick you with is absolutely mind boggling. Especially considering the following:

What was this team’s strategy when adding Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, La’el Collins, Connor Williams, Ezekiel Elliott, and Dak Prescott? Sure, they didn’t get it done on third down but isn’t that what this team is built for? Line them up, run it again. Send Dak on the keeper, anything but giving away control of the football.

Jerry Jones may say he’s not second-guessing but he’s definitely second-guessing:

We are all second-guessing that decision and will for some time, it showed no faith in the one thing you’re supposed to hang your hat on. No faith in the the 95% chance you convert. Nope, we’ll roll with the 5%. The players have to be completely sunk in that moment:

Just what kind of team are the 2-3 Cowboys if they’re not going to put faith in their largest investment?

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