The Cowboys had all but lost the game when they lined up for a 4th and 10 try at the Tennessee 13-yard line near the end of the game on Monday night. They were down by 14 points and were across midfield for only the first time in the second half. All of that is exactly why the play’s results weren’t too surprising.
Dak Prescott took a step up in the pocket, decided that was a bad idea, ran back, scurried to the left side of the original pocket and was met with Titans defenders near him. He chunked the ball up for a prayer of a chance and the world watched it sail out of bounds.
After initially throwing blocks on the last offensive play of the game both Zeke and La’el Collins just sort of watched as Dak Prescott tried to heave one. Weird. pic.twitter.com/oElm5uFlxE— Blogging The Boys (@BloggingTheBoys) November 7, 2018
Perhaps the most interesting thing is what happened just before the play officially ended. After Prescott scrambles to the Cowboys left side, both Ezekiel Elliott and La’el Collins are just sort of standing there watching. In fact, Zeke sort of starts to walk backwards slowly.
Brian Orakpo is the Titans rusher who ultimately forces Dak Prescott to let the ball go. He ultimately gets to Collins’ outside and runs all the way around him. Collins slows up and almost comes to a complete stop while Orakpo continues to run and ultimately gets to Prescott to cause the pressure. Why on earth would Collins stop or would Zeke not run out to give Prescott another option to throw to?
Perhaps both Collins and Elliott thought that Prescott was going to throw the ball when they both slowed down which is why they did, but that doesn’t exactly show a “play through the whistle” sort of approach. If anything it looks like they knew the state of the game at that point in time and when the motions were past the point that they were involved they started slowing down.
This is far from an indication that either Collins or Zeke are bad football players or anything, but it could be indicative of the disposition of the team at that point in time and therefore a reflection of their overall disposition at this point in the season. The Cowboys are in a pretty deep funk and they’re going to have to pull themselves out of it quickly, and that’s going to require full maximum effort at all times, and that’s not what we got here.