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Tweetcap: Cowboys offense sputters in 16-8 loss to Panthers, what happened? It’s simple.

The offense sparked in the fourth quarter but it was too little, too late.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Carolina Panthers Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

We often hear about how NFL offenses need continuity to reach their potential. It takes time to build continuity and sometimes defenses come into week one a little more prepared than the offenses. Following suit with a few other teams in the NFL, the Cowboys joined in as an offense that has severe execution issues. What happened?

Well, credit the Panthers, who were just a smidge better but let’s start with these quarterbacks. Both Cam Newton and Dak Prescott had similar outings:

We’ll come back to Dak Prescott in a few moments, let’s hit the uncomfortable areas one at a time.

A.) Blocking was awful

The true difference was that the Cowboys offensive line, with no help from an inaccurate quarterback, underachieved in a major way. It’s interesting too because it was the Panthers’ offensive line that was advertised as outmatched. They even lost another starter in their victory:

Any way you slice it, this offensive line got off to a bad start and played way out of character. For instance, what was up with Tyron Smith?

Holding calls kill any momentum for an offense and Tyron Smith wasn’t alone, La’el Collins was also drawing the laundry:

It was going to be a tough matchup for rookie Connor Williams going up against the Panthers standout DT Kawann Short. Williams was just no match for Short from the get-go:

The Panthers knew that was a favorable matchup for them and they attacked Williams with regularity. Often times they tried to isolate the rookie which was a very bad thing for him:

Backup center Joe Looney had a decent outing but was a product of his environment at times. He couldn’t ever be Travis Frederick, reaching to help out the rookie, but he could have been better:

The Cowboys gave up six sacks for -32 yards lost, which is plain awful. In fact, last year’s dreadful “Atlanta Game” featured 8 sacks for -50 yards, the Cowboys came close to that again.

B.) We have a “Dakuracy” problem

As bad as the offensive line played, at times they gave Dak Prescott protection but he only compounded the issues. He either held onto the ball too long or was inaccurate on the move, which is an area he typically excels in.

Before we just dump all over Dak Prescott, he was also the only reason they got into the end zone for eight points. On their only scoring drive, he literally willed this team down the field with his legs, arm, and a little help from Ezekiel Elliott to put the ball in the end zone. Prescott also ran a QB draw to make it a one possession game but for the most part, Dak was just way off. It comes down to this very astute point by Mike Doocy:

He didn’t have much help, his receivers weren’t reliable outside of completions to Cole Beasley. For example, on 4th and 10, blame Dak for delivering a late ball to Deonte Thompson on the comeback route. At the same time, blame Thompson for letting that ball go through his hands. There was a clear trust issues between Dak and his receivers in this game and it must get fixed quickly.

C.) Ezekiel Elliott was bottled up by stout run defense but coaching shares blame

Ezekiel Elliott showed his rust against the Panthers because the guy we all know would not allow this:

Though Zeke admits that he needs to play much better than he did, he’s not blaming the lack of work in the preseason:

The Panthers are a top-notch run defense and you have to come in expecting them to do what they do well. The Cowboys coaching staff is too stubborn for it’s own good at times. The coaches need to find other ways to win because it’s not going to work perfectly each time. It’s insane that they couldn’t get the only two players with definable ways to beat you involved more in their passing game:

Zeke had three receptions for 17 yards, one of his catches was for 13 of those yards. The Panthers kept feeding Christian McCaffrey even when it didn’t work but they kept persisting. If Zeke is the only guy that truly scares the defense, the Cowboys should have at least tried to get him more involved. As for Tavon Austin, we heard he would be getting touches in this offense with his blazing speed. So much for that?

You can’t win many games when you don’t try to get guys involved. Coaching has to be better because they owe it to their quarterback to help him succeed. They didn’t do that in week one and it all unraveled very quickly.

So, though popular opinions on social media among media types have determined the following:

1.) They missed Dez Bryant, he would have made those tough catches

2.) Dan Bailey would have made that kick, why Brett Maher, why?

Realize that none of those two things are anything more than fun fodder for a discussion dominated by overreaction.

The truth is much simpler as the offense failed miserably in a series of events: Bad blocking led to poor quarterback play which was exacerbated by pitiful coaching.

Now, the staff has to regroup, realize their shortcomings, and hopefully better themselves for week two against the Giants. Guess what, coaches? That New York team is good at stopping the run, too. This Cowboys offense has to improve on the fly because there is no such thing as patience in the National Football League.

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