Oof. That was ugly.
After beginning the season on fire — averaging 32 points per game and winning its first three games comfortably — the Dallas Cowboys have seemingly come back down to earth following two consecutive losses. The offense was shut down by the New Orleans Saints in week four, while the Packers went up 24-0 before Dallas attempted a late-game comeback in week five.
Neither game was pretty, to say the least.
Still, the season is far from over — as crazy as that might seem after watching this team play the past two weeks. The season is 16 games long, so there will naturally be ups and downs and ebb and flow throughout the season.
How the team responds to setbacks and adversity, though, will ultimately determine just how successful this team will be in 2019. Dak Prescott is confident that his squad will have the right mindset moving forward.
Dak Prescott: “I’m proud to be the quarterback of this team. I have no doubt in my mind what we’re going to do moving forward.” pic.twitter.com/TpShr2fArx— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) October 7, 2019
Prescott was asked following the game about beating three teams with a losing record before losing to a pair of teams with winning records. He said that “we might have sniffed ourselves a little too much”.
Dak Prescott on Cowboys winning first 3 vs. teams with losing records and losing last 2 vs. teams with winning records: "I can say that, sure, we might have sniffed ourselves a little too much. ... Maybe we'll look back...and say that was good for us."— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) October 7, 2019
Perhaps the biggest bright spot of the game for the Cowboys was Amari Cooper. Aside from a dropped pass that resulted in an interception for the Packers and took off points for the Cowboys, Coop showed why Dallas traded away a first-round pick for him. The Pro Bowl receiver set a career high in receiving yards and was a constant problem for the Packers all game long.
Just take a look at this, for instance:
God, Amari Cooper is good at football. pic.twitter.com/XYwbUGl9pb— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) October 6, 2019
Still, Cooper did not care much at all about his career day on Sunday. “The only thing really on my mind is the dropped ball” he said. That is what you want to hear from one of your team leader’s and best players.
Amari Cooper did not care at all about his career day on the stat sheet: “The only thing really on my mind is the dropped ball and the turnover it created. I feel like it gave them a lot momentum in the game.”— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) October 7, 2019
Ezekiel Elliott had 91 yards from scrimmage on Sunday versus the Packers, but he failed to reach the end zone. He told the media after the game that “if we want to be a playoff team ... we are going to have to play a lot better”.
Ezekiel Elliott: "If we want to be a playoff team, if we want to make a run for everything, we are going to have to play a lot better. We have to play better than we've been playing."— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) October 7, 2019
The Cowboys had chances to win both games that they lost this season, but early mistakes ultimately proved to be too much to overcome, writes Nick Eatman of The Mothership.
For the second straight week, the Cowboys lost a game they seemingly could’ve won.
On the peripheral, it just seemed like they ran out of time here Sunday against the Packers with a comeback falling short. Same thing last week in New Orleans when they didn’t have enough seconds to drive for a winning field goal.
But really, the Cowboys lost another game in the first quarter. In fact, how about the first offensive drive of the night.
The Ringer’s Danny Heifetz wrote that “the Cowboys look like contenders—until they play a good team.” Ouch, but maybe true.
Dallas entered Sunday with the chance to prove it was a Super Bowl contender. In the first three weeks of the season, the Cowboys beat up on the Giants, Washington, and Miami, who are currently a combined 2-12 and started Eli Manning, Case Keenum, and Josh Rosen respectively at quarterback in those matchups. Finally playing a quality opponent in Week 4, Dallas lost 12-10 to the Teddy Bridgewater–led Saints. On Sunday, the team hosted Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, who eliminated the Cowboys from the playoffs twice this decade. With the game being one of only two scheduled for the 4 p.m. ET window, an emphatic win could have solidified the Cowboys’ status as a top-tier NFC team and Dak Prescott as an MVP candidate and exorcised the team’s demons in front of millions. That is not what happened. Dallas lost to Green Bay 34-24 in a game that showed us everything that makes them a Super Bowl contender, but also all of the reasons why they could fall short.
With all of the concern surrounding this team, Dak Prescott made it clear that this team does not listen to the media or outside noise.
Dak Prescott said the Cowboys might have been sniffing themselves too much after their 3-0 start. He was later asked if that meant they were buying in to what the media was saying about them: pic.twitter.com/IlpsC5JWta— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) October 7, 2019
Dak Prescott is the quarterback, the face, and the leader of this team. He said following the loss that “there’s a lot of football to be played” ... “hopefully, we’ll look back at this and say this was a turning point or this was good for us”.
“Our team has got to get better, got to start fast on offense and play better complementary football than we have these last two weeks,” Prescott said. “There’s a lot of football to be played. Definitely a lot of football to be played, a lot of plays to be made. And we’re not shy of making them, we’re not backing down. We’ll take this one on the chin. We’re going to take the good, take the bad, learn from it. And, hopefully, we’ll look back at this and say this was a turning point or this was good for us.”