Dak Prescott didn’t have a good game, and the coaching staff is always under fire, but let’s not let the failures on defense go unnoticed.
The final failure from the defense occurred on a drive that began late in the third quarter and ended in the fourth. Dallas’ defense allowed a 13-play, 72-yard drive that took almost seven minutes off the clock and led to the three points that put the game on ice. The Bills converted on three-straight third downs to chew up the clock and kept the offense from being able to mount a comeback. It was a rough day for the offense, especially Dak Prescott, but the defense wasn’t good enough either.
It’s not just coach Garrett that is getting a lot of heat these days as the defense has surrendered at least 26 points in three of the last four games.
In 2018, the Cowboys defense ranked seventh in yards allowed per game (329.3), 13th against the pass (234.7), fifth against the run (94.6), and ranked sixth in points allowed (20.3). In Week 13, this unit limited the New Orleans Saints high-powered offense that averaged 31.5 points per game to just 10 points in a 13-10 victory. It was a primetime game that marked the defense’s prowess in Dallas and helped to make Richard a hot name on the NFL’s head coaching carousel.
This season, before Thursday’s loss to the Bills, the Dallas defense ranked ninth in offensive yards allowed per game (321.6), seventh against the pass (215.2), 15th against the rush (106.4) and eighth in points allowed (19.7).
Where the defense really struggles is in creating turnovers. The Cowboys are the worst team in the NFL when it comes to interceptions, recording a league-low four total picks so far. But that’s not a new issue as this unit has struggled with takeaways for years.
While starting guard Connor Williams is lost for the season, the team received some good news about the knee of their star receiver.
The tests showed no structural damage, which is good news for the Cowboys leading receiver. He’s dealt with heel, ankle, knee, and quadriceps injuries this season, but has stayed on the field throughout. Having a long weekend off before they have to prepare for next week’s game against the Bears should help, but they can’t afford to be without him now.
They may have gone unnoticed, but these five plays had a impact in the game. Nick Eatman explains.
Beasley’s first catch created room – The Cowboys were up 7-0 and had the Bills pinned back near their end zone facing third-and-10 at their own 2-yard line. Instead of a conservative play to get them room for a punt, the Bills went to Cole Beasley, who got loose for 29 yards out to the 31. While the Bills eventually punted, the Cowboys got the ball back on their own 10-yard line. Without the completion to Beasley, it would’ve been near midfield or better.
Film room: 3 takeaways from Cowboys’ loss to Bills, including Jason Garrett’s terrible time management - John Owning, Dallas Morning News
John Owning reviews the tape to come up with his three biggest takeaways from Thursday’s game.
Prescott had one of his worst performances of the season
As far as timing goes, Prescott picked a pretty bad time to have a poor performance. Prescott’s box score didn’t look too bad, finishing 32 of 49 for 355 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. But that ignores his two fumbles, one of which was recovered by the Bills, and the interceptions that were voided by Buffalo penalties.
For what it’s worth, Prescott never hung his head and continued to try to attack the Buffalo defense throughout, showing the type of toughness, leadership and resolve that gives you confidence in his future as the Cowboys’ QB, even with this poor performance. Part of Prescott’s struggles came from an erosion in his footwork and base, which caused him to miss easy throws and put poor placement on others, thus limiting yards-after-catch opportunities for his weapons.
The Morning After: Walls cave in on Thanksgiving as Buffalo routs collapsing Cowboys - Bob Sturm, The Athletic
Usually it’s the Cowboys that start slow and then go on a run later...
Buffalo took the ball six times between the second quarter and early in the fourth, and would have scored on all six if not for that missed field goal after the Prescott interception. This time, with the stadium deflated, the Bills start marching again and are gaining yards on every snap. Finally, inside the red zone, Josh Allen himself breaks the pocket out of an empty set and gets into the end zone. Allen has never looked better, and the Bills are up 23-7 after his eighth rushing TD of the year.
Sitting at 6-6, the season is hardly over, but the future is always looming, as in the 2020 draft.
Dallas Cowboys: CB Trevon Diggs, Alabama
The Dallas Cowboys can’t pay everyone—try as they might. They entered last offseason with the following players due contract extensions: defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, linebacker Jaylon Smith, right tackle La’el Collins, running back Ezekiel Elliott, quarterback Dak Prescott, wide receiver Amari Cooper and cornerback Byron Jones.
The first four already struck lucrative deals; the final three are still waiting. Dallas won’t let Prescott leave. He’s next in line. Cooper’s play this year demands a new contract. Thus, Jones becomes the odd man out. The Cowboys front office should then turn its attention to the secondary as its top offseason priority, especially since Anthony Brown is a scheduled free agent as well.
Pro Football Focus graded the Alabama Crimson Tide’s Trevon Diggs as the second-best Power Five cornerback in overall coverage even with his struggles during the LSU contest. The 6’2”, 207-pound defensive back fits the Cowboys’ preferred mold. Diggs is a long, physical and well-coached corner. He can help offset Jones’ potential loss right away.
Sticking with the secondary, Jonah Tuls goes with one of the top safeties in this year’s draft class.
Grant Delpit S, LSU
The Cowboys tried to make a move for Jamal Adams, but one of the reasons why they hesitated was because of the steep asking price. In this scenario, they get a potentially game-changing safety in Grant Delpit, upgrading a position that has ailed this team for a decade.