People awaiting a new episode of The Bachelorette may have missed part of it if they were caught up watching some Tuesday night football featuring the Dallas Cowboys at the Baltimore Ravens. With the season trending in the wrong direction, nobody had their hopes up that this Cowboys team would deliver a gem on this day. While most of it was not good, there were moments to keep fans on the edge of their seat. Here are ten thoughts on the Cowboys 34-17 loss to the Ravens.
1. No Dez
This game was supposed to include an interesting side story where Ravens wide receiver Dez Bryant faced off against his former team. You know he had to be amped, and the Cowboys came into this game missing a couple of their starting corners in Trevon Diggs and Anthony Brown. The possibility of seeing him “throw up the X” was there.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be as Bryant was pulled from warmups to get tested, and it came back positive for COVID-19. Hopefully, he gets well soon, and it’s hard not to feel for him knowing he was really looking forward to this game. After hearing the news, an emotional Dez took to Twitter to share his frustrations.
Yea I’m going to go ahead and call it a quit for the rest of the season... I can’t deal with this— Dez Bryant (@DezBryant) December 9, 2020
Sleep on it, Dez.
2. Gashed in the running game
The Cowboys run defense is terrible. We know that. With a team like the Ravens who entered the week as the third-best rushing team, we knew things were going to be challenging. It doesn’t take away from some of the embarrassment that comes from watching this group flail so helplessly. In all, Baltimore rushed the ball 37 times for 294 yards.
For the third time this season, the Cowboys defense surrendered at least 250 yards on the ground. It’s the second time a team as rushed for over 290 as Baltimore was pounding out 7.9 yards per run. It was just hard to watch at times.
3. You get a 30-yard run, you get a 30-yard run...
While the runs were plentiful, the Ravens offense got help with some big chunks. Three different players took off for a run for at least 30 yards. First, Lamar Jackson parted the Red Sea to scamper off 37 yards for the games first touchdown. Then, Gus Edwards got loose for 36 yards. And then late in the second quarter, rookie J.K. Dobbins got in on the action with a 30-yard run. The Cowboys defense just gave up too much wide open space to run in and they were handing out big runs like Oprah Winfrey hands out parting gifts.
4. Here’s a tip for you
Both teams were given a gift in their opponents territory on a deflected pass in the first half. On the Ravens first possession, Jackson tried to hit Marquise Brown on a third-down play, but the ball went right through Brown’s hands and into the arms of Cowboys safety Darian Thompson. It looked like Dallas was going to capitalize when they were moving the ball, but the drive stalled and they had to settle for a field goal.
Dallas returned the favor later in the half when he looked for Amari Cooper, but the ball was tipped at the line of scrimmage and hung up long enough for Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen to lunge for it. Unlike Dallas, the Ravens were able to make them pay as Jackson hit a completely uncovered Myles Boykin on the very next play for a 38-yard touchdown.
5. No TD for CeeDee
The Cowboys actually had a shot to put up points right before the half on a drive that started at their own 10-yard line with just 46 seconds left. Dallas was moving the ball well, and Andy Dalton had a couple opportunities for big plays by targeting rookie receiver CeeDee Lamb. First, Lamb had his man beat, but as he ran by him the defender grabbed him, keeping the Cowboys receiving from continuing down the field. It was a clear hold, and how the referees missed that is unexplainable.
Despite what Troy Aikman and Joe Buck were trying to sell you, it was a smart decision for the Cowboys to go for it on fourth-down with just seven seconds left. Clearly, they were going to run out the final play with a Hail Mary, and they actually were so close to pulling it off when the ball went right through Lamb’s hands in the end zone.
6. O-Line held up pretty well
Most of us expected the Cowboys offensive line to make a spectacle of themselves having to go against this tough Ravens defense. Surprisingly, they held up pretty well. Dalton had plenty of time to operate as he had several nice passing plays in this game. He did a nice job spreading the ball around as six different players caught at least three passes. Baltimore only sacked Dalton one time in this game.
Maybe the Ravens defensive line was still feeling the lingering effects of COVID as they looked sluggish at times, but credit this Cowboys offensive line for holding up well.
7. Nice return by Pollard
After the Ravens scored the first touchdown of the game to go up 7-3, the Cowboys answered right back thanks to a nice return from Tony Pollard. For the second time this season, Pollard got through the hole and took off. And just like last time, he was run down from behind, but he was able to take the kick 66 yards to give Dallas great field position. Three plays later, the Cowboys offense punched it in the end zone to take a 10-3 lead in the game.
8. Tough day for Greg “the Leg”
The Cowboys signed Greg Zuerlein to a three-year, $7.5 million deal this offseason in hopes of shoring up their kicking game. Coming into this game, he’s been okay making all but three of his field goal attempts. He also doinked an extra point back in the Seattle game.
Zuerlein doubled his misses on the year after failing not once, not twice, but three times on field goal attempts Tuesday night. To be fair, a couple of them were over 50 yards, but he also missed a chip shot 31-yard attempt as well.
9. So defeated
The Ravens only had 107 yards passing in this game, and on the surface that might seem like a big win for the Cowboys secondary. It wasn’t. The ability to run at will played a big part in that. Believe it or not, this is actually only the Ravens third-fewest passing yard total of the season as they put up just 70 yards against the Chiefs and 90 yards last week against the Steelers.
On the plays they did have to make, the secondary didn’t look good. Rashard “don’t confuse me with Reggie” Robinson got beat by Marquise Brown in the corner of the end zone. Xavier Woods looked lost and just lacked any type of intensity. Of course, maybe they all were just gassed from having to pick up the slack from a very ineffective front seven. All in all, this group just looked defeated.
I've never seen a secondary group that just allowed 107 yards passing in a game look so defeated. https://t.co/rwpt9dVNZq— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) December 9, 2020
10. Nobody told me there’d be days like these
Yesterday marked the 40th anniversary of the death of Beatles great John Lennon, so we’re going to finish these thoughts off honoring this rock and roll legend. It’s truly tough to be a Cowboys fan right now. Division hopes aren’t even a reasonable possibility now as they are two games behind both Washington and New York with only four more games left to play. Washington also holds the tie breaker by virtue of the season sweep.
We all have the optimism of the return of Dak Prescott, a healthy offensive line, and getting some players back next year, but there is a lot of work for this team to do before this team can become a contender.
Strange days indeed.