The season is over for the Dallas Cowboys at long last, and there are a lot of discussions that are going to be had over the course of the next long months.
Had the team won in New York, hope would have stayed alive for a bit longer, but we all knew that this thing was going to end in disappointment when number four went down against this very same team three months ago.
Ultimately the Cowboys came up short in a game that they had to win in order to keep their season alive. That is disappointing to say the least, and there were performances from the contest worthy of praise and, um, discussion.
Here are our winners and losers from the team’s season-ending loss against the Giants.
Winner: Ezekiel Elliott
There are a lot of things to be said about running backs in the NFL and a lot has definitely been said about Ezekiel Elliott this season.
Zeke was obviously beaten up in this game, he even took himself out at one point, but you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who played with more toughness than Elliott in this contest.
We will surely talk more about how the team should handle this position in the future over the offseason, but for now, on this day, Zeke gave everything that he had.
Winner: Dalton Schultz
You could honestly pick Dalton Schultz to be the team’s biggest winner of the whole season. He was instrumental in the team having a shot and caught just about everything that went his way here.
Schultz gave us memories of what it’s like to have an athletic tight end with sure hands running down the middle of the field.
Winner: Greg Zuerlein
It says a lot about this game that Zuerlein was among the more stable performers throughout the contest, but he delivered every time he was asked to, and he did so in some tough conditions.
The Cowboys have a reliable kicker again. It is a nice feeling.
Winner: Trevon Diggs
The future looks incredibly bright for the Cowboys cornerback and he was by far the most athletic and physical of the lot against the G-Men. Diggs seems destined to be one of the league’s better corners, and while he had his share of rookie struggles this season, more often than not he seemed to be at the center of something positive.
Winner: Donovan Wilson
It was certainly nice to see the Cowboys find a safety capable of generating turnovers this season, but the hope needs to be that they don’t become over-reliant on who Donovan Wilson is.
Sure, Wilson flashed at times this season, but the same was said about Xavier Woods a few years ago. This is a project worth figuring more out on, but investments still need to be made.
Loser: Jaylon Smith
What is there to really say at this point? Smith has demonstrated almost on a weekly basis how disconnected he is from what is happening on the field.
For starters, Smith got into a ridiculous “fight” of sorts when the game first began. What’s more is he continued his pattern of celebrating (making sure to highlight his own branded move) and even did so on multiple occasions where the result of the play he was commemorating was bad for his team.
It is beyond old.
Loser: Jourdan Lewis
Perhaps the worst decision in this game was made by Jourdan Lewis. It really is a shame considering he had been playing rather well over the course of the last few weeks.
Why on earth would Lewis head-butt a member of the Giants after a play? And then laugh about it? It is inexcusable.
Loser: Andy Dalton
Dalton never gave up on this game and played through it all, including an injured hand. However, this was by far the worst game that he has finished as the starting quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys for.
The interception at the end was among the worst throws that we have seen a Cowboys quarterback make this millennium. Unfortunately, Dalton’s reputation of coming up short in games that are even similar to the playoffs will continue to follow him.
Loser: The offensive line
It’s difficult to call this group a loser when they are operating at such a low capacity of their normal stock of players. That being said, this game featured a group that had been playing together with some consistency for a while, and they allowed themselves to get demolished by New York.
There is no question how important players like Tyron Smith, La’el Collins, and Zack Martin are. At the very least hopefully the Cowboys have young players who got experience and will be points of legitimate depth.
Loser: CeeDee Lamb
We have treated the rookie wide receiver as an alpha all season long and at a lot of points he has played like one.
That being said, Lamb had an extremely critical drop late in that game that preceded Dalton’s interception. If you are going to be the guy then you have to make the catches. He is young and will learn, but this was an unfortunate moment.