The Dallas Cowboys came into the game against the Kansas City Chiefs missing their starting left tackle, both starting defensive ends, their best wide receiver, and would lose their second best wideout for the remainder of the game just before halftime. Sometimes “next man up” just is not enough, and it resulted in a very disappointing 19-9 defeat for Dallas.
There were ways the start of the game was too reminiscent of the Denver Broncos debacle. The Cowboys offense was off, all across the board. Dak Prescott was off on many of his throws. When he was on target, or at least near, receivers were dropping balls. The running game could not get on track. And the offensive line was getting beat repeatedly. Terence Steele, Connor McGovern, and La’el Collins all seemed lost at times on the field, which contributed to Prescott being under a lot of pressure and getting sacked three times, including a strip that led to a Chiefs field goal. The defense was having trouble stopping both the speedy receivers and the running of Clyde Edwards-Helaire and one long run by Tyreek Hill on a reverse.
But it was not the runaway that the Denver game was at halftime, thanks to a field goal on the lone good Dallas drive, and a strip of Patrick Mahomes by the always impressive Micah Parsons. That led to nothing as Prescott forced a throw to CeeDee Lamb in the end zone which was picked off by former Cowboy Charvarius Ward. Still, it was just a 16-3 deficit at halftime. Unfortunately, Kansas City would get the ball coming out of halftime after Dallas elected to receive the ball after winning the toss.
That initial drive of the game led to a three and out, followed by a steady march for their first touchdown by the Chiefs. The only good thing for the Cowboys was a missed extra point. The defense also had a win after the fumble by Prescott by holding things to a field goal.
In a bit of an unusual development, the refs seemed to be helpful for Dallas, as Kansas City was penalized 54 yards in the first half, to only 25 for the Cowboys. Still, the penalties that they did get were still one more difficulty for the Dallas offense in a half that was not seeing much at all go well for them. And the refs would keep their hankies in their pocket on the first Dallas possession on what certainly looked like pass interference that forced the Cowboys to settle for three when they really needed six to cut it to a one score deficit. It was not the only time either direction, as they appeared content to let the players play. It is great when it works in your favor, but not so much the other way.
The did survive one real scare when Ezekiel Elliott came up limping badly after his ankle was rolled badly on a run. He somehow came back in, but the running game still was struggling against the KC defense. Elliott only had 16 yards on three carries at the half, and only one Tony Pollard 31 yard run on a wildcat play was really successful.
The absence of Amari Cooper certainly seemed to be hurting as well, as Noah Brown and Cedrick Wilson did not seem to step up, while Michael Gallup had a drop or two of his own. Only tight end Dalton Schultz was a reliable target for Prescott. And to make matters worse, Lamb was ruled out for the second half after hitting his head on the ground on the Prescott interception
The Chiefs managed to build the halftime lead without a completion to Travis Kelce, but he quickly became a factor on the first drive after the intermission, bringing in j24 yard catch to get them into Dallas territory. But Jayron Kearse snagged a ball that went through Kelce’s hands to snuff out the threat and set Prescott and the offense up at the KC 36 after the return.
The special teams for Dallas were also having issues, allowing two 39 yard kickoff returns. They came near to getting a punt blocked by Parsons, but he just missed. Don’t hold that against him, because he also had two sacks of Mahomes.
The Cowboys could have been right in the game, except they returned to their old ways of stalling in or near the red zone, settling for three field goals up to the 12:52 point of the fourth quarter, cutting the lead to ten points. The announcing team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman were just annoying with their constant drone of “establish the run” in a game where Dallas could hardly afford to grind things out after trailing the entire game.
Still, the Cowboys hung in, with the defense getting off the field after a missed 51-yard field goal by Harrison Butker. With almost ten minutes left in regulation and the ball at their own 41, they had another chance to try and get points and cut it to a one-score contest. But the offensive line continued to struggle, and this time it was the best lineman on the team who got beaten for the fifth sack of the day of Prescott. It was almost fitting that the game would essentially end on an interception of Prescott as he tried to drive for a touchdown inside the two minute warning.
Edwards-Helaire was a big part of the Kansas City offense, and he was just back from injury himself. It was a case of one team getting stronger while the other was finally overcome by key injuries at positions of great importance. With the loss by the Green Bay Packers earlier in the day, it became a huge missed opportunity for Dallas. But sometimes adversity is just too much. With Hill, Kelce, and Edwards-Helaire to work with, Mahomes won this one over Prescott and his depleted group of weapons. It was anything but the shootout most expected, but that is not very important. There is still a lot of season for the Cowboys to continue to fight for playoff position, but now they have to make sure they also lock up the NFC East as the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Football Team won earlier in the day, and that puts the Eagles just two and a half games behind them. Hopefully they will see Tyron Smith back at left tackle for the Thanksgiving game against the Las Vegas Raiders, but they are still going to be short handed as they seem to be really looking at the final stretch of the season when they have four games remaining against NFCE competition.
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