For the second time in three weeks, the Cowboys had a game in which everything went wrong for them. This time around, it was a little easier to swallow, considering that it was a road game against a surging Chiefs team in which several key Cowboys players were out.
That doesn’t erase the sting in this one, although it helps that this team gets a chance for atonement in just four days in their home stadium. It was evident pretty early on that this wasn’t Dallas’ day, and these five plays were a big part of making sure their fortunes never changed.
Noah Brown’s drop kills the Cowboys’ opening drive
The Cowboys’ first play of the game nearly went to the house, with Michael Gallup toasting the Chiefs cornerback off the line. But Dak Prescott missed him in a harbinger of things to come. Two plays later, though, Prescott would throw a perfect pass only to be let down by Noah Brown.
On third and two, the Cowboys didn’t need a whole lot to move the chains. Prescott ended up delivering a ball right into the hands of Brown, who Dallas needed to step up this week with Amari Cooper out. But the ball bounced right out of his arms, and Dallas was forced to punt on their opening drive.
It wouldn’t be the last time Brown dropped a pass in this game, and the butter fingers spread to Cedrick Wilson as well. But the Cowboys needed to get their offense in a rhythm early, especially with Cooper missing, and this drop killed any chances of doing that.
Nobody touches Frank Clark on his way to a strip sack
The Cowboys’ second offensive possession went even worse. A first-down run got stuffed, and then a screen pass to Gallup was blown up because Dalton Schultz whiffed on his block. Suddenly, it was third-and-14 at the Cowboys own 21-yard line.
When Prescott took the snap out of the shotgun, Frank Clark exploded off the line and blew right past Terence Steele, who didn’t even seem to see him. Worse was that Ezekiel Elliott, who looked to be going out for a route, didn’t try to chip him at all. That resulted in a free shot on the quarterback, and Prescott had the ball knocked out of his hands before he could even sense someone was coming.
Chris Jones fell on it, and sent the Chiefs offense out onto the field already in field goal position. The Dallas defense (which played a heck of a game, by the way) did hold them to a field goal, but the strip sack made it a layup for Kansas City. Suddenly, the Cowboys were down two scores.
Dak Prescott’s shot to CeeDee Lamb ends up an interception
Late in the second quarter, Micah Parsons did Micah Parsons things and registered a strip sack on Patrick Mahomes, which was promptly recovered by Tarell Basham. The offense went back out with 42 yards to go for a touchdown and just over 90 seconds with which to do so. It looked like they might have a shot at making things close before halftime.
Going with a no-huddle offense, Prescott hit three straight completions that set Dallas up with a first down at the Kansas City 28-yard line. That’s when Prescott decided to go deep to CeeDee Lamb in the endzone. But Prescott threw it short while Lamb took the outside leverage - a rare miscommunication between the two - and it turned into an interception.
To make things worse, Lamb apparently suffered a concussion on that play, which kept him out for the rest of the game. The offense had already been hindered by Cooper’s absence, but losing Lamb made things just about impossible for Dallas. His status will be something to monitor with such a quick turnaround for the Thanksgiving game.
Michael Gallup gets mauled in the endzone, but a no-call forces Dallas to settle for three
So Cooper was out, and Lamb got knocked out too. The Cowboys still had Gallup, who’s itching to make some plays now that he’s back on the field. And that nearly happened in the second half, too.
After Jayron Kearse picked off Mahomes on the Chiefs’ opening drive of the second half, the Cowboys started moving the ball. On third-and-five at the Chiefs’ 12-yard line, Prescott fired a bullet into the endzone for Gallup. He was unable to catch it, as the defender was all over him, but no flag was thrown. Mike McCarthy then went with the analytical decision and kicked the field goal.
---> DAL (3) @ KC (16) <---— 4th down decision bot (@ben_bot_baldwin) November 21, 2021
DAL has 4th & 5 at the KC 12
Recommendation (STRONG): Field goal attempt (+2.2 WP)
Actual play: G.Zuerlein 30 yard field goal is GOOD, Center-J.McQuaide, Holder-B.Anger. pic.twitter.com/FAOyexn3Q6
Of course, if the flag had been thrown, it would have set the Cowboys up with a first-and-goal situation instead of having to settle for three. Since they were down 16-3 at the time, those extra four points could have potentially changed the game completely. But, alas, it was not to be.
Chris Jones gets home for a sack on third-and-long
There was never really one exact moment where the game suddenly became out of reach for the Cowboys, which was more an indictment of the Chiefs than anything, but this play was about as close as we got to a dagger moment.
After a Chiefs field goal extended their lead to 19-6, the Cowboys offense was once again starting to pick up steam, albeit in bits and pieces. But a false start on Tyler Biadasz eventually led to a third-and-13 on the Kansas City 24-yard line. It was the kind of situation where Dallas could play for a quick gain and then go for it on fourth down, but it never really mattered.
Chris Jones blew up the offensive line, as he did most of the day, and brought Prescott down. Faced with a fourth-and-19 now, the field goal was the only realistic choice. Greg Zuerlein drilled the 48-yarder, making it a 10-point game once again, but the sack ruined an opportunity to at least try something. The field goal proved to be the last points of the game as they ran out of time for a comeback.
We discussed all of the top plays from the game in our Dallas Cowboys Highlights Show on the Blogging The Boys YouTube Channel.
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