The Dallas Cowboys just lost in overtime to the Jacksonville Jaguars. After a 27-point second half from the Jaguars, and then six more in overtime, Jacksonville (6-8) clawed all the way back and beat the Cowboys (10-4), 40-34.
The Cowboys have been consistently playing down to their competition in recent weeks, letting inferior teams hang around, until finally things happen like they did today. They played well in the first half today, and in the second half against the Colts. But outside of that they haven’t been the dominant team they were earlier in the year.
Dak Prescott’s interceptions are a problem. Even when some of the issues are the receivers and miscommunication, Prescott’s interception numbers this season are unacceptably high. This defense is built to stop offenses on long fields and they have done that in large part this season. However, Prescott has thrown an interception in each of the last two games inside the 20-yard line. He has only two games this season without an interception. That’s an impossible statistic for sustaining long-term success. The interception to end the game was Noah Brown’s fault, but Prescott still gave up a punishing interception earlier that helped the Jaguars complete their comeback.
It’s hard to call someone a flop of a draft pick in just year two, but Kelvin Joseph isn’t giving any indication yet that he a long-term solution at cornerback. He’s become a liability that will be game-planned against and targeted, as he was today, allowing two touchdowns. He bit on a double move that left Zay Jones wide open and opened the floodgates of the comeback. Nahshon Wright was seeing action toward the end of the game. It’s a problem position for the Dallas defense.
The rush defense is another huge problem. Huge. The Jaguars played very physical on the line all game and it was reminiscent of the 49ers playoff game last year. Travis Etienne ran the ball 19 times for 103 yards. Worrisome. Very worrisome.
CeeDee Lamb had a really good game and has emerged as a true WR1 late in the season. When he gets into open space, he’s as good as it gets. However, Kellen Moore continues to play behind the line of scrimmage and Dak Prescott hasn’t stretched the field well since the Minnesota game, so it’s not an often thing he gets into open space. He caught seven balls for 126 yards. A wasted performance from 88.
The running game wasn’t its normal self, either. Neither Tony Pollard or Ezekiel Elliott averaged more than four yards a carry, although it was still the backbone of the offense. Like last week, it was very good early on, but then was hit and miss later in the game.
This entire stretch is eerily reminiscent of last year. Everyone bought in early in the year and were severely disappointed. That path seems to be the one they are taking this year. They have the Eagles next week, and if they want to re-boot their season, they’ll need to get that win. The Cowboys will, in all likelihood, be the five seed and travel to the winner of the NFC South in the Wild Card round. Tom Brady in the playoffs at home? That’s certainly not something the Cowboys want to see with the way they have been playing recently.