A win is a win, but Dallas looked anything but impressive.
But once again, it wasn’t exactly easy.
Perhaps the biggest story coming into this Thursday night matchup was who wouldn’t be on the field. The Cowboys announced earlier in the day that Pro Bowl running back Tony Pollard would be out with a thigh injury, joining the likes of Leighton Vander Esch and others who would not play.
However, that was nothing compared to the slew of players in street clothes for Tennessee, which included running back Derek Henry and defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons, two of the NFL’s best. Throw in Titans quarterback Joshua Dobbs making his first career start and this had the makings of a Dallas blowout.
Instead, the Cowboys continued a disturbing trend of seemingly playing down to their competition’s level at times. Turnovers, dropped passes and lapses in the defensive secondary kept the shorthanded Titans within reach until the final quarter.
More on the Cowboys playing down to the competition.
The Dallas Cowboys have completed their tour of the lowly AFC South, a division populated by “have-nots,’’ “might-be’s,’’ and “who’s that’s?’’ and they survived, with a 27-13 win on “Thursday Night Football’’ over the Tennessee Titans Junior Varsity.
Is it fair to say that after tight wins over the lowly Colts and lowly Texans, followed by a stunning loss at Jacksonville, and then capped by this result over a Titans team that was mailing it win while waiting until next week to determine its fate?
Yes, that is fair, even as the 12-4 Cowboys might be on their way to winning their final two games while chasing 13-2 Philadelphia for the top spot in the NFC.
The Titans are now 6-8 and yet they can win a third consecutive AFC South title by beating the Jaguars in Jacksonville in Week 18. ... which rendered this game meaningless to them.
And yet even without a real QB (they shoved one-week practice-squadder Josh Dobbs into duty) and even without their best players (including running back Derrick Henry), the Cowboys offense’s twin personalities - explosive and implosive - headline the day.
Cowboys take care of Titans, keep pressure on Eagles in playoff race - ESPN, Todd Archer and Turron Davenport
The race is still on.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Dallas Cowboys kept the pressure on the Philadelphia Eagles in the race for the NFC East crown by taking care of business against a banged up Tennessee Titans squad on Thursday night on the road.
Dallas (12-4) was able to overcome three first-half turnovers by quarterback Dak Prescott before knocking off the Titans (7-9) and quarterback Joshua Dobbs — who was making his first NFL start — 27-13.
The Eagles (13-2) can still clinch the division with a win over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, but with a loss, the pressure will be on heading into the final week of the regular season.
The good news: The Cowboys beat the Titans. The bad news: They looked bad doing so.
The Cowboys have said they want to build momentum going into the playoffs, regardless of where they stood in the chase to win the NFC East. Thursday did nothing to inspire confidence that a long playoff run will be starting in the near future.
Cowboys center Tyler Biadasz carted to locker room after injury vs. Titans - The Dallas Morning News, SportsDay Staff
The Cowboys’ offensive line continues to take hits.
The Dallas Cowboys offensive line took an unexpected blow during Thursday night’s game against the Tennesee Titans.
Late in the third quarter, starting center Tyler Biadasz exited the game with an ankle injury after being rolled up from behind during a short run up the middle by backup running back Malik Davis.
Tyler Biadasz got rolled up pretty violently on Cowboys last play.— Joey Hayden (@_joeyhayden) December 30, 2022
Jake Ferguson immediately waves to sideline. pic.twitter.com/behwRFozO1
The Cowboys originally said he was questionable to return before ruling him out for the remainder of the game. He later returned to the sideline in street clothes with a boot on his right leg.
Initial belief from the Cowboys is that center Tyler Biadasz suffered a high ankle sprain tonight against the Titans, a person familiar with situation said. It being a Thursday game helps him. More time to recover before playoffs.— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) December 30, 2022
Injury to Tyler Biadasz forces Cowboys to shuffle offensive line - ProFootballTalk, Charean Williams
Shuffling like a deck of cards.
Right tackle Terence Steele‘s season-ending injury in Week 14 caused the Cowboys to move Tyron Smith to right tackle in his season debut in Week 15. Now, an injury to center Tyler Biadasz in the third quarter has caused the Cowboys to do more shuffling.
Biadasz was injured with 35 seconds left in the third quarter when DeMarcus Walker accidentally rolled the back of Biadasz’s right ankle.
Zeke continues finding the end zone.
For the ninth straight game, Ezekiel Elliott has found the end zone with a rushing touchdown. Zeke scored on a 1-yard run in the first quarter against the Titans for the Cowboys’ first TD of the game.
The nine-game streak is not only the longest in the NFL by a running back this season, but the second-longest in franchise history, only behind Emmitt Smith, who had 11 straight games with a rushing TD in 1995.
This marks the third time in his Zeke’s career to have 12 rushing TDs in a season. He had also 12 in 2019 and a career-best 15 in his rookie season of 2016.
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