The Cowboys just allowed 19 points to the 49ers and lost. If we were all told the 49ers were slotted for that figure pre-game, confidence would be pretty high. However, the Cowboys offense just played one of their worst games of the season. It is truly a brutal way to end the season, especially for how the game felt through the first three quarters. They had opportunities, they had the lead, and they squandered them.
To start, Dak Prescott. Oh, Dak Prescott. In what was equivalent to the biggest game of his career, he had his worst playoff performance to date. He had 23 completions for 206 yards and two turnovers, which were both downright inexcusable. And it wasn’t just the interceptions, he missed open receivers and made poor reads. He was unable to make the throws he made last week. That performance against the Buccaneers seems like an outlier.
The two-play sequence to end the first half with Tony Pollard getting injured and Prescott throwing an interception was exactly what you can’t do against high-quality teams. Good teams capitalize, the Cowboys didn’t.
Once Pollard was injured, there was no room running the ball, with Ezekiel Elliott averaging 2.6 yards per carry on 10 rushes. The pass protection and CeeDee Lamb were the two lonesome stars of the offense. Lamb caught 10 balls for 117 yards in a heroic effort. He had exactly ten more catches than Michael Gallup, who battled through a lost season to some extent.
The offense is to blame, though, and much of that goes back to Prescott. Mike McCarthy made some questionable calls in the second half, but the ship of blaming the head coach has sailed. This was on poor offensive execution, plain and simple. Seven penalties also didn’t help, but again, this offense is to blame.
The Cowboys defense did everything they could to hold the team in the game. They held Christian McCaffrey to 3.5 yards per carry and sacked Brock Purdy twice. Speaking of Purdy, he completed 19 passes on 29 tries. Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk caught a combined six balls. Truly was a masterclass performance from the Cowboys defense.
Overall, the “organizational standard” that this team was once held to needs to be lowered because they have not been able to get over the hump, or even close to it, in 28 years. It’s upsetting, it’s aggravating, and it’s gut-wrenching. The worst part: did you expect anything different? This is who they are. This is the Dallas Cowboys.