Jerry sees the silver lining.
They left FedEx Field with their worst loss of the year, 26-6, to the Washington Commanders, throwing more questions into the mix regarding what the season can be with a wild-card game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next week.
“We get to suck on that all week,” owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. “If that doesn’t make you want to get ready to go in about six, seven days, nothing else will. That was as thorough a butt-kicking as we’ve had this year and we’re going to find out if that’ll get you ready or not. It should with what these guys are made of.”
“There’s no doubt in my mind that as a team, not just individually, but as a team we can come back and take this nightmare — whatever you want to call it — and turn it into a plus,” Jones said. “I’m thrilled that we’ve got the opportunity and I’m thrilled that we didn’t have to look over there at the Philadelphia game and the San Francisco game and say, ‘Boy, did we mess up.’”
WAS 26, DAL 6: DAK PRESCOTT DELIVERS WORST PERFORMANCE OF THE SEASON AS COWBOYS FALL TO COMMANDERS- Jazz Monet, Inside The Star
The loss was total and unexpected.
After the Commanders scored another field goal, increasing their lead to a 20-point margin, the Cowboys finally pulled their starters out of the game. Cooper Rush took over as quarterback with 5:19 left in the 4th quarter, but he continued the pattern of three-and outs for the Cowboys.
The Cowboys never found a rhythm. They also never found the end zone again, or a way to score any additional points for that matter. The game ended with a score of 26 – 6 in favor of the Commanders.
The Cowboys were unable to get anything going offensively in the air or on the ground. They ended the game with 182 yards of total offense and only 10 first downs. The Cowboys had the ball for 23:48 while the Commanders held possession for 36:12.
Dak Prescott ended the game with his lowest passer rating of the season (45.8). He also tied his season low in completions with 14 out of 37 attempts, but he had a season low completion percentage (37.8%) and a season low in total passing yards (128). Dak is also now tied for the most pick-6s in the NFL. He has a total of three that have all come since Week 15.
Dallas’ QB1 shows signs of frustration but provides optimism for the future.
The two-time Pro Bowler took to the podium following the regular season finale and took the train of accountability head on.
“Sh---y, not to use the language but it was exactly that,” said Prescott of his and the offense’s performance against the Commanders on Sunday. “The defense gave us a chance. We put them in bad positions, us and special teams did. ... I think the defense did enough, obviously.
“But, for offense, just completely not who we are. I don’t think I’ve seen us like that, damn sure not in the last two years. It’s something that, as much as you want to burn the tape and move forward, there’s a lot that we’ve got to learn from. Use this tape.”
Time and again, the defense did indeed give the Cowboys a chance at capitalizing, but the offense could muster only one touchdown (a 15-yard scoring pass from Prescott to CeeDee Lamb to end the first half) and the special teams unit, one that’s been routinely excellent this season, only made things worse.
There are plenty of concerns heading into Wild Card weekend, but which should fans focus on?
3. Running game went missing (again)
Don’t look now — seriously, don’t — but the Cowboys running game has been missing for three weeks now after Sunday’s disappearing act.
While that can be attributed to the strength of the opponent (Eagles, Titans and Commanders are elite against the run) you would still expect Dallas to show some semblance of competence. It is one of their perceived strengths, after all, right?
In Week 16 vs the Eagles, Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard combined to take 25 carries for 74 yards, equating to 2.96 yards per carry. Pollard missed Week 17 against the Titans, but Elliott struggled again to the tune of 37 yards on 19 carries. That’s 1.9 yards per carry, folks. Has to be the worst of Zeke’s career, no?
5 takeaways from Cowboys-Commanders: Dallas has some big problems heading into postseason- Michael Gehlken, DMN
What is your takeaway from the Cowboys’ week 18 loss?
If the Cowboys find themselves trying to win a playoff game in Tampa without a run game, they’d better be able to throw the football.
They sure couldn’t Sunday.
Wide receiver Noah Brown found little separation on six targets. The only one he converted into a catch came on a 10-yard pass on third-and-5 during the opening drive. Prescott had several seconds to throw and needed every instant of pocket time.
Prescott finished 14-of-37 for 128 yards, one touchdown and the aforementioned interception that he telegraphed and had returned for a Kendall Fuller touchdown. He was pulled late in the fourth for Cooper Rush.
Prescott threw for 80 yards in the first half. That total was his fewest since 53 yards in Week 1 against, of course, the Buccaneers.
Cowboys rookie CB DaRon Bland questionable to return with chest injury- Cameron Burnett, Cowboys Wire
Bland did not return. More updates to follow.
With the game’s result unimportant, the Cowboys suffered a scare with safety Jayron Kearse who took a tough call and was evaluated in the medical tent. Soon after, rookie cornerback DaRon Bland was announced as questionable to return with a chest injury.
Bland was a fifth-round pick and was thrust into a starting role when injuries ended Anthony Brown and Jourdan Lewis’ seasons. He’s been nothing short of a star in the spot with five interceptions and strong run support to boot. Dallas will desperately need him for the wild card round especially with the revolving door at the outside corner spot across from Trevon Diggs.
Despite their most recent performance, Dallas is favored in their Wild Card matchup.
That locked the Cowboys into the fifth seed in the NFC and forced them to go on the road for a wild card playoff game. Their opponent will be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3), winners of the NFC South with an 8-9 record. DraftKings Sportsbook has the Cowboys as 3-point favorites in their initial odds.
The Cowboys have a 12-5 record and have been the superior team in many ways for much of the season. But Tampa Bay did beat Dallas 19-3 to open the season, and their offense has started to look better toward the end of the season. And they have Tom Brady who has never lost to Dallas.
It’s hard to see the Cowboys as favorites after their abysmal performance against the Commanders. But looking at the totality of the season, you can make sense of Dallas being the favorite, even going on the road.
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