The Dallas Cowboys were in total and complete control of things. With the entire world doubting their ability to win on the road against good teams, trips to Buffalo and Miami loomed. Sure the Bills were a bit down, but the football world felt, and still feels like, they are much better than the middle of the season made them look. The Dolphins held the same record as the Cowboys entering the game on Christmas Eve, but like Dallas, the Fins were desperate to get rid of the narrative that they could not beat top-tier competition.
In a battle of one-team-gets-to-quiet-the-narrative, the Dolphins won and the Cowboys have now lost two games in a row for the first time since three Thanksgivings ago. Ultimately the Cowboys still have a shot at winning the NFC East, but a perceived inability to win on the road against premium competition casts a heavy shadow over that optimism.
Here is our stock report following Sunday’s loss. Merry Christmas to you and yours!
Stock Down: Mike McCarthy
It can be true that Mike McCarthy has been exactly what this franchise needed and that he has done a poor job of readying his troops over the last couple of weeks. The penalties, including pre-snap ones, continue to persist and ultimately so does the disposition of not being willing to attack.
What happened to this team’s “seize everything” motto that we heard back in the summer? This is supposed to be a team that has seen the depths of sorrow that the NFL has to offer and that is done with that for good. Obviously Sunday was not a playoff game and the Cowboys have the luxury of having had a spot assured in playing in one since their two-game losing streak began, but the head coach and play-caller have to be more ready to attack.
Stock Down: Dak Prescott
Ultimately the Cowboys quarterback played a rather solid game and actually kept a lot of things alive that may have otherwise collapsed for other reasons (we’ll get to the “other” shortly).
But the standard is different and the evaluation isn’t always as fair as it is for others. Prescott has had a really good year. but like with McCarthy multiple things can be true, and the offense was really stuck for most of the contest in Miami. As the quarterback and the straw that stirs the drink, there has to be more than a go-ahead drive late in the fourth quarter.
Stock Down: Tony Pollard
Last week the Cowboys’ running game was declared a “volatile stock” because it felt like they showed signs of improvement on a day where just about everything was terrible.
But the game in Miami was not a good one for Tony Pollard and obviously the Dolphins defense came ready to play, but this is December. Today is Christmas! You need to be able to run the ball at this time in the year and particularly so when the postseason tournament begins. Pollard managed only 38 yards on 12 carries on a day where nothing was really there on the ground (Dallas had 97 yards total rushing).
Stock Down: Chuma Edoga
What is there to say? It turns out missing Tyron Smith is rather consequential!
Honestly it feels unfair to hold Edoga to some sort of lofty standard, like replacing a future HOFer, but you have to be ready when the moment calls upon you and the moment came and Edoga let Bradley Chubb walk on by.
It wasn’t just that Edoga was not Tyron Smith, it was that he (seriously) seemingly allowed un-contacted Dolphins to fluster his quarterback. We cannot have that.
Stock Down: Tyler Smith
This was one of the less great games that Smith has played throughout his Cowboys career, but the list of them is not very long. Perhaps he missed the elder Smith more than we did as he seemed all sorts of lost against Miami’s front. Poor play and penalties are a bad combination and unfortunately on Sunday they described Smith’s game.
Stock Up: CeeDee Lamb
Remember when it felt like the Cowboys were obsessed with targeting him and getting him involved? I’d like Marty and the Doc to take us back to those days.
Seriously, CeeDee Lamb is a superstar and he played like one against the Dolphins. The only negative thing is that he was not used much more.
Stock Up: DeMarcus Lawrence
The Cowboys got beat up on the ground last week in Buffalo, and as someone who plays rather well in that department, a lot of us held DeMarcus Lawrence responsible in the proper way.
To his credit Tank responded with a resounding force. He was everywhere against Miami and made an incredible effort. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough.
Stock Up: Jalen Tolbert
He had a big-time moment on offense which was very cool to see. We do not get to see a lot of him obviously so any involvement is a positive step, but coming up with a clutch catch when your team needs it is always a great thing.
Stock Up: Brandon Aubrey
What we are witnessing here is historic and not normal. How has he made 33 consecutive field goals to begin his career? This is one of the greatest seasons that a kicker has ever had.
Stock Up: Brandin Cooks
The short-lived, lead-taking touchdown was a reminder that he can be used in ways besides taking the top off of the defense. When the moment called Brandin Cooks answered which was highly impressive.