Cowboys come up short: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

The Dallas Cowboys entered Monday’s night game against the Tennessee Titans sitting at 3-4. They lost 4 straight games to mobile quarterbacks. Monday night would be no different as they fell to 3-5 after a 28-14 loss at home.

It started off good

The Cowboys have admitted all season that they understand they must get off to a fast start and that’s exactly what they did in the first couple of possessions both offensively and defensively. Offensively the running game was there, where Zeke picked up around 26 yards alone on his first three carries. Newly acquired wide receiver Amari Cooper caught himself a few passes and a touchdown in the first half. In the first two possessions for the Titans, the defense forced two fumbles and was able to capitalize on one of those turnovers, which was the 4-yard touchdown to Cooper.

Then it got bad

Dak Prescott decided to give the ball right back to the Titans when he threw an interception in the end zone looking to get Cooper his second touchdown on the night. “Obviously you want to cash in right there” Coach Garrett stated after the game when asked if that interception killed the team’s momentum. It was momentum shifter for the Cowboys for sure. During the next drive for the Titans, the Cowboys defense allowed four 3rd down conversions. Coming into the game ranked #1 in total defense, that wasn’t seen coming due to the Titans being alongside Dallas in the bottom 5 in the league on offense. Then the predictability set in. Dallas running the ball on every first down, challenging the Titans on an obvious catch and Dak fumbling the ball. Prescott did manage to get the ball into Allen Hurns for a 23-yard touchdown before the half to tie things up 14-14.

Then it got ugly

Dallas couldn’t get anything else going on the offensive side of the ball after the first half. The Titans, on the other hand, put up an additional 14 points after the constant 3 and outs by the Dallas offensive, forcing the Dallas defense to get back on the field. Linebacker Sean Lee went out with a hammy injury, and there is an obvious change defensively when he is not on the field.  Only 72-yards rushing, which is a season-low for the Cowboys and the football world knows that’s not going to cut it when the passing game isn’t where it needs to be. In the fourth quarter, there were zero rushing yards. That can’t happen when you have a top 5 rusher in your backfield. 

Something’s got to give 

Let’s call it like it is folks. The Cowboys were completely outcoached Monday’s night game. Coming off of a bi-week with a new offensive threat in Amari Cooper, Dallas were obvious favorites. So why did they lose the game? The same reasons they have lost 5 games at this point. The coaching staff seems as if they are not going to open up the playbook for the offense. The predictability with this team is at an all-time high and Prescott most definitely needs to make better decisions with the ball. “We’ve got to do better, and it starts with me,” Prescott said when asked about the performance for the night. The coaching staff has to understand the strengths of each player on the team and learn how to play off of it. One thing Prescott didn’t do last night was run the ball. The quicker that he and the coaching staff realizes that effective RPO (Run Pass Option) will add an entirely different dimension to this team, the quicker they’ll be able to turn things around. The addition of Amari Cooper is supposed to open up things up for wide receiver Cole Beasley, but he was a non-factor in last night’s game. Using Beasley effectively in the slot also adds another dimension to the Dallas offense. During the bye week Dallas fired offensive line coach Paul Alexander and promoted top assistant Marc Columbo, But Prescott still found himself sacked five times. The O-line has got to get back to being the dominating force it was two years ago. The bright spot in last night’s loss was that Amari Cooper ran great routes and he was involved very early on in the game. “I thought he handled it well,” Garrett said when asked how he thought Cooper did in his first game. 

The NFC East is still wide open, but the Cowboys are not taking the lifelines that the other teams in the division are throwing them(lost games). It is panic mode time and it is probably time for changes within the coaching staff from play calling to personnel, but owner Jerry Jones who said it was “very disappointed coming off of the bi-week and we have got to do better”, is also adamant that mid-season coaching changes will not happen.  If changes don’t come soon, the Cowboys will find themselves at .500 or less at the end of the season.