It’s been a disappointing start to the 2017 season for the Dallas Cowboys, but the bye week has given time to reflect further on how they can turn the tide.
The inability to stop the run on the defensive side of the ball has been the biggest weakness of this young team, but every team has weaknesses, and the Dallas Cowboys have let theirs get the best of them by failing to execute cleanly for entire games.
Looking back at the last two losses, small mistakes turned out to be devastating. That being said, the ‘Boys were only a few plays away from being 4-1.
They were plays that are easily fixable, but in the grand scheme of things, the Cowboys weren’t able to get out of their own way. It’s a huge reason why they are sitting at third in their division.
In the losses to the L.A. Rams and the Green Bay Packers, the ‘Boys had seized control of the game only to eventually let the momentum slip away.
Rookie Ryan Switzer‘s costly muffed punt in the second quarter against the Rams gave some life back to the visiting team. At the time, Dallas’ offense was driving and looked like it was ready to go put the game out of reach. Instead the turnover gave Ram’s quarterback Jared Goff a short field to work with, and kept them in the game.
The next week, second year quarterback Dak Prescott threw a pick six in the fourth quarter against the Packers after the ball bounced off the hands of an attempted body catch by receiver Terrance Williams.
Later in the final minutes of that game, the offense decided to throw on second and one from the Green Bay 11-yard line when the running game was finally clicking. The pass fell incomplete and the Cowboys missed out on an opportunity to burn more time or at the very least force the Packers to burn their last timeout.
Although Dak would run it in for the go-ahead score on the next play, it left Aaron Rodgers with 1:13 left to come back and throw the game winning score. Many including myself believe the decision to throw on that second down was poor execution from the coaching staff.
If this team is going to make the playoffs, it needs to avoid dooming itself with questionable play calls like that throw, and it can’t gift the opponent points with turnovers.
However, if Switzer doesn’t fumble, Williams makes that catch, and the Cowboys continued to run the ball have no doubt America’s Team would only have one loss.
I understand that’s not how football works and we’ll never know what could have been if those three moments had gone the other way. However, questionable play calling, turnovers, and a lack of execution for the entire game surely will not help the Cowboys generate wins.
They have a perfect opportunity to regain control of their season coming off the bye week against an 0-6 San Francisco 49ers. It’ s must win game for the ‘Boys obviously, but I feel they need to win convincingly and dominate in every aspect of the game to turn their season around.