After a brutal loss, a devastating injury to a star player and the prosperity of conference foes, the Dallas Cowboys season is on the brink of despair.
It’s easy to overreact to a result in the National Football League. Even though we all know it’s truly a week-to-week league, one big win or one bad loss can feel like so much more.
Sunday just so happened to be one of those bad losses for the Dallas Cowboys. It’s just one loss but it feels like so much more.
Part of that comes from how the Cowboys lost the game. Some of it comes from who they lost during the game. Another aspect has to do with what other teams in the NFC were able to do in Week 10.
All in all, it’s just one game. The Dallas Cowboys are still for playoff contention.
Mathematically they are still alive. Realistically? This loss is a sever blow in which, for all intents and purposes, may be next to impossible to recover from.
Since we’re talking about parts of this feeling of despair, let’s dissect into bit by bit.
The first part is how the Dallas Cowboys lost.
After scoring the opening touchdown of the game, Dallas never put up another point. Giving up 27 straight points is bad enough. Not being able to fight back is far worse. The truth is the Cowboys had no shot to fight back thanks to the dismal play of their left tackle.
Don’t get me wrong. The loss of Elliott was noticeable but without Smith, nothing could happen.
Quarterback Dak Prescott routinely had less than three seconds to make any decisions. He spent a decent amount of the day either running for his life or looking up at the ceiling. Prescott was sacked eight times which could have been more if not for his own athletic prowess.
Due to the ineptitude of Smith’s replacement, Chaz Green, the Cowboys literally did not have a chance offensively. Aside from the opening drive, only one drive all game took more than five minutes.
If the Cowboys do not have Smith next week, this offense will be in serious trouble. Unfortunately, the defense already will be as well.
During this demolishing at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons, Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee hurt his hamstring again.
We all know the importance of Lee to this team. In the two games he could not play in earlier this year, Dallas gave up 35 points in both. Despite scoring 30+ themselves, they could not out duel their opponents and lost both games.
Initial reports indicate Lee will likely miss the next three games. That could not come at a worse time for Dallas with two of those games being divisional matchups.
Even more problematic is that next week, Dallas faces division leading Philadelphia who owns the second highest scoring offense in the league.
The brings us to the last part of this loss that makes things feel so much more heavy.
Prior to this week, the Dallas Cowboys were holding on to that final playoff spot at 5-3. Not only did the Cowboys lose, every single team above them and directly behind them won. Dallas is now the worst of the group at 5-4, with head-to-head losses versus Green Bay and Atlanta.
Dallas trails the Eagles by a full three games. They trail all the other teams currently “in” the playoff spots by two except Seattle. Those two teams are the only two the Cowboys face who are in the race.
Time is not on the side of the Cowboys. Neither is opportunity.
Dallas may have let their greatest opportunity pass them by Sunday in Atlanta.
Things can certainly change week-to-week in the NFL but Sunday’s loss suddenly feels like the season was lost as well.