The Dallas Cowboys up and down season continued over the weekend with an embarrassing loss to the Atlanta Falcons in Week 10.
The Dallas Cowboys have, once again, shown their true colors. There was some reason for optimism coming off a three- game winning streak against the San Francisco 49ers, division rival Washington Redskins, and the Kansas City Chiefs. The last two games of their now vanished winning streak were the games that provided some hope.
The Redskins are a team that almost always give the Cowboys headaches and they did not appear to be much of a problem this time around. But their last win against the Chiefs was one I do not think a lot of people saw coming. They outplayed the Chiefs in every sense of the word and virtually shut down one of the league’s best offenses.
With all that being said and with the momentum the Cowboys had going for them leading up to a divisional matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Cowboys returned to reality against the Falcons. The Cowboys were outmatched from the opening kickoff with practically no bright spots to take away from the loss.
One argument that can be made for how bad the Cowboys looked was the absence of three of their biggest stars: tackle Tyron Smith, running back Ezekiel Elliott, and linebacker Sean Lee who exited in the first quarter. Coach Jason Garrett will always preach “next man up” mentality when discussing injuries but I do not believe the message was received this week with the team.
Tackle Chaz Green, who was tasked with replacing All-Pro Tyron Smith, looked about as bad as you could possibly imagine giving up six sacks on the afternoon, the running game lacked its usual explosiveness without Elliott in the backfield, and the defense returned to its usual lackluster form without the presence of Sean Lee.
And to make things even worse, there is some belief that both Lee and Smith could miss multiple games. After seeing the debacle unfold against the Falcons, can the Cowboys afford to lose Lee and Smith for multiple games? And, of course, Elliott will be out at least the next three games until his next appeal hearing is heard on December 1st.
If the Cowboys have any chance left of making the playoffs, they will need to find a way to plug in the holes left by injuries. If the Falcons game is any indication, it does not appear the Cowboys will be able to fill those voids with any legitimate success. Depth has been an issue for the Cowboys for years but it could prove to be the nail in their coffin this year as the term “must win game” will start become a weekly thought as their playoff chances dwindle with each loss.