Even with the Dallas Cowboys erupting for twenty points in the fourth quarter, how much stock can we put in their last offensive performance?
If you were to just look at the box score following Sunday’s win against the New York Giants without seeing the game, you would think the Dallas Cowboys offense has finally found its groove.
Quarterback Dak Prescott threw for a career high 332 yards with three touchdown passes, running back Rod Smith had 113 yards receiving with a touchdown, wide receiver Dez Bryant had 73 yards receiving with a touchdown, and they totaled 450 yards on the day. The numbers certainly show a lopsided football game with the Cowboys easily coming out on top.
However, watching the game told a very different story. This was a pretty ugly game for three quarters with the Giants essentially running out of gas and taking some risks that didn’t pay off in the fourth quarter.
There were essentially three plays that bolstered the Cowboys offensive stats and gave the appearance of their offense being semi-competent again. Prescott connected with Bryant on a short pass late in the second quarter that ended up going 50 yards thanks to Bryant shaking a tackler. Prescott would also connect with wide receiver Cole Beasley on another short pass in the fourth quarter that would go for 54 yards. And finally, Prescott connected with Rod Smith on a short pass that went for 81 yards.
All three passes were very short passes where the Giants essentially sold out and tried to bring pressure with man coverage on the back end where one missed tackle can lead to big gains. Also consider the fact the Giants secondary is very hobbled right now with their best defender, safety Landon Collins, also going down during the game.
There were some positives to take away from the offensive showing put forward by the Cowboys such as Prescott’s efficiency going 20-30 and the emergence of Rod Smith in the offense. This was probably Prescott’s best performance since losing running back Ezekiel Elliott to suspension earlier this year.
But I believe the negatives still outweigh the positives when looking at the offensive output during this game. Bryant does not look like a number one receiver anymore at this point in his career and even against an injury riddled two win Giant’s secondary only managed three catches. The offense has taken conservative to the next level while failing to get any big plays downfield. At this point in the season and late in Prescott’s second year, it is clear how the Cowboys coaching staff feels about Prescott’s inability to throw the deep ball.
This was a game at the end of the third quarter that was looking like a toss up as to whether or not the Dallas Cowboys were going to survive. While their playoff hopes seem bleak at best right now even with the Cowboys potentially winning out, offensive performances like this against the Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks will have a very different ending. The silver lining in all of the offensive struggles is the fact that Ezekiel Elliott will be returning following the Week 15 game against the Raiders; but will it be too little too late?