Dallas Cowboys offense sluggish in opening loss to Panthers
The Dallas Cowboys offense looked to be in preseason form as they struggled in their regular season opener against the Carolina Panthers.
The Dallas Cowboys opted to rest several of their starters throughout the preseason, in particular, quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott. In fact, the latter didn’t take a single snap in the preseason. And in their regular season opener against the Carolina Panthers, the rust showed.
The sluggish Cowboys offense would fail to get the ball into Panther territory the entire first half and ended up only scoring eight total points in a Week One defeat to Carolina at home, 16-8. Dallas recorded a whopping 10 penalties in the game, more evidence of their sloppy play.
Prescott completed 19 of his 29 passes for 170 yards. But his receiver corps often failed to get open against a suspect secondary in Carolina. And the Cowboys offensive line struggled to protect their third-year quarterback, who was often forced out of the pocket to make plays.
Elliott was kept in check for most of the contest as well, rushing for 69 yards on 15 carries and scoring a second-half touchdown. Wide receiver Cole Beasley led the team with seven catches for 73 yards. Elliott, receiver Deonte Thompson, and tight end Geoff Swaim recorded three receptions each.
New kicker Brent Maher missed on his only field goal attempt of the game. The 28-year old rookie infamously replaced longtime kicker Dan Bailey who was shockingly released last weekend by Dallas.
The Cowboys defense was the saving grace of this team in Week One. Pass rusher DeMarcus Lawrence looked to be in midseason form, leading Dallas with seven total tackles and posting his first sack of the young season. Linebacker Jaylon Smith and defensive tackle Maliek Collins also recorded a sack each. Defensive tackle Daniel Ross and safety Jeff Heath both had a forced fumble.
The Dallas Cowboys will now head back home to take on their NFC East rivals, the 0-1 New York Giants, at AT&T Stadium next Sunday, September 16th at 7:20 p.m. CT.