Cowboys start slow, Vikings win though: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
By Richard Ball
The Cowboys have played nine games so far in the 2019 season. Why does it seem like they have had slow starts in all nine games?
The reality is that they have had first quarter leads in three games. They were up 3-0 against the Saints, 14-7 against the Eagles and 10-3 against the Dolphins.
The Cowboys have only scored points on their opening offensive series twice. They had a field goal against the Dolphins and a touchdown against the Eagles when the defense forced a turnover and gave the offense a short field.
In years past in the Jason Garrett era, the Cowboys were severely criticized for not making half time adjustments. So far in 2019, Dallas has not been able to get out of the starters block.
The Cowboys have more opening series with negative outcomes than series that netted points. Interceptions against the Packers and Giants and a missed field goal Sunday night against the Vikings show that the team more times than not isn’t ready to start the game.
Yet, in a role reversal, Dallas has been able to be quite successful on their opening drive of the third quarter. The offense has five touchdowns and one field goal in nine games on the first series in the second half including one against the Vikings.
It was the slow start that doomed Dallas this game. Dallas gave Minnesota a short field when kicker Brett Maher shanked his 57 yard attempt on the first series of the game. The Vikings used screens to gouge the Cowboys for their first touchdown to tight end Kyle Rudolph.
After a short six play second series, Dallas punted to Minnesota. The Vikings started their second drive at their own 24 but used the same recipe for success resulting in Kyle Rudolph’s second touchdown just before the first quarter ended.
Dallas quickly dug themselves another hole down 14 points. While the Cowboys were able to claw back to take the lead in the third quarter, one has to wonder how the rest of the game would have changed had America’s Team started playing at the beginning of the game and not the second quarter.