The season ended in disappointment for the Cowboys, who will miss the playoffs for the seventh time in ten years. It’s time to grade out each unit.
Disappointing. I looked up the word in a thesaurus and here’s what I came up with: depressing, discouraging, unsatisfying, bitter, displeasing … I could go on. There were more, and all of them sum up the Dallas Cowboys 2019 campaign pretty well.
Before the season began, fresh off the heels of a very exciting 2018 season, Dallas fans had plenty of cause for optimism. America’s Team had won seven of its last eight regular-season games to take the NFC East, then defeated a very good Seattle Seahawks team in the playoffs.
The team lost to the Los Angeles Rams in the next round, but the Rams also made it to the Super Bowl. So, the Cowboys season only ended with a loss to the second-best team in the league last year.
Surely, the team was destined for great things in 2019. But it didn’t happen. Once again, a Jason Garrett-led team let down the fans. But how did it happen, specifically? One way to analyze the season is to take a look at all three phases of the game and come to some conclusions.
Kellen Moore as offensive coordinator and play-calling: Compared to the Cowboys’ anemic, predictable offense of 2018, this season got off to a bang. At first, Moore seemed like an offensive genius. In the first three games, the Cowboys scored 97 points.
True to his word, Moore used shifts and pre-snap movement to disguise his intentions. It was a revelation. But then, the Cowboys dropped the next three games, scoring only 10 points against the Saints. The rest of the season played out similarly: boom and bust.
The Cowboys offense was world-class against weak teams, but poor against playoff-caliber teams. Moore seemed to abandon the run for much of the season, and it didn’t work.
Perhaps worst of all, the Cowboys couldn’t ever catch up once they got behind. Last year, the Cowboys came from behind to win a number of games. It seemed, especially in the final eight games, no matter what happened, Dallas always had a chance to come back for the win, and usually did.
This year, once the Cowboys got behind, that was it. Game over. And since Dallas got off to a slow start often this season, this inability to get caught up doomed the season.
At least some of the blame for this has to go to Moore. Sure, the Cowboys put up big numbers. But they often started slow, couldn’t get caught up, and couldn’t perform well against good defenses.