Normally, this is the part of the week in which I would recap the preceding game with a segment called “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.” Each week, no matter the outcome, I try to find a balance for how the Dallas Cowboys played against their previous opponent.
Last Sunday was anything but normal. To be blunt, the Cowboys could not possibly have performed more poorly. Riding a six-game winning streak and facing a team that had struggled against good teams, Dallas was back at home and in a great position to keep the good times rolling.
Unfortunately, only one team actually game to play as the Cowboys were thoroughly embarrassed, losing to the Denver Broncos 30-16 in a game that was not even that close. If I tried to write about something good, it would be two sentences, tops. Everything about that game was either bad, ugly, or just plain disgusting.
When a team plays as abysmally as the Cowboys did last Sunday, there is not much that can be salvaged from the experience. I would honestly argue that watching the tape is even unnecessary because everyone in the building should know they failed at their respective jobs.
Everything about the Dallas Cowboys in Week 9 was abysmal
Truthfully, the best thing to do is simply to bring everyone in, have a barrel in the middle of the room, and throw the tape in it, burning it until it disintegrates. This team needs to move on without forgetting the most important lesson from this game.
No matter how good you think you are, the difference between any two teams in this league is marginal, at best. This week alone, a 5-2 Buffalo Bills squad lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars who had just one win coming into the game. The 7-2 Los Angeles Rams, a touchdown favorite at home, also got destroyed.
The NFL is set up in such a way that parity is one of the most important aspects of the league. If you think you can just show up and win, oftentimes, you’ll end up taking a brutal loss. This is exactly what happened to the Cowboys.
From a talent aspect, the Cowboys should win a lot more often than they should lose. In 2021, their coaching staff is much improved over what they have been working with over the last decade. All of this matters not, however, if they do not show up every week focused, engaged, and aggressive.
So many plays stand out which clearly showed those crucial facets of the game. From the huge missed opportunities of quarterback Dak Prescott overthrowing receiver Ceedee Lamb to the easy drops from running back Tony Pollard and receiver Amari Cooper, points and yards were left off the board.
Defensively, Denver ran up, down, and over this defense. The Cowboys’ previous high for rushing yards allowed was 120 against the New England Patriots, largely thanks to two 20+-yard rushes from running back Damien Harris.
On Sunday, however, the Cowboys gave up almost 200 yards on the ground. Denver had two running backs that combined for TEN separate carries that went for 10+ yards. When Dallas wasn’t getting abused in the run game, several cornerbacks took turns taking terrible angles on passes that should never have been completed, allowing the Broncos to maintain drives.
Even the special teams chipped in with a huge mistake. Fitting for this game, down 16-0 to start the third quarter, the Cowboys’ defense got a quick stop and set up almost certain positive field position. Receiver Malik Turner busted through the punt formation, blocked the Broncos’ punt and the tide seemed to have turned.
Of course, cornerback Nahshon Wright tried to field the ball off of a bounce, which did not work, allowing Denver to recover the ball and get a whole new set of downs. Ten plays later, Denver put more points on the board, took almost seven minutes off the clock, and killed any hope Dallas had at making this a game.
Now, it’s on to Atlanta. It is HIGHLY unlikely that Dallas replicates such a terrible performance. After this writing, it’s is highly unlikely that I will bring this game up again. I am believing this was an anomaly that this team will not repeat. Next Sunday cannot get here fast enough for this team or its fans. Let’s hope next week is nothing like last week.