Was the Cowboys offense more ominous than defense was dominant vs WFT?

Demarcus Lawrence, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Demarcus Lawrence, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /
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Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys (Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Dallas Cowboys’ Offense Operates Ominously

That part was fun. Now, for the Cowboys’ offense. That wasn’t as fun. And, I must admit, I am a little concerned. I haven’t opened up the glass case on the panic button. But I’ll admit, I took a glance at it out of my peripherals.

I can excuse the run game yesterday. Tony Pollard was out and Ezekiel Elliott is clearly still nursing his knee injury. The offense was hamstrung in that area. But that doesn’t really provide answers for what we saw in the passing game. Something is…off… in the passing game. All of the receiver weapons are finally healthy and playing together. The offensive line held up fine yesterday. Yet there is just something missing. Do I think something is up with Dak Prescott? Yes and no.

Yes, for a few reasons. In the last four games, he is completing 63.5% of his passes, while his career average is 66%.  Slight decrease, but don’t know if that’s the culprit. I think the issue lies in the yards per attempt. His career average is 7.4 yards per attempt. In these last four games, it is 6.1 yards per attempt. Nearly a yard and a half is significant.

Why is that so telling? To drop that much, there have to be considerably shorter throws. The Cowboys’ offense isn’t pushing the ball down the field these last few games. One can speculate why that is. Is the preseason shoulder flaring up and limiting Dak’s arm strength? Is his calf causing issues with pushing off to get power on the ball? None of us can know, but it is worth asking.

I don’t think it is either of those two, but it’s in the realm of possibility. My educated guess is that defenses have adjusted a bit to Kellen Moore’s offense and an injury-riddled offense doesn’t help him either. The Cowboys would be wise to break their offensive tendencies, but I do believe the numbers will start returning to the previous averages we have seen throughout Prescott’s career with his stable of receivers healthy.

Are Cowboys fans’ concerns about Dak Prescott a product of recency bias? Look at the entirety of the quarterback’s career.

Here is why I think there may not be much to it at all. There is reason to find reassurance to not be worried. It has seemed bad and the offense has sputtered. But, we are talking about four games. FOUR GAMES. That is just 4.9% of Prescott’s entire career. I do think Cowboys fans are falling victim to our good friend, recency bias. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t as well.

Players have stretches like this. It is part of every career. Is Dak playing up to the standard we have seen? The standard that he set for himself? The level that can win the Super Bowl? No. And, Prescott is the first to agree. But let’s remember it is a four-game stretch. As evidenced by his comments after the game yesterday, one can deduct that Prescott knows he didn’t play well enough.

Take away this stretch, and Dak was putting up a 71% completion percentage, 8.4 yards per attempt, and a 20-5 touchdown-to-interception margin. Prescott was playing at an MVP level for the first eight games of the year. Or, 67% of his starts. As I said, I have questions. I would be lying if I didn’t have some worries creeping into my mind. But, I am still going to hold out that this is a blip and choose to look at the entire data set of his career versus a sample size of just 4.9% of his career.

The Cowboys have shown they can be the top defense in the league, and they will look to recapture their top offensive output down the stretch. They have time before the playoffs to find their mojo.

Do you know why they have that time? Because at the end of the day, they are still 9-4. They are still going to the playoffs. They still have the talent to beat anyone in this league. The worries are warranted and even fair, but don’t be blind to the grand scheme of things.