5 areas the Cowboys need to improve in after the bye week

Cowboys, Johnathan Hankins. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Cowboys, Johnathan Hankins. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /
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Cowboys, CeeDee Lamb
Cowboys, CeeDee Lamb. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images) /

2. Get more third-down conversions

Heading into the game against Chicago, head coach Mike McCarthy was adamant that the Cowboys needed to be better on third downs in order to win the game. Before Week 8, they were a mere 26-of-88 on the crucial down, which was a lowly 29.5 percent.

That’s not a recipe for success in the NFL, which is why it was stressed. The good news is that Dallas responded. Against the Bears, they converted on 82 percent of their third down attempts, going 9-of-11, including a touchdown from Dak Prescott to CeeDee Lamb on third-and-nine in the first quarter.

Conversely, the defense was able to get off the field — stopping the Bears on nine of 15 attempts. That’s close to their average on the year as they stop roughly 36 percent of the opposing team’s attempts on third down.

Still, the offense needs to pick it up going forward since even after this performance, they’re sitting at 37-of-98 on third down attempts, which is just 38 percent on the year. That’s better, and it was a huge improvement in just one week, and it was against a struggling defense that just traded their best pass rusher to the Eagles.

The focus was there Sunday, now it just needs to be there from Week 10 through 18 — and hopefully well into the playoffs.