The Dallas Cowboys played down to their competition in their previous two games against the Giants and Colts. Ultimately, they picked themselves up in the second half, and their superior talent level proved to be the difference.
On Sunday, the Cowboys took playing down to their competition to a whole new level against the one-win Texans. On a fast-track to clinching the NFL’s worst record and No. 1 overall pick, Houston smelled blood following KaVontae Turpin’s first quarter muffed punt and pushed their in-state rivals to the brink.
So much so that it took an 11-play, 98-yard touchdown drive with less than three minutes remaining in the game for Dallas to see out the victory.
It was a surgical drive from Dak Prescott, whose interception just minutes earlier seemed to seal a win for the visitors before DeMarcus Lawrence saved the day with a physics-defying run stop on 3rd and goal.
A win is a win, obviously, but the Cowboys were downright lucky to escape with a win. While you’re celebrating this thrilling come-from-behind victory, be sure to take note of these causes for concern.
3 causes for concern from Cowboys win over Texans
3. Self-inflicted mistakes
The Cowboys’ record under Mike McCarthy speaks for itself. It also speaks volumes the team is continually plagued by self-inflicted mistakes under McCarthy’s tutelage. If it’s not penalties, which were oddly few and far between against Houston, it’s unforced turnovers, dropped passes, or missed tackles. You name it.
Sunday was the same old story.
For starters, KaVontae Turpin’s muffed punt after Tony Pollard’s early touchdown changed the game. If Dallas gets the ball back and goes up 14-0, it’s extremely possible the one-win Texans lie down and prepare for the slaughter.
Besides that, Dallas committed an offsides on 3rd and goal after stopping the Texans, which led to a Dameon Pierce touchdown run.
You also had a dropped pass from Noah Brown that resulted in an interception, and a dropped touchdown by Dalton Schultz. Dallas wound up getting stuffed on 4th and goal later in the drive, which opens up another can of worms about Kellen Moore’s conservative play-calling near the goal line.
After eight straight runs to start the second half, the Cowboys packed the box and called an Ezekiel Elliott run up the middle on 4th and goal that had no chance. The Texans snuffed it out (how could they not?) and blew up the play behind the line of scrimmage.
ALL of these blunders were unforced. Inexcusable, but not surprising.