The Dallas Cowboys were dealt a loud reality check Sunday night when they lost to the San Francisco 49ers by 32 points. It's a defeat that disqualified the Cowboys from any Super Bowl talk and though they'll win plenty of more games this season, you can't fault anyone who won't take them seriously until they win a playoff game.
Even then, they probably have to beat the 49ers to overcome the sheer stink of this loss.
Mike McCarthy is taking most of the slings and arrows from fans and the media, and rightfully so. That being said, the players deserve just as much blame. While the gap in coaching was glaring, so was the discrepancy in talent and toughness.
That doesn't excuse some of the performances we watched in Week 5. It's not like McCarthy to enforce drastic change, but multiple Cowboys deserve to be benched for the team's Week 6 clash against the LA Chargers.
3. Tony Pollard
The odds of Dallas benching Pollard are slim to none, but TP delivered arguably his worst performance in a Cowboys uniform in Week 5. Maybe he was shell shocked from Dre Greenlaw's body-slam tackle on the offense's first play from scrimmage, but Pollard was a non-factor virtually all game.
Pollard carried eight times for 29 yards, good for 3.6 yards per carry. He earned a 53.5 rushing grade from Pro Football Focus and fumbled on his longest carry. To make matters worse, the turnover occured deep in Dallas territory.
Already trailing 7-0, the fumble should have sent the Cowboys into a 14-0 hole, but Christian McCaffrey shockingly fumbled at the two-yard line just as it seemed like Pollard's fumble was going to cost his team six crucial points.
Regardless, Pollard hasn't been an efficient runner this season. That might be an indictment on McCarthy's offense, but Pollard's 4.2 yards per attempt this season is a far cry from his 5.0 career average.
Backup Rico Dowdle was more effective against the 49ers on fewer touches. It's unlikely the Cowboys outright bench Pollard, but fans aren't crazy for wanting to see more of Dowdle. Maybe that will manifest itself in Week 6.