Santa did not come to Hard Rock Stadium bearing gifts as the Dallas Cowboys dropped a hard-fought game against the Miami Dolphins. The loss was more frustrating than last week's debacle in Buffalo because the Cowboys were in a position to win this time.
It's easy to point the finger at the head coach following a big loss, but the slings and arrows are deserved for Mike McCarthy, whose conservativeness as a play-caller following CeeDee Lamb's breathtaking 49-yard catch-and-run touchdown drove one of the nails in the Cowboys coffin.
With the offensive line struggling to cope with the Dolphins blitz, early-season McCarthy returned. More (unsuccessful) running plays on early downs set up long third downs, which allowed for Vic Fangio to dial up the blitz and disguise coverages.
Though maddening beyond words, nothing McCarthy did -- or didn't do -- is more inexplicable than ghosting CeeDee Lamb after his long TD.
Never shy about speaking his mind to the media, Lamb rightfully expressed frustration with his role following the loss.
Cowboys' CeeDee Lamb threw Mike McCarthy under the bus after Dolphins loss
"They weren't doing anything. I feel like if I’m gonna be involved, keep me involved," Lamb said, via Nick Harris of DallasCowboys.com. "It was weird, that second and third quarter. Very weird ... Started off the game hot. I went absent. That’s why it was weird."
Lamb is the soundbox for every Cowboys fan with this quote. After his 49-yard score, Lamb logged exactly zero targets or touches in the second and third quarters. That is indefensible. He was the only thing working for the offense in the first half and McCarthy forgot he existed.
It'd be one thing if Dak Prescott carved up the Dolphins secondary because Lamb was consuming that much attention. Nope. Prescott was under constant duress and McCarthy didn't dial up any easy looks for Lamb, who routinely beat man and zone coverage on key downs in the fourth quarter, including the go-ahead scoring drive that culminated in a Brandin Cooks touchdown.
For a lengthy stretch in the first half, the Cowboys managed nine total yards on 12 plays without registering a first down immediately following Lamb's TD.
We don't claim to have football expertise, but why not go back to the Lamb well over and over and over until it stops working? It's not like Jalen Ramsey was shadowing him. Even then, Lamb should still be peppered with targets. He was arguably the best player on the field for either team, and only finished with six catches for 118 catches and a touchdown.
Though a gaudy stat line, Lamb had four catches for 93 yards in the first quarter. He could've easily gone for 10 plus catches for 180 yards if McCarthy didn't lose the plot. He coached scared and Lamb disappeared from the game plan.
Lamb is the best player on the Cowboys offense. Give him the ball and good things happen. It's inexplicable that there's two games left in the season and this is a talking point again.
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