The Dallas Cowboys came into Week 3 riding high but have now come falling back to earth. Some may see it as the Cowboys doing what we've grown accustomed to from them. Others may see this as a game that was controlled by the officials with controversial penalties and non-calls that had major ramifications in the game.
In ugly losses, I try to identify the bright spots (even though they weren't that many) and highlight them. Mike McCarthy preaches mojo moments to his players in order to let them know that the game can turn at any given point in their favor.
The Cowboys need to take advantage of them when they arise and a players did just that on Sunday. All three facets of the game featured players that had their own separate mojo moments that helped impact the game in a positive way for the Cowboys.
Let's take a look at those moments.
Cowboys Offensive Mojo Moment
For this mojo moment, we had to wait until the third quarter when the Cowboys were on their 46-yard line with 12:12 left in the quarter. The team needed seven yards for a first down on a drive where they desperately needed to put points on the board because up to this point, the Cardinals had scored on every possession they had.
The Cowboys came out with CeeDee Lamb split out wide with tight end Jack Ferguson inline and Brandin Cooks and Michael Gallup on the opposite side of the field. Once the ball is snapped the play calls for Ferguson to come off the line and draw the safety inside in order to give Lamb a one-on-one look on the outside.
Dak Prescott needed to hold onto the football in order to let this play develop and was able to do that by looking off the safety using Ferguson, then with pressure in his face delivered a strike over the top of the defender for a 32-yard gain, the longest of the day for this offense and putting them in position to put points on the board. It only resulted in three points but that drive game the Cowboys offense some life at a time when they were down 21-10 and made it a one-score game heading into the fourth quarter.
Cowboys Defensive Mojo Moment
This mojo moment came on the heels of the Cowboys' offensive mojo moment there were 18 seconds left in the third quarter and the Cardinals had to gain 9 yards to keep the drive alive. The Cardinals looked to have dialed up a screen pass, something safe that could get them the yards needed but also gain a few more yards if they weren't able to in order to pin the Cowboys deeper in their own territory. Micah Parsons had other plans, lining up in between Sam Williams and DeMarcus Lawrence.
The tight end is looking to chip Williams but does a poor job of it allowing Williams to get up on the right tackle quickly drawing his attention for a moment while the right guard is trying to slide over to get Parsons but isn't quick enough.
That allows Parsons to split the guard and tackle quickly enough to get right up on quarterback Josuha Dobbs. Parsons was then able to track him as he rolled away looking to get the ball to his running back and bring him down from behind ending the play and giving the Cowboys the football back down one score. It was his only sack of the game but it couldn't have come at a better time for the Cowboys.
Cowboys Special Teams Mojo Moment
The Cowboys had just stopped the Cardinals on their side of the field and KaVontae Turpin was back to receive a punt all the way back at the 26-yard line. From there Turpin made a few defenders miss and ripped a gain of 51-yards to complete change the momentum and field position.
The return gave Dallas chance to score and potentially tie things when they were down 13-21. However, the play was upended by a holding call against Devin Harper near the line of scrimmage. Replay didn't show the holding penalty, but either way that's pretty much how the game went for the Cowboys: a positive, potentially game-changing play was negated by a penalty.