Another Cowboys game, another loss and another where I say to myself “what if?” What if there was not the missed field goal, what if the PAT’s were completed, what if the secondary could make a play?
Once again, the Cowboys will rue the missed opportunities in their 38-31 loss to Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. Now, as a Cowboys supporter, it is important to remain unbiased. So, when you look at their 1-2 record, it could very well be 3-0 or 0-3, with Dak Prescott putting them in a position to win the game at the death yesterday.
Everyone knew both teams’ secondaries would struggle against the opposing offense and that is exactly what happened. Both Prescott and Wilson essentially had their way for most of the day with Wilson making the better plays down the stretch, albeit with some odd referee calls, but that is football.
Dak finished 37/57 for 472 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions, while Russ went 27/40 for 315 yards and five touchdowns. For once the Dallas defence managed to get after the quarterback, with Aldon Smith doing the most damage, finishing the day with three sacks. We knew the defence was going to be a problem, with the Cowboys banged up and forced to play second and third-string players, as well as rookies, and boy did it show.
Russell Wilson had a good day, but he was helped by the Cowboys defence and he took full advantage, regularly finding open receivers, most notable Tyler Lockett who caught three touchdown passes and went for 100 receiving yards. Constant blown coverages were a theme for Dallas in the first half, although they did tighten up in the second half.
Dak had his way too, yet again throwing for over 400 yards, with Michael Gallup his best threat on the deep ball. Gallup finished with 138 yards and a touchdown to go with Cedrick Wilson, who surprised many going for 107 yards and two touchdowns on the day.
The Cowboys hit the front with just over four minutes remaining in the game, albeit by one point with Wilson only needing a field goal to win. As expected with the Cowboys secondary, they gave up plays which led the Seahawks all the way down to the one-yard line, thanks in part to several penalties (they had ten for the game).
Wilson found DK Metcalf in the endzone for his fifth touchdown and put the Seahawks up by six but they elected to go for the two-point conversion and succeeded.
This left Dak and co with 1:02 to go the length of the field and try to force overtime or win it, they had three timeouts too. Dak led them on an 11-play 54-yard drive which stalled thanks to poor offensive line play that allowed Prescott to be sacked, despite it only being a three-man rush. It was 3rd and 13 when Dak looked to be sacked again only to escape and was looking to find someone in the endzone. It was a bad decision as he did not need to force it at that stage. However, he threw it up in the direction of Gallup and Wilson into triple coverage and the ball was picked, ending the Cowboys hopes and the game.
So, here we sit at 1-2 with many questions to answer. After this defensive performance, one would think Earl Thomas could be getting a phone call tomorrow – but that is more out of hope than anything. Aldon Smith was the only shining light for the Dallas D along with rookie Trevon Diggs, who spectacularly forced a DK Metcalf fumble as it looked like he was in for another score.
Everyone else was average at best and do not even get me started on Demarcus Lawrence, who I barely recognised at all during the game. For a defensive end who is on top money, outings like that are unacceptable but are a growing theme.
Once again, Dak kept his team in it but again was let down by other units on the day. You can only admire what Prescott has done this year so far but if you do not get the win it does not count for anything. Playing for a big-money contract, it was a perfect opportunity on that last drive to make a statement but was let down by his O-line which, in truth, was decent enough throughout the contest but crumbled when it mattered most.
Up next is Baker Mayfield and the Browns at Jerry World. There are not many must-win games in the first four games of the year, but it is approaching that time already for Dallas.
Their only silver lining is that they play in what is the worst division in football now so winning the division could be their only way of getting into the playoffs. Once again, the Cowboys self-destructed at times and it ultimately was their downfall, missed PAT’s and a field goal, a muck up on special teams, blown defensive assignments will leave every Cowboy fan like me saying “what if?” They did enough to win the game without a doubt, but they could have also lost by multiple scores as well.
Cleveland is next and if Dallas comes up short again, alarm bells will well and truly be going off in Arlington.