Whenever the Dallas Cowboys don't quite play up to expectations, the blame game always rears its ugly head. That is exactly what is happening after the Los Angeles Rams came to town and handed the Cowboys their second loss of the 2017 season. Everybody will have their own opinions about the loss, but where should the blame actually be placed?
I know that it's going to be a copout, but I firmly believe that a team wins and loses together. I don't believe that one individual person is responsible for a win or loss. I believe it takes a collective unit working together to accomplish what they set out to do. And, I know head coach Jason Garrett believes the same.
Jason Garrett: "Everybody contributed to the loss. You win as a team, and you lose as a team." #Cowboys #Rams
— Mike Leslie (@MikeLeslieWFAA) October 2, 2017
Even though I believe football is the ultimate team sport, it doesn't mean that one individual play can't change the outcome of an entire game. I think that is exactly what happened to the Dallas Cowboys Sunday afternoon against the Los Angeles Rams.
Now, you can blame the loss on the disappearing act the offense had in the second half of the game if you want to, or the defenses inability to contain Todd Gurley and the Rams offense. But, I think it was another play that changed the momentum and outcome of the entire game.
Unfortunately, it's a play that Cowboys Nation would like to forget, but the Ryan Switzer muffed punt could possibly be the one single play that changed the entire trajectory of the game. Fair or not, I believe that is when the momentum of the game shifted from the Cowboys to the Rams.
Ryan Switzer's fumbled punt return allowed the Rams to pick up the loose ball at the Cowboys 18 yard line with 6:33 left on the clock before halftime. At the time, the Cowboys had a 17-6 lead over Los Angeles, but the Rams offense was able to capitalize off of Switzer's turnover by scoring their first touchdown of the game and decrease the deficit to 17-13.
Before Switzer's turnover, the Cowboys offense had three consecutive drives putting points on the board against the Rams. The Rams defense simply didn't have any answers, which means a fair catch by Switzer would have likely increased the Cowboys lead heading into halftime.
The Dallas Cowboys were still able to head into halftime with a 24-16 lead over the Rams, but it could've easily been 31-16 or at the very least 27-16. That's a much larger deficit to come back from and could have possibly sealed the game then and there. But, we all know how the second half of the game for the Cowboys turned out.
Given what we know now having seen how the entire game turned out, it's probably unfair to solely place the blame on Ryan Switzer and his muffed punt. But, there is no denying that it might have been the turning point in the game. That is why whoever usually wins the turnover battle, typically wins the game.