Tonight was the Dallas Cowboys' first game without Dak Prescott in the starting lineup since the 2015 season. They already miss him, looking helpless in a 38-10 drubbing from the Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night Football.
The two teams traded punts on five possessions to start the game but then Ezekiel Elliott had fumbles on the next two drives, both of which set up the Cardinals in good position to capitalize with touchdowns and take a 14-0 lead. Arizona would eventually go into halftime up 21-3.
There was nothing close to a real comeback attempt this week from Dallas. From protection to turnovers to a dropped touchdown pass before the half, the offense looked clearly lesser for not having Prescott out there.
Andy Dalton wasn't even the biggest problem. While he did have some bad throws, Dalton mostly executed when his blocking and receivers did their part.
Elliott was the far greater disappointment, and tonight's fumbles take him to five already for the season. He was briefly benched after the second turnover but wasn't really effective even when he kept the ball secure.
The defense was looking okay early with the three forced punts but eventually Arizona found their rhythm. Kyler Murray only had 188 passing yards but did throw two touchdowns, and the rushing attack was on fire. The Cardinals had already put up nearly 200 yards on the ground before Kenyan Drake's late 69-yard touchdown added to the embarrassment.
It's hard to say where the Cowboys go from here. But one thing is certain; finding ways to win with Dalton at QB are only going to make this season even more challenging. They definitely looked outclassed tonight by their competition.
Hopefully, upcoming games against the Eagles and the Football Team will give everyone a chance to regroup and find some confidence.
- Zack Martin left the game in the first quarter with a shoulder issue but quickly returned. However, he almost immediately left again due to concussion concerns and was ruled out for the night. Martin's exit left Connor Williams as the only preseason starting offensive lineman still playing for Dallas.
- Leighton Vander Esch did return to action tonight but wasn't very visible, registering just three tackles and no significant plays. Still, it's good to see him back out there and hopefully he'll get back up to speed in the coming weeks.
- Dallas' only sack of the game came from Anthony Brown, who tagged Kyler Murray after the QB had already tripped and fallen to the ground while scrambling.
- The blowout gave QB Ben DiNucci and RB Rico Dowdle their first NFL snaps on the final drive. They weren't memorable ones.
- The Cowboys' two victories are enough to stay on top of the NFC East right now, where everyone else has just a single win so far in 2020. Dallas will face Washington and Philadelphia over the next two weeks.