It can’t get much worse than this, right?
The Dallas Cowboys fell to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, 49-38. At one point they trailed 41-14, though, before nearly pulling off another miraculous fourth quarter comeback. Offensively this team can score with the best of them, but turnovers and awful defensive play have this team at 1-3.
Let’s get into my game notes from Sunday’s loss.
- We start as always with the quarterback. Dak Prescott was magnificent on about 80-90% of the snaps on Sunday. He threw for 500 yards and 4 touchdowns, making this passing offense look absolutely unstoppable as they went on their fourth quarter run. But…that other 10-20% of the game counts too, and Prescott’s fumble set the team into a tailspin at the end of the first half. The offense sputtered throughout much of the second and third quarters, while the Browns kept pouring it on at the other end. Is it Prescott’s fault the Cowboys lost this game? Not at all. The offense should be allowed to have a scoreless quarter without the game going in the dumpster. We’re getting to the point where the question this offseason may be does Dak even want to be a Cowboy?
- I was as big a fan of the Everson Griffen signing as anyone, but through four weeks this is a disaster. He can’t get off blocks, isn’t generating any real pressure, and overall just looks like a shell of his former self. There’s still time for him to get it together, but that move is looking like an “L’ so far.
- Let’s talk for a minute about the right tackle situation. Mike McCarthy willingly started Terence Steele over Brandon Knight, but then replaced Steele in the first half after Myles Garrett was living in Dak Prescott’s lap. If they were so quick to make that change and knew Steele was on a short leash, why didn’t they just start Knight from the jump? Knight did a good job of keeping Prescott clean on the right side, and that might’ve avoided the sack fumble altogether if Steele never touched the field.
- Ezekiel Elliott…come on man. Zeke is one of the league’s best, and he came into this season in the best shape we’ve seen him in since 2016. But all of a sudden he’s developed a ball security problem? Elliott has three fumbles already this season, after only having three during the entirety of 2019. He’s also been a drop machine in the passing game, something that will have to be fixed ASAP when you consider that this team is playing from behind every single week.
- I have to watch the All 22 this week, but it felt like Donovan Wilson provided a boost at safety when he got in there. Darian Thompson was a disaster, so the switch needed to be made, and Wilson seemed up to the challenge.
- Behind DeMarcus Lawrence, Jaylon Smith is the highest paid defender on the Cowboys. He also may be the worst linebacker on the roster right now. Smith cannot get off blocks, looks a step slow moving sideline to sideline, has taken poor tackling angles downhill, and isn’t making tackles at the point of attack. How was the play Mrs. Lincoln? Joe Thomas has vastly outplayed Smith, but this team misses Leighton Vander Esch badly.
- What now? The 1-3 Cowboys face the winless New York Giants this week, and in what is setting up to be quite the matchup. Dallas can’t stop anyone, but the Giants can’s score at all. Something’s gotta give! A win next week would put Dallas right back in control of the NFC East, which is both hilarious and depressing. But this team is nowhere close to a contender right now. Not even close.