For the first time since 2015, the Dallas Cowboys dropped a game to the Washington Redskins while dropping a game and a half out of first place in the NFC East in the process. Jason Garrett, Dak Prescott, and the Cowboys offense had a chance to tie the game, but Brett Maher missed a 52 yard field goal, which would have sent the game into overtime.
While the missed kick is what prevented them from tying the game, what happened leading up to the field goal attempt had just as much to do with the Cowboys taking home an L as anything else. And no, I'm not talking about the penalty enforced on L.P. Ladouceur.
The Dallas Cowboys had enough time to try to drive the field for either a game-tying field goal or if things fell right, a go ahead touchdown. Once they got into field goal range, they took the foot off the gas and eliminated any opportunity to try to take the lead.
Let's look at how the drive unfolded.
1st and 10 at Dallas 36 - 1:09 to Play
Incomplete Pass to Dalton Schultz
The Dallas Cowboys got the ball back with a time out and a little more than a minute to play. It's beyond my understanding why the Dallas Cowboys had Dalton Schultz on the field with under two minutes to play in a game that was essentially a must win.
I know that the Dallas Cowboys love to run 11 personnel in obvious passing situations. It's all the craze in the NFL now. Like Pogs were in middle school. I get that most teams run 11 as their base package, but when you're in a must score situation with under two minutes to play, Dalton Schultz is not one of your best four receiving options.
They lined up Allen Hurns, Michael Gallup, and Cole Beasley along with Schultz when they could have had Deonte Thompson out there to give them some run after catch ability.
It's inexcusable to me to have a rookie tight end, who was suiting up for his first NFL game, on the field in crunch time because you don't have any 10-personnel packages (1 RB, 4 WR, 0 TE). Scott Linehan is calling plays and constructing formations like they still have Jason Witten on the team. News flash, Scott, you don't.
You'd think that at a time when they need their best playmakers on the field, that they'd have some packages that would get their four best receiving options on the field.
2nd and 10 at Dallas 36 - 1:04
Incompete Pass to Cole Beasley
At least Dak Prescott goes to his go-to-guy on this play as he goes to Beasley and barely overthrows him. It wasn't the best throw by Prescott who was under pressure. Had he hit Beasley, there's a great chance for yards after catch.
3rd and 10 at Dallas 36 - 0:59
18 Yard Completion to Cole Beasley
After back to back incomplete passes to start the drive, Dak Prescott finds Cole Beasley for an 18 yard gain to get the Cowboys into Washington territory.
This was the biggest play of the drive. Big time, accurate throw to Beasley who makes a contested catch in double coverage that picks up a first down and puts the Cowboys just outside of field goal range.
1st and 10 at Washington 46 - 0:52
Nine Yard Completion to Cole Beasley
Because Cole Beasley got out-of-bounds and Washington Redskins Corner Back Fabian Moreau was injured, the clock stops and the Dallas Cowboys get a moment to catch their breath and game plan the next couple of plays.
If you needed anymore evidence about who is Dak's go-to-guy, it's Cole Beasley. He comes right back to him. Prescott finds Cole Beasley for a nine yard gain to get the Dallas Cowboys into field goal range.
Cole Beasley catches the ball and is ruled down by contact with 45 seconds remaining in the game. How in the world it took them 17 seconds to get to the line of scrimmage is really hard to understand. As a team, if the receiver gets tackled in bounds, you know you have to hurry to the line of scrimmage to either get another play off or to spike it. The Cowboys take their time and prevent themselves from being able to run at least a play or two to get them a more favorable field goal attempt.
Instead, the Cowboys take 17 precious seconds of the clock and now have less than 30 seconds remaining.
2nd and 1 at Washington 37 - 0:28
Six Yard Completion to Cole Beasley
This is where you figured out that Head Coach Jason Garrett was playing for the tie. The Cowboys were able to pick up the first down on a quick pass to Cole Beasley, but then took way too much time getting to the line of scrimmage for the next play.
After Cole Beasley makes the catch and is tackled, there was roughly 24 seconds left on the clock. They took another 12 seconds to get to the line of scrimmage to run the next play. They weren't prepared and because they weren't prepared, they didn't have a ton of time left to run a play. If they get to the line faster, perhaps they leave themselves more time to get the ball up field to make Brett Maher's kick more manageable.
The catch went under review and so the Cowboys get yet another opportunity to regroup and come up with a play to get them further down the field.
Instead they do the following.
1st and 10 at Washington 31 - 0:12
Three Yard Run by Ezekiel Elliott
This is the biggest give up play of the night. With 12 seconds left and a timeout, the coaching staff takes the ball out of their quarterback's hands -- who just drove them into field goal range -- and they give it to Ezekiel Elliott who picks up roughly three yards on the play. They had time to throw a short pass to try to pick up some yardage. With a timeout in their pocket, Dak could have even thrown it to the middle of the field to get Brett Maher into a better position.
Instead, the coaching staff plays scared and leaves Maher with a 47 yard field goal attempt. On a day where the wind had been a factor in the passing game, 47 yards is hardly a gimme.
2nd and 8 at Washington 28 - 0:03
Five Yard Penalty Against L.P. Ladouceur for a Snap Infraction
The penalty puts them at the Washington 33 with three seconds left in the game.
There are a lot of things we can say about the missed game-tying field goal attempt.
Though the penalty was bogus and Brett Maher should have made it, the biggest issue, in my humble opinion, was how the drive went to get to this point. The Dallas Cowboys coaching staff didn't put their team in the best position to win the game, let alone tie.
Jason Garrett, Scott Linehan and the Dallas Cowboys were super conservative once they got into field goal range. It was like they didn't even consider trying to score a touchdown at that point, which for someone who has long been a defender of Jason Garret, is a problem.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
I've long been a believer that Jason Garrett is a head coach that could win this team a championship based on the way he gets his players to play. On Sunday, however, he coached like an NHL coach that was on the road and just hoping to squeeze out a point with a tie. That's twice in two weeks that Garrett played conservatively with a chance to win the game and he cost his kicker a chance at a shorter, more makeable field goal. Play aggressively and it's possible he's kicking at worst a 45 yarder, even after the penalty.
Instead, Maher has to kick a 52 yarder with swirling winds and is unable to squeeze it inside the left upright. Now the Dallas Cowboys are 3-4 and need to go on a serious run over the last nine games to have a shot at making the playoffs.
Lion Down: QB Matthew Stafford Ruled Out for Cowboys Game
The Detroit Lions will be without starting Quarterback Matthew Stafford this Sunday when they host the Dallas Cowboys. He has been officially ruled out due to fractures in his back; the second-straight game that Stafford will miss with the injury.
Fourth-year backup QB Jeff Driskel will get the start as he did last week against the Chicago Bears. The Lions lost that game 20-13, and Driskel went 1-4 as a starter last season when playing for the Cincinnati Bengals.
Stafford's status was confirmed this morning by Lions' Head Coach Matt Patricia.
Lions QB Matthew Stafford (back) has been ruled out for Sunday's game against the Cowboys
Losing Stafford could leave Detroit completely crippled on offense. While they have one of the league's top passing offenses so far in 2019, that was all Matt's work at QB. Now they are missing both their starting QB and their top running back, Kerryon Johnson, who went on injured reserve in Week 7.
That said, Detroit did put up 357 total offensive yards last week against the Bears with Driskel starting. Given the quality of Chicago's defense and that the Lions were playing on the road, that's a strong number.
It will be interesting to see how Dallas strategizes on defense after last week's loss to the Minnesota Vikings. The Cowboys were completely run over by Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison, so will increased focus on run defense creates opportunities for Driskel and the Lions' receivers?
However it shakes out, Matthew Stafford's absence definitely helps the Cowboys. He is still one of the top quarterbacks in football and had a top-five passer rating before the injury.
We never root for injuries but such is life in the NFL. Sometimes you get the benefit, sometimes you're on the losing end.
Hopefully, this turn of fate helps Dallas get a much-needed victory.
#DALvsDET: Betting Preview, Trends, And Prediction
Cowboys -3.5 O/U 51.5 points.
After suffering a devastating four point loss to the Vikings on Sunday night, the Cowboys will look to get back on track against yet another NFC North foe.
Dallas now sits at 5-4, clinging to their first place spot in the division with the Philadelphia Eagles right on their heels. They have fumbled away four very win-able games already this season, and are running out of chances to take full control of their playoff destiny.
You can't necessarily call this one a must win for the Cowboys, but it's damn near as close as it can get to one for a week 11 game. Considering Detroit's record and injuries, the Cowboys can ill afford to let this one slip away on Sunday.
It's one of the few games against a team with a losing record remaining on their schedule.
The 2019 Lions are a tough team to figure out. Expected before the season to be one of the worst teams in the conference, the Lions started out the season rather well.
They were "undefeated" (there was a tie) through the first three weeks of the season, and played the Kansas City Chiefs extremely tough. They also went on the road and had the Green Bay Packers on the ropes for four full quarters.
But, with all that being said, they now sit at 3-5-1, with their NFC playoff hopes just about destroyed. Quarterback Matt Stafford is having one of the best seasons of his entire career, however, and is surrounded by an offense littered with receiving talent. If he's healthy and can play, he'll be a handful for the Cowboys secondary to deal with.
- The Cowboys are now 2-4 against the spread their last 6 games.
- The score total has gone over in 5 of the Cowboys' last 6 games. It's also gone over 5 of their last 6 road games.
- The Lions are 1-4 against the spread their last 5 games.
- The score total has gone over 7 of the last 8 times these teams have played.
Despite being on the road this week, I'm going to pick the Dallas Cowboys to come out on top and cover the 3.5 point spread. At some point, talent has to take over for this bunch, and what a better day for that to happen than against a hobbled Detroit Lions team?
The Cowboys have been far from perfect in 2019, but it's now or never if they want to rack up wins and start a playoff run.
The Brady Report: Cowboys Defense Run Over In Primetime Loss
Sunday's loss to the Minnesota Vikings was a tough one to take for the Dallas Cowboys. They could easily be sitting here today at 7-2 or 6-3, comfortably ahead of the Eagles for first place in the division and fighting for a first round bye in the postseason.
Instead, they are barely over .500 on the season and face de facto must win games each week from here on out. Obviously they let this one slip away, but there's a whole seven games to go before we know the fate of the 2019 Dallas Cowboys.
Let's discuss what went wrong (and right) last week during the Cowboys 28-24 loss.
- What more can we say about Dak Prescott? The Cowboys franchise quarterback was incredible yet again on Sunday night, having arguably his best game to date even in defeat. Prescott was in complete control of the offense, and showcased his mastery by bailing the Cowboys out with some big third down throws. Prescott finished with 397 yards and 3 touchdowns, and continues to force the hand of the Jones family to break out the checkbook this offseason.
- Much like Dak Prescott, I'm running out of adjectives to describe the play of wide receiver Amari Cooper. Cooper has been a God-send for this Cowboys offense over the last calendar year, looking like one of the best wide outs in the league week in and week out. Cooper went for 147 yards and a touchdown on 11 catches, and should have been given a chance to win the game on the team's final drive.
- Alright, that's enough praise in defeat. Let's talk about the negatives. The defensive tackles were flat-out awful. No matter who it was - Antwaun Woods, Maliek Collins, Christian Covington, Kerry Hyder - anyone who was asked to defend the run at the 1 or 3 technique position had some very low moments against the Vikings. Minnesota bullied the Cowboys upfront on both the sides of the ball, en route to over 150 yards on the ground for this Vikings offense. Dalvin Cook and the Vikings offensive line won this game, and the Cowboys interior defensive line needs to be better if they hope to actually compete against good teams.
- The defensive tackles were bad against the run Sunday night, but let's not let the linebackers off the hook. Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch are each immensely talented, but neither has been as consistent as a run defender as they need to be going forward. Smith looked flat-out dis-engaged at times during this one, and both linebackers were run over by interior offensive linemen getting to the second level. I've often praised Smith for his versatility and what it does to unleash this defense, but he was plain bad last week.
- Of course, we can't let the coaching staff off the hook for this loss either. Head coach Jason Garrett made several questionable fourth down calls down the stretch of the game, and offensive coordinator Kellen Moore was determined to pound the ball on first down despite achieving next to no success. On the defensive end, Kris Richard's defensive backs were toasted. Chidobe Awuzie continues to look like a liability opposite Byron Jones, and the safety spot next to Xavier Woods has been a massive hole all season. And, while both Jones and Woods have been mostly good this year, neither was particularly impressive either during this loss. It was a total and complete defensive failure. This team needs to get better fast, and it all starts at the top with the coaching staff.
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