Howdy, howdy Cowboy fans. You know what today is, don't you? Game day! The Dallas Cowboys and the Miami Dolphins square off this evening for their second exhibition matchup of the 2016 preseason.
The Cowboys are still buzzing from their performance in L.A. last week, or at least some of them are buzzing. Rookie quarterback Dak Prescott gave everyone a sigh of relief with a near-perfect outing against the Rams. The backup quarterback position left a sour taste in our mouths last year, but hope springs eternal from his lone game thus far.
The defense was another story all together. While Dak, and even Jameill Showers found ways to amaze us, the defense was superbly underwhelming. But, underwhelming and ineffective are two very different things, and the Cowboys did hold the Rams to a single score in the first half.
So we'll look to see more excitement from the offense this week, with Tony Romo's 2016 debut -- he'll play a "series or two," according to reports -- and hopefully the defense will make a splash as well.
So it's game day, and patience is straining to last until 7 pm CDT.
There's football tonight -- Cowboys football -- and the offseason has tried us all. To bide our time as the hour grows later, we're trying something new on Inside The Star.
We polled the staff for their final score predictions and a little reasoning behind their predictions, and we're posting them here for your amusement. Do with them as you wish. Talk trash or nod in approval, just be sure to share your own predictions when you do.
The plan is to make this a regular thing, with varying members of the staff participating each week.
Alright. Enough with the explanations. Let's get to it, shall we?
Brian Martin (Cowboys 24 - Dolphins 17)
I think the Dallas Cowboys will once again rely heavily on the passing game and get off to a fast start against the Dolphins. I still expect to see the reserves/backups the majority of the game, so I predicted the game to be close.
I think it will ultimately come down to a one score game that is decided by either a touchdown or a field goal.
Ian Koplowitz (Cowboys 28 - Dolphins 13)
The return of Tony Romo should allow us to get ahead early, and I expect Dak Prescott to be able to carry forward some of the momentum from last week. I also expect key preseason players Geoff Swaim and Andy Jones to bounce back this week.
John Williams (Cowboys 24 - Dolphins 17)
Tony Romo will get his preseason action and lead the team to a TD on his only series of the night. Dak Prescott and Jameill Showers will continue their strong preseason play with TD drives of their own.
Bryson Treece (Cowboys 24 - Dolphins 28)
Tony Romo will suit up tonight for the first time, and I expect at least a touchdown while he's in the game. I want to see Dak Prescott continue his impressive poise from the Rams game, and score another touchdown or two before handing the reigns over to Jameill Showers for the night. I'll want to see Prescott out there longer than he'll be out there, I have no doubt.
It's a preseason game, and true to form, Jason Garrett will place the evaluation of players over winning, so I expect a loss. And no, it's not a big deal.
Sean Martin (Cowboys 24 - Dolphins 20)
When Tony Romo returns to action for the Cowboys against the Dolphins, it means they are going to win the game. At least that was the case last year.
And while I'm predicting a much more meaningless win this time around for Dallas, all eyes will be on the offense surrounding Romo. Darius Jackson will score his first career touchdown in the win, and a late turnover will be forced by the Cowboys' defense to seal the deal.
Justin Grohowski (Cowboys 20 - Dolphins 17)
Tony Romo sees his first action with most of the first team offense for two series of work, scoring on one drive. Romo tempers some of the Dak Prescott hype with an impressive touchdown to Dez Bryant of his own this week.
The Dallas defense gets tested early and often through the air, with young talents at wide receiver on the Miami offense. Jarvis Landry has a few big catches, and second year breakout candidate, DeVante Parker scores on a deep ball.
The Dallas defense is able to generate a solid pass rush on a weak Miami front line, even beating Laremy Tunsil once for a sack. The hype of Prescott takes a hit as he commits his first turnover of the preseason, but still puts in another good stat line.
Kevin Brady (Cowboys 27 - Dolphins 21)
With Cowboys starters going for a little more time than they did in game one, I expect that first offense to score right off the bat.
Dak Prescott and Jameill Showers will then be handed a small lead, and I expect both to perform just as well as they did in Los Angeles. The Dolphins' depth looked strong against the New York Giants last week, but I think the Cowboys 2s and 3s will step up and come out with the "w," unlike last week.
If you need info on the game tonight, check out Sean Martin's itinerary post: Cowboys Vs Dolphins: Team Itinerary and Broadcast Information. And don't forget to head over to Periscope and Facebook Live after the game. RJ Ochoa will have a fresh stream going to review the game on Ocho Live.
Don't forget to give us your predictions in the comments before you go.
Let's Go Cowboys!
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for Cowboys Against Indianapolis
In a game we all hoped would clinch the NFC East division, the Dallas Cowboys instead got shut out by the Indianapolis Colts in one of their worst performances of the season. It was a deplorable performance in every aspect of the game and something we hope to never see again.
I knew sooner or later the Dallas Cowboys self-inflicted wounds would catch up to them, and that's exactly what happened against the Colts. They had far too many penalties and mental mistakes once again and it allowed Indianapolis to take over the game. The Cowboys beat themselves plain and simple.
Before I get on a rant about yesterday's game, I better stick to the topic at hand and share with you what I believe to be The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for the Dallas Cowboys. As always, please feel free to use the comment section located at the end of the article to share any of your thoughts and opinions on this topic.
In a game where just about everything went wrong for the Dallas Cowboys it sometimes a little difficult to find any kind of silver lining. That was the case this week after the Cowboys were shut out by the Indianapolis Colts. But, the good for me is that Dallas still holds their playoff fate in their hands, despite the embarrassing loss.
Any thoughts of sitting any of the starters for the Cowboys has now gone out the window. They absolutely have to play to win to close out the 2018 regular-season, because they failed to do what needed to be done against the Colts to secure the NFC East division title. Luckily though, it didn't close the door on their playoff aspirations.
With the Buccaneers and Giants left remaining on their schedule, the Cowboys will have to find some way to get back to their winning ways. Hopefully this was just the slap in the face they needed in order to put things in perspective. They simply can't afford another showing like they had against Indianapolis at any point moving forward.
I knew exactly what I was going to put in the section as soon as it happened during the game. The bad this week for the Dallas Cowboys against the Indianapolis Colts for me was without a doubt their banged up, patched together offensive line.
The Cowboys were forced to go with a patchwork offensive line for the majority of the game against the Colts yesterday afternoon after Xavier Su'a-flio left the game after an eye injury, forcing the Cowboys to go with their third string offensive guard Adam Redmond. Su'a-flio immediately had to leave the stadium to have his eye examined by an optometrist, suggesting that it was a pretty significant injury.
Unfortunately, another injury on the OL for the Cowboys leaves them severely thin depth wise at the most inopportune time. Hopefully a week of rest has done Zack Martin's injured knee some good and he will be able to return to the lineup as soon as possible. That would allow Connor Williams to move back to LG and hopefully solidify the offensive line once again.
Maybe I underestimated the Indianapolis Colts offense or maybe I just overrated the Dallas Cowboys defense, but something was clearly off yesterday afternoon on the defensive side of the ball for the Cowboys. After being so good nearly all season, they were just plain ugly against Indianapolis.
The Cowboys defense didn't have an answer for the Colts offense, especially in the running game. Marlon Mack, a solid runner although not spectacular, completely gashed the Cowboys usually stout run defense. He ran for 139 rushing yards on 27 carries and two touchdowns, something that's been unheard of against Dallas' run D.
I was honestly completely shocked he had so much success. There were far too many missed tackles and blown assignments to my liking and I believe the coaching staff will make sure to focus on clearing that up moving forward. This team can't afford to let opposing offenses control the clock with their rushing attack. That's the Cowboys MO.
What's your good, bad, and ugly for the Dallas Cowboys against Indianapolis?
IND 23, DAL 0: Cowboys Get Shut Out, Embarrassed by Colts
The Dallas Cowboys must think they've already won the NFC East, because they looked like a team with nothing to play for today. The result was an embarrassing 23-0 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
The Cowboys were shut out for the first time since the 2003 season, which was Jason Witten's rookie year.
Dallas squandered a major time-of-possession advantage in the first half, finishing three drives with a blocked field goal, punt, and a failed 4th-and-1 play near the Colts' goal line. Indianapolis capitalized on their own drives and took a 10-0 lead into halftime.
The Colts got the ball back to start the third quarter and drove down for another touchdown. Down 17-0, Dallas responded with a weak drive and a punt. The game felt out of reach even then, with the Cowboys just looking flat from that point forward.
Ezekiel Elliott had 87 rushing yards 41 receiving for some empty production. Amari Cooper won't be winning any awards this week, held to just four catches for 32 yards.
Dak Prescott completed 62% of his passes for 206 yards. He was sacked three times and threw a late interception; an overthrown ball got tipped by the receiver and picked off on the team's final offensive series.
While the offense was especially bad today, the defense wasn't much better. Dallas surrendered 139 yards rushing yards and two touchdown to Colts RB Marlon Mack, who hadn't had a 100-yard game since October. Andrew Luck wasn't sacked and went virtually untouched the entire day.
The Cowboys could have taken the NFC East with a win, but they didn't come close. Hopefully this serves as a wake-up call with the postseason only a few weeks away.
- With the Redskins defeating the Jaguars today, Dallas will have to wait until next week to try to clinch the NFC East. The Cowboys needed losses by both Washington and Philadelphia if they didn't win themselves. The Eagles are visiting the Rams tonight.
- The Cowboys will get some softer competition to finish the year, hosting the Buccaneers next week and then going to play the Giants in Week 17.
- With the Bears defeating the Packers today and moving to 10-4, they will likely stay the #3 seed in the playoffs. That means Dallas, assuming they do win the NFC East, will almost certainly be hosting the 5th-seeded Seahawks in the first round.
- Jaylon Smith led the Cowboys with 11 tackles, but neither he or Leighton Vander Esch were making the big plays that we've grown accustomed to.
- Xavier Woods had the highlight play on defense, delivering a perfect hit to dislodge the ball from Colts TE Eric Ebron and stop a potential big gain.
- Blake Jarin and Dalton Schultz combined for seven catches for 68 yards; another week of increased TE production from what we've seen must of the year.
- Fullback Jamize Olawale doesn't get many opportunities on offense, and he may not get more after dropping an open touchdown on the team's second drive of the day.
Cowboys Can’t Finish Drives, Trailing Colts 10-0 at Halftime
The Cowboys have had no trouble moving the ball today, but they've failed to finish drives with points. Dallas is thus trailing the Indianapolis Colts 10-0 at halftime.
Dallas has had possession for over 19 minutes compared to just 10 for the Colts. But their three drives have ended with a blocked field goal, a failed 4th-and-1 play near the endzone, and a punt.
The offensive line continues to suffer from health issues. With Zack Martin already out and Connor Williams starting at right guard, Xavier Su'a-Filo left the game with an eye injury during the second quarter and will not return. Backup Adam Redmond is now playing.
The Cowboys can clinch the NFC East with a win in any of their final three games. They could also clinch today if the Redskins and Eagles lose. Washington is trailing 10-3 in Jacksonville at halftime, and the Eagles are visiting the Rams tonight.
Hopefully, Dallas will start showing up on the scoreboard in the second half.
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