The Dallas Cowboys have put themselves in a spot nobody thought was coming after the season's first week.
They sit 8-3, the fifth seed in the playoffs, and only two games back from leading the best division in football, but one problem has traveled into this season with them and may cost them a game when it matters most.
Penalties. Dallas committed the most in football in 2021 and had 127 for 1103 yards. This season they are right on track to have that number again. They are currently second only behind the Broncos for the most in football. They have committed 83 for 626 yards, including 13 for 86 yards in their win on Thanksgiving day.
It still irks me that this team finds ways to extend a drive for an opposing offense after a third down stop or put themselves behind the sticks on first or second down when on offense.
I understand that players aren't going out there and thinking, “I am going to hold them this play.” Sometimes you get caught in the wrong spot, a player sells it very well, etc.
Nonetheless, come playoff time, having this many in a game will cost them against the 49ers, Bucs, or whoever they match up with.
Cowboys keep committing bad penalties, but keep overcoming them. Another Prescott-to-Schultz hookup, and the Cowboys extend their lead to 21-13, late 3rd.
— Mike Leslie (@MikeLeslieWFAA) November 25, 2022
One of the main reasons they lost at home in the playoffs last season. The team had 14 of them for 89 yards.
Dak Prescott responded a few times in the second half after committing some bad penalties that could have stalled the drive, but he delivered, including a touchdown to Dalton Schultz that put them up 21-13 in a game they would win 28-20.
Us fans can harp on this every day like we have since it cost them games last season.
The Cowboys have the third most pre-snap penalties and are the most penalized team at home. At what point does this get hammered down and made the NUMBER one issue in meetings, practice, etc.?
We all laughed and said, “It's only the preseason,” when they had 17 in the first preseason game. Yet here we are, 11 weeks into the season, and the problem still needs to be FIXED.
“This is preseason, and I don't think this has anything to do with last year, obviously you guys can write whatever you want, but it's a starting point,” McCarthy said back in April.
I have been the first to jump on Mike McCarthy when he makes questionable decisions in the football game, but he has also done an excellent job getting this team to where they are after everyone wrote them off.
He knows this is an issue, but maybe sometimes it comes down to the players on the field. If they don't do their job correctly, then take them off.
We will see as the season continues if this team can somehow clean them up because if they don't, this team will not be playing very long in January.
This team has a ton of potential, but they have to stop hurting themselves in other ways of the game if they want to win a couple of playoff games.