The Dallas Cowboys came into their Week 9 matchup against the Denver Broncos on a six-game winning streak and looked like one of the best teams in the NFL. They won games in different ways as well. During their three-game homestand, the Cowboys dominated their opponents averaging over 40 points per game.
It wouldn't be as easy for the Cowboys in their three road games as they won them by a combined 13 points including an overtime win against the New England Patriots as they entered their bye week. One thing that good teams in the NFL have always been able to do is to win games when they don't necessarily play their best, and against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 8, the Cowboys won despite not having Quarterback Dak Prescott which said a lot about the makeup of this year's team. However, last Sunday against the Broncos, the Cowboys were brought back down to earth.
There's no doubt that it was the worst performance of the 2021 season for the Cowboys. It was the first time since their Week 1 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that a team scored 30 points on them. After being stout against the run for most of the season, the Cowboys gave up a season-high 190 yards on the ground to the Broncos which aided in their 41 minutes of time of possession. Also, the Cowboys allowed eight 3rd down conversions which were the most they have given up all season.
On paper, everything said that the Cowboys should have dominated the Broncos, but that's why games are played on the field. There were reports that the Cowboys didn't have the best week of practice leading up to the Broncos game and it showed. The Cowboys were punched in the mouth and they never recovered, getting thoroughly beat in just about every category.
The NFL has a way of humbling every team at some point in every season. No matter how good you are, the old saying of “Any Given Sunday” always holds. In any game, any team can be beaten and it just may come at the hands of an inferior opponent. The Cowboys should take this as a lesson to not get too high on themselves and keep the focus that got them to not lose a game for two months. Every game in the NFL is critical, especially with the Cowboys having a shot to secure the only bye in the NFC.
With a firm three and a half-game lead in the NFC East, the Cowboys still have a clear path back to the playoffs for the first time since 2018. However, they should take their loss to the Broncos as a reminder that nothing is given in the NFL and that there's a certain focus that every game should be approached with. The Cowboys will have a great opportunity to bounce back this Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons and remain in a position to win the NFC's top playoff seed.