Every team, on their way to greatness, runs into what the Dallas Cowboys did on Sunday afternoon against the Denver Broncos; an absolute beat down. Let’s not forget the thumping that the New England Patriots dynasty took in week one to the Kansas City Chiefs. One game does not a season make. There are 14 more to go.
With the team riding high after an emphatic week one win over the New York Giants, the Dallas Cowboys played about as poorly as a team could play. The Denver Broncos thoroughly manhandled your hometown heroes to the tune of 42-17.
This team is still a good team. They just got walloped by a good team, on the road, in a stadium that is very difficult to play in.
There’s no other way to look at this one. They were whooped.
You’re going to hear over the next few days all the things that went wrong. This site and others are going to be littered with how poorly this team played. If you look really hard, though, there are some positives to take away from this game.
Since I’m an eternal optimist, I’m going to dig those out for you.
It Can’t Get Much Worse.
I can’t imagine a scenario the rest of the season where the Dallas Cowboys can play any worse than they did on Sunday. That includes future matchups with the Oakland Raiders, Green Bay Packers, and Atlanta Falcons. This was their low point in the season. Better it come in week two than in round two of the playoffs.
The defense was torched, even before losing two of their top three corners.
Players missed tackles all over the place.
They made Trevor Siemian look like an upper-tier quarterback; which he looked like in a week one win against the Los Angeles Chargers.
The offense couldn’t ever sustain a rhythm.
Quarterback Dak Prescott was inaccurate.
The offensive line was manhandled — not something I ever expected myself to write.
The play calling and the game plan were questionable.
Even when the game was close, it seemed like Ezekiel Elliott was an afterthought.
There were drops, one through the hands of Dez Bryant which led to a Chris Harris interception.
Brice Butler had his patented drop of the game.
It was just a horrible game through and through. But again, it can’t get much worse.
The G.O.A.T. gonna G.O.A.T.
For all the talk about Jason Witten’s age and possible retirement after the 2017 season (guilty, sorry Witt), Jason Witten continues to be one of the most important players on this team. His 10 catches for 97 yards and a touchdown show that he still has what it takes to be an elite tight end in the NFL.
During the game Jason Witten tied Marvin Harrison for fourth all-time in receptions. That is a pretty impressive feat.
Witten is on pace to catch 136 passes this season, which would be a career best for him. I find it unlikely he keeps his 8.5 receptions per game pace, but if teams continue to leave him open, he’ll continue to feast.
He did have a bad drop and a false start that hurt a drive, but he’s still a great player. As the season goes along, teams are going to have to work harder to take him away. Hopefully his play will open things up more for Dez Bryant on the outside.
I think it’s safe to say that DeMarcus Lawrence has finally arrived. No longer injured or facing a suspension, Lawrence had an offseason to get healthy, to get in shape, and to work on his game.
And it’s showing.
DeMarcus Lawrence built off of his strong week one showing to perform well again versus the Denver Broncos. Now with four sacks on the season, Lawrence is certainly working his way toward a big pay day.
For a guy who has had as much adversity as Tank has, it’s exciting to watch the former second rounder come into his own.
His early season production is really important for the defensive line as a whole. It will only open things up more.
Cowboys Kicking Game is the best in the NFL
Between Dan “Split ’em” Bailey and “The Puntisher” Chris Jones, the Dallas Cowboys kicking game is the best kicker/punter combination in the NFL. And it’s probably not close.
Dan Bailey matched a career long with his 56-yard field goal at the end of the second half. At the time, it was a huge make, which made it an 11-point game going into halftime.
Punter Chris Jones continues to boom the ball and pin teams deep in their end of the field. After having a tremendous week putting the Giants inside their own 10 week one, he did so again in week two. Two of his five punts led to the Broncos starting drives inside their 20, with one at the 6.
No Offensive Injuries
While the defensive unit lost Nolan Carroll (concussion) and Chidobe Awuzie (hamstring) to injuries, the Dallas Cowboys offense didn’t lose anyone.
Most importantly it didn’t lose its most important player; Dak Prescott.
There were several times during the game that Dak Prescott got hit and got hit hard. That he made it through the game relatively unscathed is a positive. Now he can rest and set his sights on Arizona.
Out of Conference Matchup
Every game matters and if it comes down to one game at the end of the season, they’ll wish they played better on Sunday. That being said, it has less of an impact than a division game or a conference game when it comes to tie breakers.
We can only hope that Denver puts a beat down on the rest of its NFC opponents so that the “common opponent” tiebreaker is a wash.
And a little Bonus Optimism for the Cowboys
- Jaylon Smith played his second game, even though like the rest of the team, he played it poorly.
- Orlando Scandrick is another week closer to being back.
- Jourdan Lewis made his debut and had an interception. Let’s not speak about the rest of his debut…
- Chaz Green made it through the game uninjured.
- Dez Bryant and Dak Prescott seemed to work well against a tough secondary.
- Terrance Williams was solid, if unspectacular catching four of his five targets. So far with a catch rate of 83% on the season.
It’s only week two. In 2016, we were at this same point after two games. 1-1.
We all remember what happened next.