The Dallas Cowboys (8-4) came out of the game against the New Orleans Saints Thursday night with a win, but it wasn’t pretty. The Cowboys’ offense looked out of sync for most of the game, just like it has for most of the last month-plus.
Dak Prescott threw for just 61 yards after halftime. The Cowboys were 2 for 13 on third-down conversions, punted seven times, and had five three and outs. Dak appeared hesitant to rush for yards even when it seemed he could be doing so.
On the first play of the game, Dak missed on an incompletion into tight coverage after he passed up what would have been a sure first-down run.
Prescott was given three chances to put away the Saints in the fourth quarter and failed every single time. One of the drives resulted in a Prescott interception. Ultimately, the defense sealed the deal with a pick-six by Defensive Tackle Carlos Watkins.
The Cowboys gained less than their season average yards of total offense per game (416.3 YPG). This marks the third time in the last five games Dallas has failed to eclipse 400 total yards, and in two of those games, they were unable to reach 300 total yards.
It’s been a hot topic as to why the offense is struggling of late.
Is it because of offensive line woes?
Is it because Dallas was thin at wide receiver for two games?
Is it because of the COVID-19 situation?
Is it because of Kellen Moore’s play-calling?
There probably is a little blame in each of them, but at some point, the quarterback that was just awarded a massive contract needs to take more responsibility. Dak doesn’t look the same since week nine after returning from his calf injury. As a result, the offense has looked like a shell of its former self.
Dak looks slower in reading the field. He made a few pre-determined reads on Thursday against the Saints. He is very reluctant to use his legs to make a play. It looks like he is missing simple passes; we are used to seeing him complete with his eyes closed. Combine this with a highly inconsistent run game, and the Cowboys are getting abysmal results.
The Cowboys are 21 for 68 (30.8%) on third down since and 3/8 (37.5%) on fourth down since week nine. The third-down numbers indicate the Cowboys are not sustaining drives.
Since week nine, Prescott, per rbsdm.com, ranks 19th in EPA+CPOE compared to ranking 7th in that category when the offense was rolling in weeks 1-6. Dak has been ranked 24th in success rate percentage at 42.4% since week 9. He was ranked second with a success rate of 55.7% from weeks one to six.
When your quarterback isn’t playing well, it’s hard for an offense to play well consistently. Combined with Tyron Smith being out for much of November, Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb missing time, and a hobbled and ineffective Zeke, it’s not a surprise that the Cowboys’ offense has been struggling.
The Cowboys look to get healthy during this mini-bye week with ten days off and right the ship with some NFC East contests looming in their future.