The Dallas Cowboys season-opening win streak ends at three games thanks to a poor offensive effort in New Orleans. Though they had the game’s only touchdown, the Cowboys still fell 12-10 in a low-scoring showdown with the Saints.
The Kellen Moore pleasure cruise ran aground tonight. Dak Prescott’s hot start to 2019 went cold with just 223 passing yards, and Ezekiel Elliott was held to an abysmal 35 yards on 18 carries.
Zeke did score a rushing touchdown, which paired with a Brett Maher field goal for Dallas’ only points tonight.
Two fumbles in the second half, one by Elliott and another by Jason Witten, were huge factors in this loss. The Witten fumble squandered a chance for Dallas to get into scoring range at midfield, and Zeke’s cost the team possession after a successful 4th-down play before halftime.
Turnovers are often costly, but what many will remember from this one was the sudden lack of explosiveness from the Cowboys offense. After weeks of praising the new Offensive Coordinator as the second coming, the enthusiasm for Moore’s work is sure to cool a bit.
Still, Dallas wraps up September with a 3-1 record and sole possession of the NFC East lead. It’s hardly a bad start to 2019, but this “first real test” for the Cowboys didn’t go well.
- Even in defeat, Robert Quinn was a star tonight. His two sacks and other pressures and backfield disruptions were catalysts for some of the Cowboys’ best moments. After making his Dallas debut last week against Miami, Quinn has been the team’s best defensive player so far this season.
- Along with Quinn, the defense as a whole did its part to keep the Saints off the scoreboard. Allowing just the four field goals should have been enough for Dallas to win; this one is all on the offense for its lack of production and the two turnovers.
- Michael Gallup’s absence is being felt in a big way. The Cowboys overcame it last week thanks to Miami’s ineptitude, but they clearly were missing something tonight on offense. Unfortunately, Gallup is likely out for at least another week or two.
- Something else missing right now is Travis Frederick’s previous All-Pro form. The starting center struggled tonight and has yet to look like his old self, which is certainly understandable after missing all of 2018. With Frederick still just 28 years old, there’s plenty of reason to hope that he’ll continue to fight his way back to former glory.
- Speaking of star offensive linemen, Tyron Smith left the game late when his ankle got rolled underneath a sacked Dak Prescott. It was the final drive so Tyron didn’t return; the actual severity remains to be heard.
- Tough night for Amari Cooper and some questionable offensive PI calls. Cooper was flagged twice for pushing off on his defender, but one was clearly an acting job by Marshon Lattimore and the other had lots of mutual contact.
- Speaking of questionable calls, Ezekiel Elliott’s fumble was arguably a bad call but it was a very narrow margin on whether he was down before the ball came loose. It was called a fumble on the field and there simply wasn’t enough evidence to overturn.
- The Cowboys will look to bounce back with a home game against the Packers next Sunday, who will be coming off extra rest after playing on Thursday night this week.