The Cowboys failed to take advantage of the Packers and Rams losing to make a move in the NFC Conference race for the number one overall seed, with a lackluster performance of their own resulting in a 30-16 dismantling at the hands of the Denver Broncos.
The defense couldn’t stop the Broncos’ run game, giving up 181 yards on the ground and allowing Denver to manhandle the time of possession en route to an easy win. The offense — led by the return of Dak Prescott — couldn’t get anything going all day, as they looked like a shadow of their normal selves.
The one glaring difference on Sunday for the offense was there was no Tyron Smith at left tackle due to an ankle issue. Terence Steele switched over from his normal right tackle position to fill in for Smith.
It did not go smoothly for him, to say the least.
Terence Steele gave up 11 pressures and nine hurries on the day, according to PFF. He allowed Jonathan Cooper, the Broncos outside linebacker to earn five pressures on 35 pass rushes (14.3%) and two sacks on the day, according to Next Gen Stats.
One of the sacks was crucial in ending a potential Cowboys scoring drive. On second down right before halftime with the Cowboys driving, Steele gave up an 11-yard sack before the two-minute warning, effectively ending the drive and leaving the Cowboys without much-needed points before halftime.
After the game Steele was asked about his first start at left tackle, he responded by saying it was “a little harder than I thought it would be” and “they have a good defense, good D ends, giving me a challenge.”
Steele also added, “whatever they ask me, I’m going to give my best, work my butt off and be the best Cowboys O-lineman I can be.”
This was a learning moment for the young tackle. Steele’s inability to hold his weight at left tackle contributed to the fact Dak was running for his life all day, and Dak’s pocket awareness and ability to avoid the rush helped what could have been an even worse statistical day for Steele. The Cowboys also held the ball for only 18 minutes and 48 seconds on Sunday, another telling statistic on how out of sync the offense was, and symptomatic of the poor play by Steele and the entire offensive line.
Going forward, the Cowboys will need to figure something out if Smith does miss more time.
When Jerry Jones was asked about Smith and his ability to play going forward, he stated “we’ll see. That is one that we’ll continue to take a look at. He’ll be dictated by the amount of, frankly, pain that he can withstand there, and there is not a lot you can do than rest it and try it.”
Not a very promising quote. This tends to make me believe Smith may again be inactive this upcoming Sunday against the Falcons, and his injury will be a lingering issue all season.
The only logical decision would be to move La’el Collins to left tackle and return Steele to his rightful place at right tackle. Collins played left tackle at LSU and has the athletic ability to play LT in the NFL. Even the offensive line god himself thinks Collins would be a more appropriate selection at left tackle.
Duke Manyweather on Twitter: “I’d play LC at LT if Smitty can’t go! https://t.co/mhVKmTitY2 / Twitter”
I’d play LC at LT if Smitty can’t go! https://t.co/mhVKmTitY2
It will be a waiting game to see if Tyron Smith will be active this week, and what corresponding moves Mike McCarthy will make at the tackle positions, but if the offensive line remains the same all eyes will be on Steele.