The Dallas Cowboys shutout loss at the Indianapolis Colts was historic for all the wrong reasons, the first time this team's been blanked on the scoreboard since 2003 and a deflating end to a five game winning streak. The inability for the Cowboys to score culminated with Running Back Ezekiel Elliott carrying the ball just 18 times for 87 yards.
The Cowboys have won only two games this year when Elliott has less than 20 carries, though he was much more of a receiving threat in both outcomes over the Giants at home and Eagles on the road. Against the Colts, Elliott did catch seven passes, none of which went for a score of course - coupled with his fourth down stuff from the three yard line to negate an early Cowboys scoring attempt.
The impetus on the Cowboys scoring a point in their first of three chances at locking up the NFC East hardly falls on Elliott, but this doesn't make a statistic posted by his mother on Twitter any less amazing.
Ezekiel has been playing football since 2002 (ever since he was 7). It just occurred to me that Sunday was the first game, in his entire career, that the team he's played on didn't score.
The closest the Cowboys came to scoring on Sunday (blocked Brett Maher field goal attempt aside) at the Colts was the play before Elliott was tackled for a loss on fourth down. Fullback Jamize Olawale dropped a walk-in touchdown on a well designed play, putting the play in the books as nothing more than another that Elliott nor his Quarterback Dak Prescott could control.
The duo of Prescott and Elliott had accounted for a touchdown in all of their games together in Dallas, and you have to go back to September of 2015 to find the last collegiate game Elliott didn't score in. The third week of his final season at Ohio State, Elliott's Buckeyes managed to win 20-13 over Northern Illinois behind his 108 yards on 23 attempts.
Elliott not partaking in a shutout at any point in his football career before week 15 of his third professional season shows how maddening the Cowboys ebbs and flows on this side of the ball are. With Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan calling the plays, the Cowboys toe the line of overusing Elliott and forgetting about him at a rate that's already added pressure to their chance at winning the NFC East.
Linehan has fairly had to shoulder much of the blame for the Cowboys abysmal performance against Matt Eberflus' Colts defense, my own take on the matter summed up here:
"The talk of the league outside of "what happened to Dallas?" this week seems to be a much more global "what is going to happen in the NFC playoffs"? The Cowboys, Linehan included, would love to have something to say about both questions, yet have more than a large enough sample size of inept offense to see how things could go horribly wrong." - Matt Eberflus Exposed Cowboys Biggest Weakness for Playoff Run (12/19).
"OC responsible for keeping an Ezekiel Elliott offense scoreless for the first time ever," is hardly the latest revision Linehan wants to make to his resume considering the uncertainty of his job status at points earlier this season. Even listing such an "accomplishment" alongside another playoff appearance should have the Cowboys searching for an upgrade at Linehan's position this offseason.
The good news for the Cowboys is that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers come to town this weekend, their last place red zone scoring defense a potential remedy for whatever it was that happened at Indianapolis. Elliott has faced the Bucs once in his career, ripping off a career-high 159 yards and - yes, a touchdown.
The Cowboys path back to proving their most recent loss is an anomaly that won't slow their drive towards the postseason feels simple. Having total confidence in the Cowboys offense after last week would be reckless, but so too is expecting Ezekiel Elliott to do anything less than assure Dallas himself they won't be shutout again while restarting this personal streak.
Add in a potential return from Right Guard Zack Martin and Left Guard Xavier Su'a-Filo against Tampa Bay, and the time is now for the Cowboys to lock up the division with a week to spare behind a hungrier-than-ever Elliott.
BREAKING: Cowboys Sign Ex-Packers WR Randall Cobb
According to multiple sources, the Dallas Cowboys have signed former Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver Randall Cobb to a one-year deal to help bolster their depth at the WR position and potentially become Cole Beasley's replacement.
Cowboys are giving former Packers' WR Randall Cobb a one-year, $5 million deal, per source. https://t.co/8KWFPjSP8T
The Dallas Cowboys met with Randall Cobb earlier this week, but he eventually left Dallas without a contract. He must've had a change of heart or just needed time to ponder the Cowboys offer, but regardless of what transpired in that short time he is now part of America's Team.
During his time with the Packers, Cobb accumulated 470 receptions for 5,524 receiving yards and 41 touchdowns. The eight-year veteran will now be expected to replace some of Cole Beasley's production out of the slot for the Dallas Cowboys.
After years of watching Beasley as the Cowboys slot WR, it will be really interesting to see Randall Cobb in that role. He's not as quick twitched as No. 11, but can be just as dangerous due to his ability to be more of a down the field receiver. He also brings added value in the return game and could compete with Tavon Austin to become the return specialist.
This could mean the Cowboys forgo drafting a wide receiver early in the 2019 NFL Draft, but I wouldn't put it past them. Regardless of what happens, this is an excellent addition.
Welcome to Cowboys Nation Randall Cobb!
REPORT: Dallas Cowboys Re-sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur
L.P. Ladouceur is returning for his 15th season as the Cowboys' long snapper. The veteran free agent was re-signed by Dalals today to a one-year deal.
Thanks to Jason Witten's one-year sabbatical with Monday Night Football, Ladouceur has now been with the Cowboys for more consecutive seasons than any current player. He just turned 38 last week, but Louis-Philippe remains one of the top long snappers in football.
The Cowboys have signed long-snapper L.P. Ladouceur to a one-year deal worth $1.03 million and $90,000 in bonus money, but he will count $735,000 against the cap. This will be Ladouceur's 15th season with the Cowboys, tying Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Mark... https://t.co/2iDsi6RX7e
Retaining Ladouceur is an underrated move for the Cowboys given their situation at kicker.
Brett Maher was only 80% accurate overall on field goals last year. The team could be considering an upgrade in free agency.
Whether they bring Maher back or try someone new, having a long snapper with Ladouceur's performance perfection will make things much easier for them.
REPORT: Police Detain Cowboys DL Tyrone Crawford After Bar Fight
According to TMZ, Tyrone Crawford was involved in a brawl at a bar in Panama City, FL last Friday night. The Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman and team captain was detained by police but apparently was not arrested.
The level of Crawford's involvement has not been substantiated, but TMZ's report does have him shoving police officers at some point in the action. The incident was reportedly captured by surveillance equipment at the bar.
Given that he was not arrested, one could assume that Tyrone was not one of the primary players in the melee. But that doesn't mean the NFL won't still review this matter as it relates to the personal conduct policy, and Cowboys fans know too well how "fair" that process can be.
This is certainly not a story you'd expect to see attached to Tyrone Crawford, who has been a model citizen and leader since entering the league in 2012.
Dallas elected to keep Crawford this season despite solid potential savings. He will count $10.1 million against their 2019 salary cap, which is high for his average production. However, he can play multiple positions and is one of their most experienced players.
Even if Tyrone were to get suspended by the league, it likely wouldn't be more than a one or two-game ban given his record and reputation. It shouldn't change anything about his status with the team.
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