Cowboys’ second half disappearing act proves costly in loss

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 17: Quarterback Dak Prescott
DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 17: Quarterback Dak Prescott /

After an unstoppable first thirty minutes, the Dallas Cowboys stalled in the second half. It turned a very winnable game into an inexplicable loss.

The one big takeaway I have from yesterday is that we’re not used to seeing this from this team. With 1:51 left in the second quarter, the Dallas Cowboys had charged out to a 24-13 lead. Furthermore, the offense looked like the unit that took the league by storm last season. Surely they’d be able to put the clamps on this one in the second half, right?

It didn’t turn out that way. The Rams kept started pecking away with a late first half field goal. And while the Dallas defense admirably employed the old “bend but don’t break” philosophy, they couldn’t generate much resistance in a second half where Los Angeles slowly reeled them in.

Additionally, we got a glimpse at what life without linebacker Sean Lee is like. Frankly, it’s terrifying. The Ram offense, while not exactly efficient, chewed up the field and kept scoring points. The Dallas offense stalled completely after that tremendous first half. Over the course of the last 31:51 of game time, Los Angeles went on a 22-6 run to win a critical game on the road.

As far as the defense is concerned, we probably should have seen this coming. While the Dallas secondary was hardly filled with world beaters last year, they were proven veterans with experience. Now it’s an injured and very inexperienced unit going through a lot of on-the-job training. The ballyhooed pass rush was almost non-existent, as was the run defense. It added up to a woeful second half.

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I am not letting the offense off the hook,either. They can’t vanish from games like they did in the second half. It is especially critical to keep scoring points while the aforementioned defense goes through their maturation. In other words, a six point half won’t win you many games. While we’re at it, quarterback Dak Prescott needs to find a larger measure of accuracy. This team is centered around their rushing attack,  but the fortunes of this team rest on Prescott’s right arm. He’s pretty erratic right now. Sure, his receivers don’t always help him out, but there are still too many errant passes.

This isn’t to say the world is ending completely–yet. There are positives. Namely, the offense put up thirty points, which is the high water mark of the young season. For the first time since last year, the offense resembled their old dominant tendencies. It goes without saying, but a consistent effort for the whole game probably produces a win yesterday. They don’t look lost, just inconsistent.

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But we’re not in the business of searching for moral victories and silver linings here. We’ve been told this team is a Super Bowl contender. Right now, they are what their record says they are: mediocre. Moreover, the schedule doesn’t get any easier. They need to get their act together before a season brimming with promise starts spinning away from them.