The Cowboys have plenty of room for improvement after a Week 1 loss
The Cowboys have some work to do as they were defeated by the Carolina Panthers 16-8 in Week 1. It was a sloppy game as there were 19 penalties called, 10 of which went against Dallas for 85 yards. Although the penalties were not the reason Dallas lost the game. The Cowboys struggled to move the ball and sustain drives.
They only converted on 3rd Down twice in 11 tries. Dallas did not even run a play in Panther territory until there was under 7 minutes left in the 3rd Quarter. The defense did a good job holding the Panthers to only 16 points but the offense could not give them any help.
The offense left much to be desired Sunday afternoon
The effects of having an unproven wide receiver corps was clearly visible on Sunday. The Cowboys’ receivers struggled to gain any separation against the Panther secondary. Cole Beasley was the only receiver to get open consistently as he caught 7 passes for 73 yards. No other Cowboys receiver managed to catch more than 3 passes. The longest completed pass was 20 yards. Even when Dak Prescott was scrambling, the Dallas receivers could not get into open space to make themselves available.
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The result of the receivers not being able to stretch the field was Carolina loading the box to stop the run. This obviously made it difficult for Ezekiel Elliott to find room to run. The Panthers front seven dominated the game as they held Elliott to 4.6 yards per carry and got constant pressure on Prescott. Since the Cowboys were trailing the entire game, Elliott only received 15 carries. Even so, his 4th quarter touchdown run ensured Dallas would not be shut out.
Dak Prescott’s struggles in this game were not entirely his fault. He was sacked six times and his receivers often did not give him anywhere to throw the ball. However, he does share some of the blame for the loss. He had accuracy problems throughout the game as he was under-throwing his receivers. Although, aside from a hopeless strip sack on 4th down, Prescott did take care of the ball and not turn it over.
The Dallas Defense showed its potential for this season
Despite some mistakes, the Dallas Defense played exceptionally well and showed off its potential for this season. The Cowboys Secondary did a tremendous job stopping the Panthers passing game.
They held Cam Newton to only 161 passing yards. The defensive line of the Cowboys looks to be improved as they got consistent pressure on Cam Newton. DeMarcus Lawrence looks like he’s ready to pick up where he left off last season as he was wrecking havoc in the backfield on almost every play.
Even though the Dallas defense racked up 3 sacks, they could not contain Cam. Along with the linebackers, there were multiple points throughout the game where the Panthers would run a read-option and no one would contain the quarterback. Simply put, the run defense was not up to par as Carolina ran all over the Cowboys for 147 yards.
Looking ahead to Week 2
The division is not won Week 1 but the Cowboys know where they need to improve as they prepare to face the New York Giants at home next week on Sunday Night Football. The Giants lost to the Jaguars 20-15 in Week 1. However, the Giants’ stars shined as Odell Beckham Jr. caught 11 passes for 111 yards. 2nd overall pick Saquon Barkley rushed 18 times for 106 yards including a 68-yard touchdown run for his first career touchdown.
Dallas will have an opportunity to win an early division matchup. Since 2007, only 10 teams have made the playoffs after starting 0-2 so a victory is crucial to a playoff run.
- Published on 09/13/2018 at 17:00 PM
- Last updated at 09/13/2018 at 12:02 PM