Dallas Cowboys: This is who we must blame

Quarterback Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Quarterback Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Cowboys found a way to lose another heart-breaker when they fell to the Washington Redskins 20-17. Here’s who to blame

  1. Dallas Cowboys head coach, Jason Garrett

It’s become a broken record. Time and time again this Dallas Cowboys coaching staff turns in a failing performance – prompting the ire of Cowboys Nation. I’m someone who tries to refrain from throwing stones at play-calling and/or offering up hindsight game management critique, but this is just too heinous to ignore.

After effectively managing the clock well and driving down the field gobbling up yards and momentum, Jason Garrett and staff absolutely choked on the pressure. Consider this:

Dallas had the ball, 1st on 10 on the Washington 46. There was 52 seconds left and the Dallas Cowboys had one timeout in their pocket. They had time and momentum on their side. Only about 12-yards away from field goal range, Dallas had plenty of time to take some shots down field before settling for overtime.

Beasley would then pull in a 9-yard catch making it 2nd and less than 1 with 29 seconds on the clock. Prescott would hit Bease again for six, putting the ball on the 31 with 12 seconds and 1 timeout.

Tony Romo said from the booth what we were all thinking (all except for our beloved coaching staff): Dak could spike the ball and still have time to take a shot down field. With the timeout at his disposal, he could utilize the middle of the field because he would still be able to stop the clock with a competition – thus ensuring a field goal attempt.

Instead, Dallas opts to take zero attempts at winning, preferring a short run to center the field for their kicker.

We know what happens after that.

Being aggressive in critical situations is what winning coaches do. Pulling up and playing to not lose, is what losers do. Perhaps Garrett isn’t as secure in his job as we thought, because he sure seems to be coaching scared.

2. Starting QB, Dak Prescott

As I’ve said before, it’s impossible to accurately assess the play of a QB, the pass-catchers running routes, or the secondary in coverage, if you don’t have the All-22 coaches film to analyze. Using the TV broadcast version of the film only gives us about 25% of the picture. So with all of that said, the complete game surprisingly looked like one of Dak Prescott’s better performances this year.

The offensive line was a disaster, giving Dak pressure up the middle and on the edge on a regular basis. In the past, Dak imagined pressure or just outright ran into pressure. His pocket presence this season has been nothing short of poor. But yesterday he was great in the face of extreme pressure and he created some needed plays at important times.

Sadly there’s more to the story – Dak’s two turnovers are inexcusable and what ultimately saddle Prescott with blame this bleak Monday morning. His first fumble came on a fourth down conversion. Good call by Garrett. Poor execution from Prescott.

His second fumble which was recovered for a Washington touchdown was infinitely worse. CBS gave us the endzone view on this cluster-fudge and we got to see Michael Gallup break open- wide open – well before the pressure reached Dak. BTW: the Refs also missed a defensive holding call in the secondary on that fateful play.

If Dak had delivered the ball, we could have seen a 14-point swing on a single play. If caught in stride, I’m not sure Gallup gets caught. Instead, Dak hesitated, missed his opportunity, and gift wrapped seven points to our NFC East friends.

Mistakes (and subsequently, consequences) don’t get any bigger than this.

3. Offensive Line

As mentioned before, this offensive line played terribly. I’ll need to see the All-22 to grade individual performances but from the two times I’ve reviewed the broadcast version, it’s clear La’el Collins, Tyron Smith, Joe Looney, and Connor Williams all had major problems.

4. Hurns/Thompson

Both Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson dropped balls again on Sunday (Zeke too). I think we can all agree we’ve reached the point where we’d rather see those opportunities go to Cole Beasley and Michael Gallup. In fact, it may be time to cut Thompson loose, gain back a comp pick as a result, and give his roster spot to Noah Brown or even Lance Lenoir.

Next. Winning shouldn't save Garrett. dark

There’s a lot of blame to go around for this heart-breaker, but let’s reserve final judgment for when the All-22 comes out.

  • Published on 10/22/2018 at 12:01 PM
  • Last updated at 10/22/2018 at 12:33 PM