Dallas Cowboys Learn Valuable Lessons in Loss to New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - SEPTEMBER 29: Chauncey Gardner-Johnson #22 of the New Orleans Saints reacts after breaks up a pass intended for Amari Cooper #19 of the Dallas Cowboys during the second half of a game at the Mercedes Benz Superdome on September 29, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - SEPTEMBER 29: Chauncey Gardner-Johnson #22 of the New Orleans Saints reacts after breaks up a pass intended for Amari Cooper #19 of the Dallas Cowboys during the second half of a game at the Mercedes Benz Superdome on September 29, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

After squandering several opportunities on Superdome soil, it’s now the Dallas Cowboys who must look in the mirror.

It’s no secret that losing stings.

Players, coaches, and fans alike each have their own remedies for regrouping, and after starting the season 3-0, it’s now the Dallas Cowboys turn to lick their Sunday night wounds for the first time in 2019. A heartbreaking 12-10 defeat at the hands of the Teddy Bridgewater-led New Orléans Saints are our first culprits, and they’re sure to not be our last.

The time is now for Dak Prescott and the entire Cowboys offense to grow from their mistakes, and in watching the game, you don’t have to dig too far to find them.

In a game that was offensively sluggish for both sides, the Cowboys night was defined by missed opportunities, untimely turnovers, and questionable strategy. Giving the ball away twice in key situations (three times if you count a last second interception on a Hail Mary) significantly stymied the Cowboys offensive rhythm, while squandered opportunities such as Dak Prescott just overthrowing Randall Cobb in the end zone proved too much to recover from.

It’s impossible to blame anyone in particular for Sunday night’s loss; there seemed to be an amalgamation of fault to go around:

  • Although the defense in large played fantastic, especially in the clutch, allowing the Saints to convert on 43% (6/14) of their 3rd downs proved costly in the time of possession battle.
  • The interior offensive line had a rough night, as Saints DTs Malcom Brown and David Onyemata seemed to clog running lanes at will, combining for 3 TFL and a sack on the night. The trio of Travis Frederick, Zack Martin, and Connor Williams looked to have had issues controlling gaps, which significantly accounted for the inefficiency throughout the entire offense.
  • Amari Cooper struggled mightily to separate from Saints CB Marshon Lattimore all game long despite a respectable 5-48 line in the box score. There were quite a few times where Dak Prescott looked to his playmaker to move the chains on 3rd down, only to be harmlessly swatted aside by the star-studded corner. Credit Marshon for his exceptional coverage throughout, but if the Cowboys want to effectively stretch the defense and score points, #19 has to be stepping up and making plays.

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  • Ezekiel Elliott combined for only 65 total yards on 24 touches, although many of his shortcomings should be pinned on Kellen Moore and the officiating crew. After Zeke converted a pivotal 4th-and-1 that kept an important two-minute drive alive, the New Orléans Saints stripped and recovered a questionable fumble to once again kill any Cowboy momentum. Upon closer review, it seemed obvious Elliot had his elbow down, however – leading many to speculate whether this was yet another blatant missed call by the league’s officiating crew. I’ll let y’all be the judge:


Another dynamic to Ezekiel’s night were some head-scratchingly familiar play calling that saw him crash headfirst into the LOS, particularly on first-downs. The New Orléans front seven looked happy to meet Zeke in the middle of the field, and weren’t asked to do much else as Kellen Moore kept dialing up these inside zones. From the outside looking in, it seemed as if the offense reverted


– back to their vanilla formula – and one could argue it prevented Zeke from having a bigger night.

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  • Jason Witten also contributed negatively towards the team’s first loss. Staring at a 3rd-and-4 from their own territory, Dak Prescott fired a beautiful ball over the middle to his security blanket, only for AJ Klein to punch it out and once again stymie the offense. Big Witt had some nice catches in this one, looking comfortable in his routes while catching all four of his targets for 50 yards, yet Sunday night will remember him more so for this ugly turnover.
    • Although Dak Prescott shouldn’t be entirely at fault for the offensive struggles, he definitely deserves to shoulder a fair chunk of the blame. #4 didn’t look bad against the Saints, as he continued a 2019 trend of making some absolute beautiful throws, but it’s his 2 miscues that proved to haunt the Dallas Cowboys most. The Boys’ first trip to the red zone saw Dak magically escape the pocket and find an open Randall Cobb for 6, only to slightly overthrow him with a ball placed just out of reach. Dallas settled for a chip shot field goal to make it a 3-3 affair, but converting there would’ve proved the difference in a 12-10 slugfest. The second errant throw Dak made on the night came in the 4th quarter at a critical 3rd-and-2 from their own 43 yard line, as he found Randall Cobb again on a wide open crossing route. This time, Dak placed the ball too far behind Cobb, causing an incompletion and forcing the Dallas Cowboys to punt. Complete the pass, and the offense heads into enemy territory with plenty of momentum and an intention to score.

    Despite all of this, The Dallas Cowboys should not be viewed as a team with even a hint of mediocrity. This 2019 roster is as talented as it’s been in years passed, and even with Tyron Smith reportedly having to miss Week 5 against the Green Bay Packers, Dallas should be able to run the ball down the throats of an abysmal front-7 who gave up 176 total rushing yards to the Eagles last Thursday and is ranked 26th in the league at stopping the run.

    But it’s in these losses that great teams take valuable lessons from. Starting Tuesday morning at practice, egos will be put aside. Gameplans will be re-evaluated and priorities will be reset. No matter how frustrating a loss, or how close you were to victory, the National Football League leaves no time for wishful thinking or reminisce.

    It’s time to manhandle the Packers.

    How First Down Runs Doomed Cowboy Offense. dark. Next

    It’s time for 4-1.

    • Published on 10/01/2019 at 12:45 PM
    • Last updated at 10/01/2019 at 08:04 AM