They say, “peaking too early” in the season is one of the worst things a playoff-bound team can do. Welp, then chalk this one up as a win, Cowboys fans. With the Dallas Cowboys almost a lock for the postseason (see also: the rest of the NFC East) and a fairly benign schedule waiting ahead, complacency was becoming Dallas’ biggest threat this year.
Luckily for us, the Dallas Cowboys avoided certain disaster by throwing-up all over themselves Sunday afternoon against the Broncos. The 30-16 beat-down ended that ominous six-game winning streak and firmly positioned the Cowboys back on track for giving-a-darn down the stretch.
If peaking too soon is a problem, the Dallas Cowboys just solved their biggest issue
At no point did it appear the Dallas Cowboys were interested in playing football. From preparation during the week, to the game-planning, to execution, to effort, it was a total loss for Dallas this week.
Getting Dak Prescott back was supposed to light a fire for this rare noon kickoff. Dak has been on ice for the past two-plus weeks and he played sure like it. For as bad as the protection was on Sunday, Dak was uncharacteristically awful all by himself. He struggled with depth, accuracy, and decision-making – things that are usually a strength.
Speaking of pass-protection: Whatever made the Dallas Cowboys think Terence Steele could be a suitable replacement for Tyron Smith, is beyond me. Steele may have earned praise for his play at RT based on run-blocking, but he was still a major liability in protection. Moving him to Dak’s blindside was clearly a doomed plan from the start.
Now paging: Jason Garrett and Chaz Green…
But enough about that. We’ll get to film review later in the week when the All-22 drops. Although I don’t think we’ll find much worthwhile to pull from it other than gauging individual effort levels.
Effort and general interest seemed to be the overall issue at hand. The spread was one of the biggest of the entire NFL season for a reason. The Dallas Cowboys weren’t exposed as some pot-stirrers have curiously suggested.
Not since the Washington Generals upset the Harlem Globetrotters on Independence Day, 1987 has the sports world felt so perplexed (ok, none of that is true). The point is: the Cowboys are fine.
As Aaron Rodgers would say: “I’m immunized.”
No, the other thing: “Reeeelllaaaaaaxxx.”
It all comes down to how the Cowboys choose to come back from this.
The idea behind “peaking too early” is that obstacles and roadblocks are easier to overcome earlier in the season than they are later in the season. The best team in the NFL in Week 8 is rarely the best team in Week 16. Seasons have ebbs and flows and great teams have the ability to turn it on when it matters the most.
To be clear, the title and intro here is more than a little tongue-in-cheek. Losing a stinker like this isn’t a good thing, no matter how you slice it. But if the Dallas Cowboys can learn from it and bounce back, then it could serve as a pivotal moment in their season. Keep in mind, Tampa Bay lost 38-3, one year ago tomorrow. It’s safe to say they effectively responded to such a dumpster fire.
Now we get to see if the Dallas Cowboys have that same character.
Don’t overreact to this. It was bad. Awful even. But it wasn’t anything more than one loss. Let’s see how they respond.