Cowboys suffer ugly setback in sloppy loss to Broncos

Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

Turns out the Dallas Cowboys are human after all. There’s a lot to unpack from yesterday’s humbling 30-16 defeat at AT&T Stadium. First off, if you weren’t able to watch, the final score wasn’t indicative of how thoroughly Denver throttled Dallas. The Cowboys scored two garbage time touchdowns to make the score look far more respectable than it really was.

Next, quarterback Dak Prescott definitely looked rusty in returning from the calf injury that kept him out of last week’s game. He missed CeeDee Lamb twice on plays that would have been huge gainers if not outright touchdowns. And when he wasn’t missing open receivers, his more accurate offerings were being dropped.

The Dallas Cowboys may have been guilty of believing their own hype machine.

The offensive line was a sieve. Granted, regular left tackle Tyron Smith was out with an ankle, but fill in Terence Steele was taking on water all game long. Steele, for his part, had been moved to left tackle from his usual right tackle spot. Not to be outdone, freshly unsuspended tackle La’el Collins had his struggles as well. Either way, Prescott didn’t have many clean pockets to throw from.

The defense didn’t fare any better. If we’re being honest with ourselves, this is probably the aspect of the game that was the most troublesome. Dallas was dominated in time of possession to the tune of 41:12 to 18:48 and gave up a whopping 190 rushing yards, which was over double their season average. Denver was 8-of-15 on third downs and racked up 407 total yards.

The obvious concern here is that the book is finally out on the Dallas defense, and that is to run it right at them. One had to wonder when a team would apply this gambit. Yesterday was indeed that day. It worked to great impact for the visiting Broncos, who jumped out to an early lead and never really looked back.

On a day where the defense needed to keep the Cowboys in the game, they couldn’t. The offense looked like they really missed Tyron Smith. It’s easy to second guess, but why choose now to sub in Collins at right tackle? I get that he was the opening day starter, but he’d been out for multiple games due to suspension and wasn’t the starter last week in Minnesota when he did return. The offensive front just looked bad from the outset and could never recover.

Look, as bad as it was, the sky is far from falling. The Cowboys are still are in firm control of their own division, and can still write their own ending in terms of playoff seeding if they win the games they need to win. Plus, in the span of an NFL season, there will be games that should’ve been wins that will end up as losses. Yesterday’s game was one of those, and maybe Denver is just a bit better than we thought.

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Even during the glory days, there was always a stinker in there somewhere. Yes, the Aikman/Irvin/Smith Cowboys would wet the bed every once in a blue moon. I’m willing to chalk up the most recent rotten egg to just that: a bad game. The true test will be how the Dallas Cowboys respond to this bit of adversity, and we have no reason to fully doubt them unless they prove otherwise.

  • Published on 11/08/2021 at 12:01 PM
  • Last updated at 11/08/2021 at 11:47 AM