Absolutely nothing went right for the Dallas Cowboys in Week 5. Aside from losing an important game against a top opponent, Dallas also suffered major injury losses, with wide receiver and punt returner KaVontae Turpin chief among them.
Turpin got rolled up on by San Francisco -- several yards out of bounds, I might add -- during their matchup close to halftime and was ultimately ruled out due to an ankle injury.
Given how dangerous (or dirty) of a play it was, there were hopes Turpin had avoided anything serious. However, the latest on the former All-Pro is he suffered a high-ankle sprain, which would affect Dallas in more ways than one.
A Major Special Teams Loss
First and foremost, Turpin showed he's one of the league's best return men with his electric performance in 2022. He provided Dallas a serious spark on special teams that it was lacking, racking up 837 total return yards between punts and kickoffs.
That kind of big-play ability from an unexpected source has the potential to change games. It can negate big punts from the opponents and set up the offense in better field position, possibly leading to points that would've been more difficult to come by.
Having a great return man isn't just about picking up extra yards, though. The worst special teams units in the league are often ones where they're relying on players with butter-like hands to field returns. These can lead to muffs, or even turnovers, as their nerves get the best of them.
We saw that play out right away on Sunday with Turpin on the bench. Both Rico Dowdle and Deuce Vaughn got called to help out in the return game, and both struggled at times to field the ball cleanly. Those kinds of mistakes could decide a win or loss if they continue.