Since last week’s recap wasn’t posted, I’m going to combine both weeks into one. From an exciting comeback win to a demoralizing loss. This team has given us a ton to talk about.
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Going down 20-0 in the first quarter in their week 2 matchup was, to say the least, unpleasant, but Dallas came fighting back to beat the Falcons 40-39. The last second field goal and amazing onside kick recovery was epic. For most of the game, it felt as if the Cowboys were going to get plastered. Zeke, Prescott, and the Wide Receivers all came up big in the following three quarters though, outscoring Atlanta 40-19. Elliott ran for a nice 89 yards with a touchdown. Prescott outdueled Matt Ryan with an impressive 450 yard performance. He became the first quarterback in NFL history to pass for over 400 yards and run for three touchdowns. Ryan had an impressive passing day with four touchdowns in the air but it wasn’t enough for the Falcons. Rookie CeeDee Lamb recorded his first ever professional 100 yard receiving game. Cooper logged 100 yards receiving as well and Dalton Schultz showed to be a nice surprise with 9 catches for 88 yards and a touchdown. For Atlanta, they had an amazing performance from Calvin Ridley but nothing much from veteran Julio Jones who appeared to have gotten injured during the game.
In their next game against Seattle, Dallas kept pace with the Seahawks in the first quarter and almost had the game get away from them in the second. Seattle did take a 30-15 lead to start the 3rd quarter after a Cowboys mistake. But Prescott and company fought hard only to eventually lose 31-38. Elliott didn’t have a good game in this one, rushing for only 34 yards. Prescott had 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions passing while gaining 472 yards through the air. Gallup and Cedrick Wilson had huge days for the Cowboys. On the flip side, Russell Wilson threw for 315 yards and 5 touchdowns. They didn’t have much of a running game, but both D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett had huge games. The offensive line had big time problems in this one as Collins and Smith did not play for the Cowboys.
In week 2, the defense was put in a terrible position due to the offense’s miscues. Turnovers put the Cowboys in a huge hole early. As the offense settled down, the defense was able to make some adjustments and force Atlanta into enough three and outs. Although they were outplayed for most of the game, they were able to hold the Falcons to just under a 50% conversion percentage on third down.
During week 3, the Cowboys were able to register more sacks as Aldon Smith registered 3 on his own. But once again while facing an elite quarterback, Dallas failed to stop the passing attack effectively. The 5 touchdown passes by Wilson were killer because Dallas actually did a very good job against the run. Seattle converted around 38% of their 3rd down attempts, but similarly to the Atlanta game, the time of possession was not in the Cowboys favor.
Against the Falcons, the Cowboys special teams came up big for the win. With the onside kick recovery and the game winning field goal, all felt good. Unfortunately though in week 3 it kind of unraveled. Tony Pollard made a boneheaded mistake on a kick off return, and Greg “The Leg” Zuerlein missed two extra points. Given the score, if Dallas would’ve made both, and converted a 2-point conversion, they would’ve just needed a field goal to tie. Regardless, there was a lot that had to happen for that result, so leaving 2 points in reality might not have made a difference.
Dallas has a slew of players injured. Several starters have been placed on IR. The list includes: Sean Lee, LVE, Awuzie, La’el Collins, Blake Jarwin, and Cameron Erving. DeMarcus Lawrence, Tyron and Trevon Diggs are also listed. The Cowboys will need to find replacements, and no other season encompasses a next man approach in recent memory more than this one.
Dallas has major concerns in several areas. For one, the offensive line is not one of the best in the league. Tyron has been a shell of himself for a long time, and Dallas might want to start developing a succession plan. The retirement of Travis Frederick and injury to La’el Collins has hurt the front five significantly. This offense might need to use more mis-direction, screens, quarterback roll-outs, and just get down right creative to get some time for Dak and Zeke. Prescott has done well with the amount of time he’s had, but the more he gets hit, the faster he will wear down. Elliott though is a different story. His yards per game has decreased each week. He is not getting any room behind that line, and is having to fight for yardage way too early. Dallas does have an impressive group of wide receiver’s though and hopefully they can get the ball into the hands of their playmakers. But if the o-line cannot give them time then we waste the talent at that position.
DeMarcus Lawrence has not been able to get any pressure on the quarterback. The big money paid to him hasn’t panned out. Last season he registered five sacks and so far he has zero for the 2020 season. What makes things worse is that he has zero quarterback hits, and zero tackles for loss. Everson Giffen and Aldon Smith have been able to get to the quarterback, but currently, Dallas just isn’t getting pressure on the quarterback.
The linebacker group is struggling nearly just as much. Joe Thomas and Jaylon Smith look to be playing catch-up versus reading the offense. Jaylon does lead the team in tackles, but the loss of Lee and LVE is huge. Trevon Diggs has been a nice surprise as is Aldon Smith, but we need more from this group in terms of turnovers and pressure.