It was bound to happen right. Whether it was by missing the playoffs, losing in wildcard game, or beyond. The Cowboys season was eventually going to end. Several people are optimistic about this season, and I personally for one feel the team overachieved. It was filled with everything you would want in an entertaining year. Let’s take a look at the overall year from the offseason to the loss against the Rams.
Boy was this time filled with drama. Dez Bryant was cut and Jason Witten retired. The emotion surrounding both was high and it did bring the Cowboys into the spotlight before the season even began. On top of this the team lost Travis Frederick early and were unsure if he would continue to have an NFL career as a player. The addition of some talented but not heralded receivers seemed to be sufficient, as did a tight end by committee approach. Dallas also did add a stud defensive coordinator in Kris Richard. During the NFL draft, the Cowboys selected the widely unpopular Leighton Vander Esch. Many fans wanted the team to draft Calvin Ridley and not many expected to get much from the rookie linebacker.
The Cowboys started off the season with a tough loss against the Carolina Panthers. This was followed by an up and down performance all the way to the bye week. Going into the bye week, Dallas was 3-4 without much direction on how or what type of the team they were going to be. Prescott was struggling and the team just couldn’t find itself a true receiver or tight end that could change the game. Plus the coaching was under heavy scrutiny. A couple of big wins were encouraging, especially the win against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Dallas blew them out with a big time 40-7 victory. During the bye week though the Cowboys shocked many with a big trade. Amari Cooper was acquired by the Cowboys for a 2019 first round pick. Although controversial at the time (and still to be graded fairly), Dallas decided this was the right way to get a #1 receiver for their struggling quarterback.
Well, after the bye week the Cowboys dropped a dud against the Tennessee Titans. This brought the team down to a 3-5 record, and basically had them left for dead. Even greats like Troy Aikman were questioning what was going on with the team. With a big showdown against the Super Bowl champs, Dallas put together a huge victory winning 27-20. This started a big time win streak for the team and they finished the year beating some decent opponents. All this while Elliott, Cooper, and Prescott showed better on the field chemistry. Dallas did win their 2nd division title in 3 years.
Heading into the post season the Cowboys only lost 2 games after they bye week going 7-2. In the playoffs the division champs faced off against a Seattle Seahawks team that beat them by a 24-13 score in week 3 of the regular season. A big difference in the playoff game and this matchup was the fact that Earl Thomas did not play. Dallas shut down the Seahawks running game winning by a score of 22-20. Up next the Cowboys were going to try and win against the Los Angeles Rams. LA had struggled as of late and was down early to the Cowboys but stifled Ezekiel Elliott, and ran all over the young Cowboys defense. Dallas failed to reach the NFC Championship as they lost to the Rams 30-22.
- Trading for Amari Cooper was huge for the Cowboys. He really did make a huge difference in the passing game and you could see the chemistry being built with Prescott.
- Ezekiel Elliott won the rushing title for the second time in 3 years.
- Jason Garrett and his coaching staff received the honor of coaching the NFC for the Pro Bowl.
- Dallas is sending 5 total Pro Bowlers to Hawaii.
- The Cowboys made the playoffs for the second time three seasons, and have had a winning record for three straight seasons now.