The Dallas Cowboys’ offense was horrendous in their Sunday opening game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, failing to get into the bottom zone in one game 19-3 lost at home. Anytime you’re averaging less than one point per quarter, there’s still plenty of room for improvement. Something that Jerry Jones’ team couldn’t let happen, actually did in Q4 when Dak Dak Prescott slams his pitch into the hand of Bucs defender Shaq Barrett with about six minutes left in regulation.
Prescott’s late-game crash added injury to the insult. His thumb wound will require surgery and keep him out for six to eight weeks. The Cowboys’ way of doing this once explosive offense is shameful. Cowboys fans booed the offense off the field at one point, following another treble and defeat. The offense never worked, and Dak completed less than 50% of his passes, throwing just 134 yards and one interception. Nothing nice to take down Dallas’ Sunday night crime.
Not all is lost though, as it is possible Prescott could return sooner from this latest injury. Fox Sports injury analyst Dr Matt Provencher described Dak’s injury as a ‘Bennett fracture’ and compared it to By Jared Goff in 2020. Later suffered a similar thumb injury and returned much quicker than expected. So Prescott may not be lost in the long run as reported, but
Dallas probably shouldn’t rush the process either.
On the other side of the ball, the defense looked pretty good. Leonard Fourette ran all over them for 127 yards (6.0 ypg), but the Boys didn’t let Brady beat them. Ultimately because of the offense’s ineptitude, the defense was on the field for long stretches, although they did a good job of keeping Tampa out of the end zone.
Where Dallas continuously shot themselves in both feet were all the offensive penalties. They were holding, and false starting like it was a clearance sale at the boot barn. Dallas led the NFL in penalties a year ago, and it looks like they’re ready to repeat in that category. Last night the Cowboys were flagged 10 times for 73 yards. Four flags were claimed by right tackle Terence Steele with three false starts and one holding call.
The running game looked decent before offensive coordinator Kellen Moore panicked and decided to go away from it. The Cowboys ran the ball 18 times for 71 yards as a team. Ezekiel Elliott rushed for the bulk of that, totaling 52 yards on 10 attempts. That wasn’t a bad output, but they’ll need much more than that now that Prescott is out for presumably two months.
If you thought the Sean Payton to Dallas rumor already ridiculous in the season, just wait until the Cowboys are 0-6 to start the season. Of them schedule not the hardest, but without Prescott, there wouldn’t be many wins in Big D with Cooper Rush backing up at the center. The Bengals will hit the city next Sunday, and after a Week 1 loss to the Steelers, Cincinnati will be ready to vent that frustration with the injured Cowboys. After Cincy, the Boys face Giants (1-0), Commander (1-0), Rams (0-1) and Eagles (1-0) in that order. The next few months will be fun for Cowboys haters.
Payton in Dallas is now a pipe dream and probably won’t happen. McCarthy may need to take this offense under control and knock Moore out in an instant. Although they were exhausted, they didn’t have to stop running the ball completely because the defense was organizing the Bucs players to score aside from a Brady touchdown pass to Mike Evans.
Even if Elliot wasn’t what he was three years ago, he could still have been an important part of this offense. Get him more involved in the passing game like he used to be. Zeke caught 77 off-court balls in a year under Jason Garrett. Every season since then, he hovers somewhere around 50 catches. So what if he doesn’t have the explosiveness he did when he first entered the league. Who do, seven years into their NFL career? Dallas needed to get creative with their lack of depth at the wide end.
Except for Dak for such a long period of time, the season in Dallas looks pretty bleak. This is Dak’s second major injury as Cowboys QB. In 2020, it’s an ankle injury in Week 5. Now, a thumb injury to start the ‘2022 campaign.
Some professionals already have Dallas falling compared to last year, but now we might be looking at a five or six winning team. Rush has been around for a while and knows the offense well, but if he leads Dallas to two wins, it will be an achievement.