Another week brought another loss for the Dallas Cowboys, as the team faltered on the road to the Washington Football Team, 25-3.
The loss dropped the Cowboys to a paltry 2-5 record. Despite this, the Cowboys are still surprisingly (and comically) tied for the division lead in terms of wins.
Regardless, another game brings another analysis article. Well, what are you waiting for?
Surprisingly enough (not really), it is hard to find a positive note from the offense when they failed to score a touchdown and only came away with a 45-yard chipper from Greg Zuerlein in the first quarter. The team’s three points were the lowest total scored against Washington since Dec. 31, 1972, when they lost, 26-3. In case it needed to be said, Dallas never had the lead. Their injury-laden offensive line allowed a safety. Dallas rushed for only 83 yards. Their passing attack, meanwhile, only collected 59 yards through the air. Collectively, Washington outgained them in total yards close to three times over (397 vs. 142).
The news of the day from the offense, however, did not come from the production on the field (or the lack thereof), but from the injury of quarterback Andy Dalton. A hard hit by linebacker Jon Bostic on Dalton in the third quarter saw the latter leave the game with a concussion. As a result, 2020 seventh-round pick Ben DiNucci came in to take over signal-calling duties. Over the course of the game, DiNucci went 2/3 with 39 yards and two fumbles. The injuries all over the field, for any team, eventually reaches a breaking point. For Dallas, the breaking point might be the fact that without Prescott and Dalton (in addition to a weaker line that allowed six sacks in the game), they might find issues scoring consistently and effectively moving forward.
The lack of depth on the defensive side of the ball continued this week, as the front seven and secondary were unable to keep Washington’s offense off of the field. With Washington keeping control of the ball (the time of possession for Washington was 36:24 compared to 23:36 for Dallas), they were able to find more rhythm and deep-ball opportunities as the game progressed. This strategy culminated with a 52-yard connection from quarterback Kyle Allen to wide receiver Logan Thomas on the go route.
The defensive miscues, depth issues and health concerns have potentially raised the question Dallas must answer moving forward: is the chemistry ever going to be there? Sure, the injuries are hard to control or contain, and the depth was arguably a question mark even with everyone at full strength. The defensive combinations have been constantly changing, yes. Still, though, the defense looks out of sync. Blown coverages have been apparent, if not rampant. The same issues were again noticeable against Washington. The million-dollar question moving forward will be if the chemistry ever meshes, and if it does not, will defensive coordinator Mike Nolan (or possibly head coach Mike McCarthy himself) be on the hot seat? Even with the trade of defensive end Everson Griffen, the Cowboys’ defense and coaching staff will still be expected to mesh to the best of their abilities. Will it happen?
Aside from the Zuerlein 45-yarder, the special teams’ unit was again quiet in conjunction with the collective offense.
Dallas will continue their road swing with an inter-division tilt with the Philadelphia Eagles on Nov. 1 at 8:20 p.m. EST.