FRISCO, Texas — The justifications are there, prepared for use. The Dallas Cowboys have their backup quarterback taking part in video games. They’ve misplaced maybe their greatest star in QB Dak Prescott. They’ve a first-year coach with a first-year employees in a season during which there was no offseason program, a shortened coaching camp and no preseason video games.
As has typically been repeated, these are unprecedented instances in the course of the 2020 NFL season.
However the New York Giants (5-7) have gained 4 straight video games with new coach Joe Choose whereas operating again Saquon Barkley sits out for the season with a knee harm and Colt McCoy wins his first sport at quarterback since 2014. The Washington Football Team (5-7) has gained three straight video games with quarterback Alex Smith, who nearly misplaced his proper leg due to infections from a compound fracture in 2018, and first-year coach Ron Rivera, who has undergone treatment for cancer during the season.
The Cleveland Browns are 9-3 for the primary time since 1994. Rookie coach Kevin Stefanski is a candidate for coach of the yr, and he hasn’t had extensive receiver Odell Beckham Jr. due to a knee harm for the previous 5 video games and the Browns’ greatest pass-rusher, Myles Garrett, missed two video games due to COVID-19.
The Giants gained a sport few thought they may on the Seattle Seahawks. Washington gained a sport few thought it may by defeating the beforehand unbeaten Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Subject. The Browns throttled the Tennessee Titans in Nashville.
So, what in regards to the Cowboys?
They’ve all the excuses on the prepared, together with first-year coach Mike McCarthy didn’t have an offseason to totally implement his program. The unconventional change on protection wanted time to take maintain. And, oh, the accidents. Prescott is out for the season due to a compound fracture of his proper ankle. Left sort out Tyron Smith‘s season ended after two video games due to neck surgical procedure. Proper sort out La’el Collins didn’t play a snap due to hip surgical procedure.
With Zack Martin out for not less than the following three video games, the Cowboys have roughly $58 million of their 2020 wage cap on injured reserve.
Add within the coronavirus pandemic and the loss of life of energy and conditioning coordinator Markus Paul, and this has been a season price forgetting.
Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton places the ball in a good window to Michael Gallup for a 13-yard landing.
“As for this group,” Corridor of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman stated Tuesday evening on the Fox broadcast of his former staff, “I do not know the place it goes from right here. So many areas to be addressed.”
Talking on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas within the morning hours earlier than the 34-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Tuesday, Cowboys proprietor and common supervisor Jerry Jones stated it will be honest to check the conditions in New York, who fired offensive line coach Marc Colombo (the previous Cowboy who acquired right into a heated disagreement with Choose), and Washington to Dallas and surprise why the NFC East rivals are not less than seeing the arrow pointed up.
“I do not know the way you would line them up and make a greater, fairer comparability,” Jones stated.
However the Cowboys’ arrow is pointing down. Straight down.
The run protection allowed 294 yards on the bottom towards Baltimore, which implies Mike Nolan’s protection has given up two of the three highest speeding totals in a sport in franchise historical past. In Week 4, Stefanski’s Browns ran for 307 yards, probably the most the Cowboys have ever allowed in a sport.
The Cowboys’ offense managed 29 first downs and held on to the ball for 32 minutes, 26 seconds towards the Ravens, however scored 17 factors. The lone explosive play got here within the ultimate minute on a 28-yard Andy Dalton-to-Michael Gallup throw when the sport was over.
Greg Zuerlein missed as many kicks Tuesday as he had all season — three — and one miss got here after a delay of sport penalty that pushed a 35-yard attempt to 40 yards.
Why did not McCarthy name a timeout?
“Frankly, I assumed we have been going to snap the ball and kick the sphere aim,” he stated. “Clearly a breakdown in our operation.”
This got here after an ill-advised faux punt name on fourth-and-10 towards Washington on Thanksgiving that noticed a four-point sport balloon into a 25-point loss.
The Cowboys have allowed a league-high 393 factors this season. The Detroit Lions have allowed the second most at 358 however gained their first sport after firing coach Matt Patricia final Sunday.
Patricia had a 13-29-1 report in 43 video games with the Lions. McCarthy is now 14-25-1 in his previous 40 video games as a head coach.
The Cowboys (3-9) can say they’re within the NFC East chase as they sit two video games behind the Giants and Washington, however Washington owns the tiebreaker on Dallas as a result of it swept the Cowboys. The Cowboys finish the season Jan. 3 on the Giants.
Does anyone consider there will likely be extra to play for aside from 2021 NFL draft place?
“Frankly, we have to play higher. We have to carry out higher,” McCarthy stated. “We acquired a brief week and we have to go beat Cincinnati. The fourth quarter of the season is upon us. Our aim is to complete robust, nevertheless it positively begins with a win in Cincinnati.”