Dallas Cowboys Dak Prescott plays hero ball in20-17 win over Chargers
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The Dallas Cowboys emerged victorious on Monday night beating the Los Angeles Chargers by a score of 20-17. It’s nice to get the dub entering the bye, but just how satisfying was this win? There were some things to feel good about, but then others to still warrant concern. Here are some things that stood out after further review.


There are many people who don’t believe that Dak Prescott is a good quarterback. Or maybe they believe he’s okay, but he’s not a guy who can lead this team to the Super Bowl. Regardless of where you stand, Prescott played extremely well on Monday night. He didn’t look comfortable as most of the evening he was running for his life, but he remained calm and delivered some very good throws.

It’s hard to know exactly what was available to him without seeing the all-22, but often times he didn’t like his options. And despite having all the starters along the offensive line for the second straight game, the protection wasn’t very good. Prescott did what he could and pulled off some nice Romo-esque Houdini moves to get away and still find open guys down the field.

While his ability to escape and extend plays stood out, he also did a good job sitting back in the pocket when he wasn’t facing pressure. Dak showed good footwork, was decisive with the football, and repeatedly put the ball in good spots for his receivers.


We wish we had a good explanation for what’s going on with Michael Gallup. He had a couple of nice games earlier in the year against the Patriots and then the Cardinals, but he’s been a no-show in all the other ones. He’s now had two straight games with just one measly catch. Gallup’s production rivals that of last year when he “wasn’t right” coming off a knee injury. He’s fully healthy now, but he’s still struggling to be a part of this offense. And it doesn’t help when he’s dropping passes.


We all expected good things when the Cowboys finally got all five of their starting offensive linemen back in the lineup. Oddly enough, it hasn’t gone so well. In fact, it’s getting worse. The offensive line isn’t getting any push at the line of scrimmage and defenders are disengaging quickly, allowing them to get to the ball carrier. Blockers are blowing assignments and allowing runners to get free licks on the running back. It’s hard to know what exactly is going on, but right now, the Cowboys’ offensive line is mediocre at best. Here are Tony Pollard’s yards per carry totals over the last four games:

  • WEEK 3 = 5.3
  • WEEK 4 = 4.3
  • WEEK 5 = 3.6
  • WEEK 6 = 2.0

From an efficiency standpoint, Pollard has gotten worse during each of the last few weeks. And it’s not just Pollard. As a whole, the running backs are struggling since the offensive line got the band back together.

And it’s not just run blocking that is suffering. They aren’t pass-protecting well either. Tackles are getting beat around the edge, interior linemen are getting pushed back into the lap of the quarterback. Both create enough congestion to trigger Prescott to get out of dodge. The sack percentage has increased every week since the beginning of the season and Dak has been sacked more times in the last two games with all the starters than he had been in the previous four games combined.

  • WEEK 1 = 0%
  • WEEK 2 = 2.6%
  • WEEK 3 = 4.8%
  • WEEK 4 = 8.1%
  • WEEK 5 = 11.1%
  • WEEK 6 = 14.3%

Whether it’s running the ball or passing, the offensive line has been playing worse.


We don’t know how to describe it. The running game has gone away, but that doesn’t stop the offense from doing it (ranked sixth in rushing attempts). The passing game showed some light on Monday night, but it took the league’s worst pass defense for that to happen. The Cowboys offense is in disarray. In fact, they are averaging just five yards a play which is the second-worst efficiency in the last 20 years. That’s insane! You have to go all the way back to 2004 to find this offense performing worse. Even when the team lost Tony Romo or Dak Prescott for the year, they were still more efficient than what they’ve been doing this year.

Aside from play-calling, they just looked all out of sorts. They couldn’t keep the right amount of players on the field, they had to burn timeouts to prevent penalties (once for 12 men on the field and once for a delay of game), and it got so bad that Mike McCarthy stopped using motion when all the pre-snap penalties started happening. That’s troubling.

Despite the surpluses of penalties, not having the right guys on the field, and having to burn precious second-half timeouts, the most erroneous coaching decision from McCarthy came when he didn’t even try to take a shot at the end zone with eight seconds left in the first half. The guy had made up his mind that he wanted a field goal and he wasn’t about to change it.


The Cowboys pass rush was in the face of Chargers’ quarterback Justin Herbert all night and he looked frazzled. There were definitely opportunities to hit his guys for some big plays, but fortunately for the Cowboys, Herbert couldn’t connect.


There were a handful of plays from the defense that weren’t pretty. Jourdan Lewis’ effort on the Chargers first touchdown looked like he was just taking a stroll. And there were a couple of blatantly bad missed tackles here and there. While they weren’t perfect by any means, they were pretty darn spectacular at times. Balls being batted down by DeMarcus Lawrence, Osa Odighizuwa meeting the runner in the backfield as he’s taking the handoff, and DaRon Bland jumping in front of a fourth-down goal-line pass are just a few examples. The team showed good discipline, swarmed, and came through with big plays at big moments.

And when have to get a shoutout to second-year UDFA safety-turned-linebacker Markquese Bell, who had the best game of his young career on Monday night.


Was it just me or did it just feel like the Cowboys were unlucky a lot in this game? A batted ball bouncing right back to Herbert? Come on! And several times when they would make a great defensive play, they would get called for a “questionable” penalty. Even the punts went more favorably for Los Angeles. The Cowboys had a costly turnover when they muffed a punt after a collision between KaVontae Turpin, a blocker, and a Chargers player, but when a Chargers player misplays a punt, it just bounces right between his legs and they recover it.

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