Cooled off all that Super Bowl talk

One dangerous loss is an aberration. Two of them mark the beginning of a sample. Now the Cowboys have suffered three ugly defeats in 4 video games, and so we should declare the final month a full-blown pattern—a pointy downward one that ought to make us press pause on declaring this staff a critical contender.

To be clear, nobody was off base (me included) labeling the Cowboys as such by means of the season’s first 9 video games. The offense was deadly, the protection opportunistic, and the play calling sharp. Even Mike McCarthy’s teaching, gameday warts and all, has instilled a measure of resilience in Dallas that had been sorely missing throughout the Jason Garrett period. That’s all nonetheless true, particularly after they return a few of the key contributors who’ve been absent in these final two losses.

But three losses in 4 video games shift the Cowboys away from the advantage of the doubt and towards the burden of proof. We have to see all of these parts working in live performance as soon as once more to belief that the true Cowboys are the bunch we’ve seen on their greatest days this yr, not the one which hasn’t sniffed a lead of their final 9 quarters of soccer. We have to see the protection that was such a pleasing shock within the first two months, not the one which Las Vegas dissected for 509 whole yards of offense and 9 performs of 20 or extra yards regardless of dropping star tight finish Darren Waller, their greatest cross catcher, within the first half. We have to see consistency on particular groups, not one sensible kick return landing by Tony Pollard—the Cowboys’ first on Thanksgiving since 1971—amidst extra unreliability from Gregory the Legory (nonetheless making it A Thing) and a few end-game embarrassment by C.J. Goodwin, usually the ace of the unit.

We have to get some readability on regardless of the hell is happening with the offensive line, which noticed Tyron Smith return to the lineup and shift Terence Steele over to proper sort out, thus benching La’el Collins (presumably for an terrible sport towards Kansas City) whereas holding Connor McGovern within the beginning lineup at left guard (despite the fact that he additionally appeared questionable versus the Chiefs) however then rotating within the deposed Collins and Connor Williams for a sequence, solely to then shift them again out and keep on with the unique beginning lineup—and, sure, it’s as tiring for me to kind as it’s so that you can make sense of. And we have to know if the Cowboys are nonetheless within the takeaway enterprise. After recording a +8 turnover margin of their first 4 video games, they’re now -3 during the last 5.

In sum, we have to see lots. Some parts have begun to right themselves, none greater than the passing sport, which sizzled within the fourth quarter because of Dak Prescott and Michael Gallup, each of whom appeared borderline nameless within the first three. Improved well being will go a good distance, too. Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb every stand an opportunity of being again within the lineup subsequent Thursday at New Orleans, and Randy Gregory and DeMarcus Lawrence aren’t far off, both.

Dallas can proper the ship in all of those areas. There is a giant distinction between demonstrating one thing they haven’t proved able to versus getting again to doing what they know how you can. Even within the interim, they’re not a foul staff, nor one which must be sweating making the playoffs. They nonetheless lead Philadelphia within the division, and even when that slips, they’re within the driver’s seat to nab a wild-card berth. It would take much more failure for all of that to fade.

They’re simply at the moment a methods from nice. And it’s on them to indicate us in any other case.

The World’s Cutest Baby Was Back In Town

If you watched Hard Knocks — effectively, initially, I’m sorry. It was largely a waste of time. I say “mostly” as a result of there have been redeeming moments, the majority of which got here any time Aaiden Diggs, son of Cowboys cornerback Trevon, graced the display screen. Lest you overlook, the child is cute:

Well, excellent news, gang: Aaiden’s again to unfold some vacation cheer. He works in some strong shade—“Today, I want to give thanks to all the quarterbacks that throw my dad the football. You are all greatly appreciated!”—however the entire 58 seconds are simply pleasant. Certainly extra pleasant than something we noticed from this officiating crew.

Once again got burned by DeSean Jackson

The world is an everchanging, more and more scary place. Maybe that explains why I felt a perverse shred of consolation watching a particularly dusty DeSean Jackson shred the Cowboys’ secondary for what felt just like the 382nd time:

Jackson has spent the majority of his 14-year NFL profession within the NFC East as an Eagle or a member of the Washington Football Team, which implies Dallas is effectively versed in getting toasted by one of many quickest receivers of the millennium. Just how versed?

OK, however these are only a handful of admittedly somewhat massive moments, and moments don’t a profession make. Right?

Oh. That doesn’t embody the penalty calls drawn, both, reminiscent of the 2 defensive cross interference penalties he earned on this one.

Yesterday marked the third totally different decade Jackson has scored a landing on Dallas. He’s loved a hell of a profession, however the 34-year-old is usually a shadow of himself at this level, totaling simply 31 receptions over the previous three years heading into at this time and already on his second staff of this NFL season after the Rams launched him earlier within the month. I’m certain that received’t forestall him from discovering the tip zone towards the Cowboys someday in 2032.

The Greatest Play Of The Game Didn’t Matter In The Slightest

If the neatest soccer play of the Cowboys’ season will get nullified on account of officiating and thus didn’t exist, did it ever actually occur? I’m going to make an government resolution and rule that Keanu Neal’s huge help in a would-be fumble restoration—it was in the end dominated an incomplete cross—did as a result of Neal’s on-the-fly considering deserves to be celebrated:

Roberto labeled it the soccer equal of Derek Jeter’s well-known flip to dwelling plate, which feels about proper—if not in follow, then undoubtedly in spirit.

The Raiders gashed Dallas’ protection up and down the sector, and Neal was a part of the issue, lacking at the very least three tackles on the day. It feels applicable, then, that the Cowboys’ greatest second on that aspect of the ball was a play that technically didn’t exist. But that doesn’t imply it must be erased from reminiscence, both.

Skip Bayless reduced to this

Laundry picked up

It could be disingenuous to hold each little bit of the Cowboys’ absurd penalty yardage on them given the way in which Shawn Hochuli and his officiating crew commandeered this sport. Overtime or no, one thing has gone horribly, horribly improper when one sport options 28 flags for 276 yards. According to Pro Football Talk’s Michael David Smith, it’s a must to return to 2003 for the final time two groups every accrued at the very least 14 penalties and 100 receiving yards. So if you wish to quibble with a number of calls that went towards Dallas—this supposed roughing the passer name towards Micah Parsons was particularly egregious—effectively, I received’t cease you.

But Dallas additionally entered this sport averaging a league-leading 7.7 penalties per sport. They almost doubled that Thursday, racking up 14 of them for a franchise-record 166 penalty yards. It is hardly mutually unique, in different phrases, to label this sport a complete ref present and likewise level out that this can be a main hurdle for Dallas to beat.

There’s no clear strategy to partition the blame, both. Some of it falls on McCarthy as a result of to at least one diploma or one other, self-discipline all the time falls on the pinnacle coach. That’s how soccer works. But is McCarthy chargeable for Goodwin’s getting popped for back-to-back impartial zone infractions previous to Las Vegas’ game-winning area purpose, or is that extra on particular groups coach John Fassel? How about Anthony Brown racking up a mind-melting 4 defensive cross interference calls, each one among them on third downs? I’d submit extra of these are an indictment of Brown’s play—on this case, lack thereof—than something pertaining to Dallas’ tradition or psychological toughness.

No quantity of litigation—both of at this time’s infractions or the season’s—adjustments the bigger calculus: they maintain occurring as a result of issues aren’t getting performed appropriately, and when sufficient issues don’t get performed appropriately, groups lose soccer video games. No, the Cowboys aren’t wholesome, and, sure, having their greatest gamers on the sector would go a good distance towards making this kind of factor matter much less. Talent typically compensates for errors.

But the margins slender the deeper we get into the season. And given all of the issues we have to see them type out, the Cowboys can’t be beating themselves on high of that, too. Right now, their opponents have a straightforward sufficient time doing that with out their assist.

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