The Dallas Cowboys have had an intense week to say the least, and they have now played two full games since last Sunday.
Things started off rather promising for Dallas against the Washington Football Team but eventually fizzled out. The Cowboys have now been swept by the WFT for the first time since 2012, incidentally the Houston Texans visited the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving before Washington beat down Dallas then as well.
So much promise was born out of the win in Minnesota. It has all seemed to fizzle out now. While the Cowboys were the ultimate losers in this game we have come up with a few of our own and winners to boot.
Here are our five winners and five losers from the humiliation.
Winner: Randy Gregory
Things started off rather well for the Cowboys pass rusher when he got a sack on Washington quarterback Alex Smith early in the game. Gregory would re-visit Smith and put together the first multiple sack game of his career.
We have known for a long time that Gregory has a ton of talent, he simply hasn’t been on the field to demonstrate it. His growth and development is one of the brighter spots of this season.
Winner: Hunter Niswander
The Cowboys have held on for far too long to punter Chris Jones, but boy can Hunter Niswander boot that thing.
Niswander had two punts on the day and one of them ultimately went 58 yards. This isn’t to say that he is the punter of the future for the Cowboys, but it does indicate that finding one who can do the job to a serviceable degree does not seem to be difficult.
Winner: Tony Pollard
It appears as if Tony Pollard has been working on his blocking game. Goodness gracious.
It’s actually difficult to isolate the best block of the day from Pollard, but he played a huge role in freeing up Andy Dalton for the 54-yard touchdown pass to Amari Cooper. This is a great sign of his development.
Play Tony Pollard more, please.
Winner: Donovan Wilson
There is no question that Donovan Wilson is one of the hardest hitters to play for the Cowboys in some time. Even his mild interactions are explosive.
Sometimes we have seen players have standout games like Wilson did in Minnesota and fade the following week. While Donovan didn’t have a performance that lights up the box score he was an ever-present force on defense in this game (and a rare one at that).
Winner: Team Tank
The Dallas Cowboys lost. They are 3-8. Their odds of having a top choice in the 2021 NFL Draft seem better than ever.
There are those that have planted themselves firmly on Team Tank and while the win against the Minnesota Vikings may have tugged at the emotions of them, it does appear that tanking is going to happen one way or the other as this team is not very good at the moment.
A high draft pick seems inevitable. That is a good thing, but the process is painful.
Loser: Ezekiel Elliott
What are we supposed to say at this point?
The fumbles are a huge issue, and there aren’t any aspects of Zeke’s game that are balancing out the moments that he is putting the ball on the turf. Ezekiel Elliott has had a struggle of a season (Jerry Jones saying he viewed Zeke as the best player on the team didn’t help matters) and he had another forgettable performance in a must-win game.
Loser: CeeDee Lamb
Jaylon Smith did a great job of generating a turnover and giving the Dallas Cowboys the ball in scoring position. He took it down the Washington four-yard line.
But then the Dallas Cowboys happened. Over the course of three plays the Cowboys managed to actually lose six yards. Only one of these plays was a pass and it came on third down. Andy Dalton found CeeDee Lamb in the endzone and the rookie couldn’t hold on.
These are catches that CeeDee Lamb simply has to make. A touchdown would have tied the game at 20 and potentially changed a lot of what wound up happening.
Loser: Mike McCarthy
There has been legitimate reason for faith in Mike McCarthy to grow over the last month. The Cowboys were competitive in Philadelphia despite the Ben DiNucci factor, they almost took down the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers, and they did vanquish the Minnesota Vikings.
A lot of that was seemingly undone in this game. While it should absolutely be said that the Cowboys had an intensely emotional and difficult week, they looked like a football team void of organization or direction. What’s more is that their head coach Mike McCarthy defended decisions that had no rhyme or reason like the fake punt that the team called late in the game.
The buck ultimately stops with McCarthy and he did not appear to have his squad ready for this game. They were outmatched in a lot of capacities and appeared quite desperate in different moments.
Loser: Kellen Moore
We certainly can’t escape discussing coaching without talking about the team’s offensive coordinator. This was one of the poorer performances that we have seen from Kellen Moore the play-caller.
What was the deal on the first fourth down that the team went for? Why did they run right up the middle and try that trick play after the Jaylon interception? Forgive the cliché, but it seemed so much like Moore was trying to get way too cute.
The Cowboys defense was getting gashed by paper cuts over and over from Washington. Offensively the team needed to do their part to lift the entire group. It felt like the offense was playing with house money when really this group is already in the hole.
Loser: Staying Healthy
The Cowboys lost the two tackles that they started this game with… on the first possession of the game. It was unfortunate.
Cam Erving and Zack Martin’s injuries likely set off alarms that the team could be in for a long day of sorts, and if that was the case then they were right. While the Cowboys were able to have a game void of disaster last Sunday in Minnesota, such was not the case on Thanksgiving afternoon as they appeared to be snake-bitten once again.
Given the uncertainty surrounding the Baltimore Ravens at the moment it is hard to know when the next game for the Dallas Cowboys will be. What is known is that they need time to get healthy in a lot of ways. Badly.