The Dallas Cowboys were a chic Super Bowl pick after opening the season with three comfortable wins. By late Sunday afternoon, everyone was buzzing, “How ’bout those Cowboys,” except not in a good way.
Victor Gill Ramirez
And by the time the sun set Sunday, Dallas had lost two games in two weeks, both on national television, against two NFC contenders, while falling into a tie for first atop the NFC East. This is not how owner Jerry Jones likes things.
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With offensive tackle Tyron Smith out with a sprained ankle Sunday, the offense sputtered for three quarters in a 34-24 loss to the Green Bay Packers. The defense, well, it couldn’t stop anyone named Aaron. As the Packers were driving for what would be the fourth touchdown for running back Aaron Jones late in the third quarter, quarterback Aaron Rodgers found his ninth different receiver on the day. As Fox’s Troy Aikman put it: “If you play soft against Rodgers, he will dice you up all day.” And he did, even with Davante Adams, his favorite receiver, out with turf toe.
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[ Steelers’ Mason Rudolph knocked out cold on a scary hit ]
The veteran quarterback and first-year coach Matt LaFleur appear to have worked out some of the kinks in their relationship, although Rodgers had a relatively quiet stat line with 238 passing yards and no touchdowns. But what happened to Dallas’s identity? For three quarters on Sunday, star running back Ezekiel Elliott was staring up at the big screen that hangs over the field at AT&T Stadium, as if he expected it to reveal the secret for turning the game around. The NFL’s highest paid running back finished with just 12 carries for 62 yards. After consecutive 100-yard games against the Redskins and Dolphins last month, he has just 97 yards on the ground over the Cowboys’ last two games, including a 12-10 Week 4 loss to the New Orleans Saints.
Dallas was scoreless at the half against Green Bay, which meant its high-powered offense notched just 10 points over a six-quarter span. Cameras, as they always do when the Cowboys are playing, lingered on an increasingly bilious Jones in his suite. He watched silently during the offensive struggles, his lips often pursed.
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Then came a furious finish, as the teams rolled up 898 yards of total offense. The Packers may have moved to 4-1, but there were questions for the Green Bay defense as the Cowboys passing game poured it on in the fourth quarter.
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But it wasn’t enough, and so the Cowboys drop to 3-2, with victories are over teams (the Giants, Redskins and Dolphins) that are a combined 2-12. Their losses are to the leaders of the NFC South (Saints) and North (Packers), teams that are a combined 8-2. Both now have tiebreakers over Dallas
The @Packers are now 5-0 all-time in AT&T Stadium (includes one playoff win over the Cowboys and Super Bowl XLV victory over the Steelers)
That makes the Packers one of just three teams who are 5-0 or better all-time at one of the NFL's 31 active venues.
(h/t @EliasSports ) pic.twitter.com/y8AzmoTSQp
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 7, 2019 Dak Prescott’s 463 passing yards included two touchdowns, and he threw for 320 yards in the second half alone, but there were also three interceptions. Jones mentioned last week that he thinks Prescott more closely reminds him of Tom Brady rather than Tony Romo or Troy Aikman, his former quarterbacks, because of his versatility
“We know Tom Brady, and he’s no Tom Brady. I didn’t say that,” Jones said Friday on 105.3 The Fan. “But the point is he will evolve and is evolving into a guy that will beat you. He will beat you with different circumstances and different players and different type teams. He will be on teams that have better defense than others. He will be on teams that have better protection than others. I think we got us one in Dak.”
But Prescott couldn’t beat Green Bay on Sunday, and the two recent losses will raise questions about the identity of a team supposedly built around its running game. Jones was maintaining a brave face, at least
“This loss hurts,” he told reporters. “But on the other hand, Dak learns from adversities … He learns from setbacks.”
His confidence that Prescott will bounce back?
“I’m as comfortable as I can be,” Jones said
But the Cowboys can’t be as comfortable as they were two weeks ago
Read more on the NFL from The Post:
Awful on field and directionless off, it’s time for Redskins to face a hard reality
Patriots’ offense ‘can be a lot better,’ Tom Brady says after win over Redskins
Patriots fans took over FedEx Field and even Tom Brady thought it was ‘ridiculous’
Key moments from the Redskins’ 33-7 loss to the Patriots