Despite a 24 point second half, the Dallas Cowboys couldn’t overcome a slow first half start in a 34-24 loss to the Green Bay Packers. Here are the four biggest takeaways from today’s loss.
1. Dak Prescott
Despite an impressive looking 463 yards passing and two touchdowns, his three interceptions put a damper on it. Sure he did his best to will the team back but his interceptions contributed to Packer points. Not only that but two of them were poor decisions on passes that shouldn’t have been thrown. He entered the game having thrown just three interceptions on the season. He left with six. Moving forward the Cowboys will need better decision making from him.
From the 11 penalties for 124 yards, the two missed field goals by kicker Brett Maher, the drops including one that led to an interception, going 1-of-3 in the red zone and the many missed tackles all were too much for the Cowboys to overcome. To beat a team like the Packers the Cowboys couldn’t afford to beat themselves and that’s exactly what happened today and while you like the fight the team showed it needs better play moving forward.
While the numbers look good in the grand scheme of things allowing 335 yards, holding quarterback Aaron Rodgers to 238 yards and no touchdowns along with posting a respectable 3-of-12 on third downs it was the inability to get off the field that hurt the unit today. The Packers won the time of possession battle 36:43 to 23:17 and rolled up 24 first downs. On top of that the missed tackles in the run game really hurt as Packers running back Aaron Jones finished with 107 yards and four touchdowns on 19 carries good enough for a 5.6 yards per carry average. Not only could the unit not stop him on the ground they couldn’t stop him through the air either as he led the Packers with seven catches for 75 yards on eight targets. The unit also didn’t force a turnover. All must be corrected moving forward.
In a lot of ways, the unit improved this week yet took a step back at the same time. Let’s start with the positives. The third-best offense in the league rebounded from a rough outing last week against the New Orleans Saints by rolling up 563 yards and 32 first downs in 68 plays. Wide receiver Amari Cooper set a career-high in yards with 226 on 11 catches to go with a beautiful touchdown that saw him execute a masterful spin move near the sidelines. Wide receiver Michael Gallup, back after minor surgery, also had a strong performance notching seven catches for 113 yards and one touchdown along with Prescott’s monster day through the air. The negatives? The Cowboys entered the game allowing just three sacks this season. That total rose to six. Shutout in the first half since Thanksgiving Day 2017 against the Los Angeles Chargers. Already down left tackle Tyron Smith the line took another hit as right tackle La’el Collins also went down with an injury and didn’t return. The lack of success in the red zone and the turnovers cost the Cowboys dearly in what otherwise was a great offensive outing. If the unit can correct their mistakes this is by far one of the better units in the league.