Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys spread the wealth in embarrassing defeat at Denver

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott had 8 yards on nine carries in Sunday’s 42-17 loss to the Denver Broncos.
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott had 8 yards on nine carries in Sunday’s 42-17 loss to the Denver Broncos. mfaulkner@star-telegram.com

The Dallas Cowboys’ game plan to run the ball, control the clock, take the lead and grind away was executed wonderfully Sunday, with the small caveat that it was the Denver Broncos who actually did all of these things.

There are no words to describe the Cowboys’ 42-17 loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday, other than the ones with four letters.

We have not seen these Cowboys since Wade Phillips was captaining the ship right to the bottom of the Trinity River. About the only difference between Sunday’s loss and some of Wade’s stinkers was that this version didn’t quit.

Perhaps that makes it worse. Sunday was #sad #sad #sad from the beginning, through the one-hour lightning delay in the first quarter, to the inevitable finale.

Here are The Mac Attack’s Big Three InstaOverReactions:

No. 1. Running back Ezekiel Elliott effectively served the first game of his six-game suspension by the NFL. Zeke had his first true bad game as a pro.

His offensive line took the day off, and opened as many holes as a locked lock box.

At the half, he had no yards on four carries. Deep into the third quarter, he had no yards. Eventually, Zeke “erupted” to secure his worst game since he barely ran it against Michigan State for his beloved Ohio State Buckeyes.

Against Denver, Zeke finished with 8 yards on nine carries.

No. 2. On the final play of the first quarter, quarterback Dak Prescott scrambled and appeared to nearly suffer a major injury to his leg. He should have faked the injury and just handed the ball to backup Kellen Moore.

With Zeke unable to run, Dak couldn’t throw it. The “best offensive line” in the NFL didn’t give him any time and, when the game mattered, his receivers could not create any room against Broncos corners Aqib Talib and Chris Harris.

Every single pass by Dak was a struggle, and when guys such as Dez Bryant or Terrance Williams caught a pass, they were immediately taken down. Dak’s final pass of note was intercepted by Talib and returned 103 yards for a touchdown with less than a minute remaining in the game.

There is no defense for Dak. He was atrocious. He was intercepted twice, should have had at least one other pass intercepted and maybe a fourth, too.

The Cowboys did not go over 100 yards for the day until the 6:10 mark of the third quarter.

Dak threw the ball a career-high 50 times on Sunday, which is about 25 more passes than he should throw in a game the Cowboys can expect to win.

No. 3. Let’s not forget to throw tomatoes at the defense. One game after the Cowboys looked so good against the New York Giants, complete with a powerful pass rush and competent coverage, our fears about this bunch were exploited by the Broncos.

Other than one strip sack by DeMarcus Lawrence that led to an early touchdown, the defense could not do a thing against Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian, could not stop the run and could not tackle.

Siemian threw four easy touchdown passes, and the Broncos averaged 4.6 yards per carry, with C.J. Anderson going for 118 yards.

In all, a horrendous day by everyone.

Mac Engel: @macengelprof

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram