Dallas Cowboys

Fraudulent, arrogant Dallas Cowboys guilty of sniffing themselves, now face reality check

What do you call a supposed Super Bowl contender who only have victories against the bad teams loses to the good teams?

Fraudulent.

Suspect.

Fake.

Such is the state of the Dallas Cowboys, who find themselves riding a two-game losing streak following losses to the Saints (4-1) and Packers (4-1) after opening the season 3-0 with wins over the Giants (2-3), Redskins (0-5) and Dolphins (0-4).

Owner Jerry Jones has allowed himself to dream of a trip to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1995, the last of the franchise’s five titles, including three in the 1990s.

He is now facing the sobering reality that the Cowboys, who have only four playoff wins the past 24 years, are still a work in progress.

A 12-10 loss to the Saints was followed by a 34-24 setback to the Packers Sunday as the Cowboys couldn’t stop the run and lost the turnover battle for the second straight week.

“I think it tells you right where you are,” Jones said. “You do well against teams that are getting it together. We played two that have it together better. They are 4-1 teams. I think what you see is what you get here. We got some work to do to be where we want to go this year. We can get it together and get better. We are going to have to get better to get a chance to be where we dream to be an expect to be. I think got a team that can get better and that is the key. But this is not good enough against a bunch like this, last weekend or this weekend. I accept that. We got to get better.”

Nobody typifies the Cowboys decline more than quarterback Dak Prescott who was all rage through the first three weeks of the season with nine touchdowns and two interceptions. He said he was in a zone and called Cowboys offense unstoppable.

That was before the Cowboys scored just 10 points against the Saints, which included fumbles by running back Ezekiel Elliott and tight end Jason Witten and a Prescott interception.

That was followed a three-interception effort from Prescott against the Packers, which offset set his career-high 463 yards passing.

Prescott blames arrogance and overconfidence for the team’s struggles the past two weeks. He called it a wake up call that could pay dividends later in the season.

“All I could say that sure we might’ve sniffed ourselves a little bit too much,” Prescott said. “And that’s why I say we take the last two games and say, ‘hey, we probably needed that’. We probably needed that. We’re going to get better because of it and that’s why I said maybe we’ll look back at this in 4-5 games or however many later and say that was good for us because we became the team we are now. The men we have in the locker room, there’s no doubt in my mind that’s what we’ll do.”

Asked to elaborate on ‘sniffing themselves’, Prescott said: “I’d just say the early success we had, the way we were doing things on offense, the way the defense was shutting teams down, I think that was just that. We know we’re a good team and I’m not taking that away or saying we’re not. I know we’re a really, really good team. And we’re confident in the players we have and confident in what we can do but sometimes you have to know that it’s the work that gets the wins. It’s not the talent. It’s not the camaraderie. It’s the work, how you come to work each and every day disciplined detailed and that turns into wins.”

The Cowboys averaged 32.3 points a game the first three games but just 17.0 in the two losses.

They had 13 offensive touchdowns in the first three games and just four the past two weeks.

Also blame some slow starts, the Cowboys scored just three points in the first half of the past two games combined.

“It’s humbling,” said receiver Amari Cooper who had 11 catches for a career-high 226 yards a touchdown but was left regretting a dropped pass in the first quarter turned into the first of Prescott’s three interceptions. “It’s a good thing that it’s still kind of early in the season and we can go back to the drawing board, go back to practice this week and really refocus and do the things we have to do so that this won’t really happen to us again, because any time you fall back early in the game it’s just difficult to overcome.”

The Cowboys get credit for rallying from a 24-0 and 31-3 deficits against the Packers to make a game of it in the fourth quarter.

But close doesn’t count. And fighting hard until the end means little when the bottom line of winning is not achieved.

“I think it is a reality check,” running back Ezekiel Elliott said. “I think we’ve just got to take this loss. Take these last two losses, and use them as fuel. We’ve go to come out and play a lot harder, play a lot better, and execute. It’s going to be hard to win games in this league if we keep shooting ourselves in the foot. So, we’ve just got to be a better team.”

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram

Clarence E. Hill Jr. has covered the Dallas Cowboys as a beat writer/columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram since 1997. That includes just two playoff wins, six coaches and countless controversies from the demise of the dynasty teams of the 1990s through the rollercoaster years of the Tony Romo era until Jason Garrett’s process Cowboys.
  Comments