Mac Engel

Getting shut out by the Colts proved one thing: the Cowboys cannot be trusted

Jerry Jones assesses health of Cowboys offensive line

Dallas Cowboys owner and GM Jerry Jones assesses the health of the offensive line after the team's shutout loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
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Dallas Cowboys owner and GM Jerry Jones assesses the health of the offensive line after the team's shutout loss to the Indianapolis Colts.

Ultimately the loss should not prevent the Dallas Cowboys from winning the NFC East or reaching the playoffs, but their “performance” in Indy showed why we just can’t trust them.

The quarterback (and the offense that looked so good for the previous five games) was trash.

The Doomsday defense was gashed.

The special teams crashed.

The Cowboys started poorly, played poorly and were smacked around by the Indianapolis Colts in a 23-0 loss on Sunday.

Zero points. In an NFL game. Pretty sure Michael-Troy-Emmitt never pulled that off, but Dak-Amari-Zeke did.

“That’s not us,” running back Ezekiel Elliott said. “That’s embarrassing.”

No argument here.

The Colts did to the Cowboys what the Cowboys had been doing to opponents.

In today’s NFL, where everyone can score points, no team should be shutout, but the ‘Boys pulled it off.

Demonstrating just how vulnerable even good NFL teams can be, the Cowboys showed their soft underbelly on Sunday and gave us all plenty of reasons to think that they are not ready to contend for a Super Bowl.

“We definitely didn’t play our best today and we got our butts kicked,” receiver Cole Beasley said.

No argument here.

A playoff spot? They’ve earned those expectations.

A Super Bowl? Child, please.

The team was due for a stinker, but not like this. This was a Porta Potty-style stench.

“We just came out there and didn’t do our jobs and we got beat in all aspects of the game,” Elliott said. “I think a loss like this was very much needed. It was better for us in the grand scheme of the season.”

The Cowboys started Sunday with a chance to clinch the NFC East, and the team played flat. That’s on this head coach, who by the fourth quarter looked like he was ready to punch one of the referees for their predictably erratic performance.

Jason Garrett may have wanted to look in the mirror and ask himself if he was the best version of himself against the Colts.

The refs stunk, because they always do, but they were not worse than the Cowboys quarterback.

Cowboys’ QB Dak Prescott was simply awful, and his performance gives every “hater” a reason to think he can’t do it. There is no defending his performance against the Colts, and as such we can’t totally buy this team yet.

Trash offense

Midway through the fourth quarter, the Cowboys had zero points, and Dak had been sacked twice. In case you are counting, he has been sacked a team-record 51 times this season.

Dak went down three times on Sunday, and most of his sacks this season are on him.

Even with the Cowboys forced to play with three backup interior offensive linemen, it does not excuse Dak for his continued inability to get the ball out of his hands quickly on passing plays. He either doesn’t see the play before it develops, or he is so conservative he would rather wait and take a sack than to throw the ball into harm’s way.

As long as that continues, the passing game is going to be what it is: Unpredictable.

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After the opening drive stalled, which resulted in Brett Maher having his field goal blocked, the offense was offensive.

Dak threw the ball 39 times, barely passed for more than 200 yards, and he averaged 5.3 yards per attempt. He also added an interception. By NFL definition, those numbers translate to “Kellen Moore.”

Amari Cooper, who had dominated NFL opponents the past few weeks in ways few receivers every do, played as if he was still in Oakland. He had four catches for 32 yards.

Running back Ezkiel Elliott touched the ball 25 times, but without a lead he was not a hammer.

The Cowboys fell behind 7-0 in the first quarter, and all of the momentum they generated in their five-game winning streak never existed.

Trash defense

Dak’s counterpoint, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, did not make anyone in Indy think he was Peyton Manning, but he made plays, and used receiver T.Y. Hilton to squeeze out yards, and points.

The Cowboys defense that had played so well all season missed tackles that led to large plays, failed to pressure the quarterback, and could not get stops.

And this was with linebacker Sean Lee back playing.

Luck did not throw for 200 yards, but he was not sacked, and his running back Marlon Mack looked like ... Ezekiel Elliott.

Mack ran for a career-high 139 yards, and the Colts’ wore down the Cowboys in the second half.

After the Cowboys fell behind 10-0 in the first half, this was never a game.

“We didn’t play up to our standards,” right tackle La’el Collins said. “Third quarter, it felt like we hadn’t run any plays yet. We have to do a better job of finishing drives.”

Trust issues

Since dropping to 1-5, the Colts are one of the better teams in the NFL so it’s not as if the Cowboys lost to a team headed to the top of the 2019 NFL Draft.

All winning streaks end, and the Cowboys should make the playoffs, but it’s the way the Cowboys lost that is troubling. To not score a single point in an NFL game these days is alarming. The quarterback must be better.

With games remaining against Tampa Bay and the New York Giants, the Cowboys should finish 10-6 and win the NFC East.

Anything beyond that?

We just can’t trust them.

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