The Dallas Cowboys shockingly lose to Sam Darnold and the New York Jets, 24-22, at MetLife Stadium on Sunday. What’s the biggest postgame question?
This was supposed to be an easy game against a bad opponent for the Dallas Cowboys. The New York Jets hadn’t done anything right all season leading up to Week 6 and quarterback Sam Darnold’s return. Fortunately for them, the Cowboys can make anybody look good right now.
The Cowboys suffered a third straight humiliation with an unbelievably poor 24-22 loss to the Jets on Sunday. Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott played decently but the offense again looked anemic, failing to get going until long after the first drive. Prescott finished completing 28 of his 40 passes for 277 yards and a rushing touchdown. Running back Ezekiel Elliott had a great day, with 105 yards on 28 carries and a score.
The Cowboys haven’t looked dialed in at the start of a single game this year, and this week was no different. The offense was weak and couldn’t generate anything until the score was already out of hand. They’ve failed to score first in every game this season.
It’s really time to talk about the defense and how badly they’ve regressed from last year. This squad is virtually unchanged except for some key improvements such as defensive end Robert Quinn. And yet this unit looks absolutely nothing like the elite defense from last season.
The defense has been plagued by terrible coverage in the secondary, awful tackling, poor reads on quarterback scrambles. And the Cowboys defensive line couldn’t pressure the quarterback even against one of the worst offensive lines in football.
The poor performances of linebackers Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, and cornerback Chidobe Awuzie has to be stated. These three are perennial starters for the Cowboys and have played far below expectations this season. Brett Maher hit three field goals but missed from 40. He has now hit about 50 percent of his kicks this season, something that has badly hurt this team. His miss on Sunday was the difference on the scoreboard.
The biggest question going forward, and justifiably so, is the job status of head coach Jason Garrett. Garrett has taken a team that was 3-0 to start the season, with a two-game lead in the NFC East, and has allowed them to play unacceptably uninspired football en route to a three-game losing streak.
Fans are rightly placing the blame for these last three weeks on Garrett. Injuries will hurt any team, but the fact that the Cowboys have played such uninspiring football is likely the most outrageous part of this losing streak. And the responsibility for that falls directly onto the shoulders of Garrett.
The Cowboys had plenty of injuries from the game. Wide receiver Amari Cooper appeared to re-injure his quad early in the game and did not return. Defensive end Dorance Armstrong injured his neck and didn’t return. Cornerback Byron Jones was injured in the third quarter and didn’t return.
The Dallas Cowboys (3-3) will try to right the ship next week against the hated division rival Philadelphia Eagles (3-3) in a battle for the top of the NFC East.