The Dallas Cowboys wound up blowing the doors off the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. It was a lot harder than it should have been for the most part though.
The Dallas Cowboys entered Sunday’s game against the lowly Miami Dolphins riding high off of not only two divisional wins but two wins of a dominant fashion. Seeing the Miami Dolphins on their schedules, who had allowed 102 points scored across their first two weeks of the season, the Cowboys probably thought this would be a walk-through of a game.
Of course, it wound up not being that way, as the Dallas Cowboys made things much more difficult than they had to be. Dak Prescott was not sharp to begin this game. He had a few errant throws and even lobbed one into heavy coverage that ultimately resulted in his only interception of the afternoon.
Along with Prescott’s slow and shaky start, Amari Cooper dropped what should have been a sure-fire catch to keep the chains moving early as well. While the offensive woes would have been enough to start the game, the defense didn’t do themselves or the rest of their team any favors either.
They gave up key penalties to start the game. There were several holding and pass interference calls throughout the first half called on the Cowboys’ defense. A couple of the key penalties came from Chidobe Awuzie giving up big yardage on what would be called a pass interference and Jaylon Smith helping to keep a Dolphin drive alive by being called for holding prior to the pass.
On top of the penalties from the defense, they weren’t their sharpest overall either. If it wasn’t for a forced fumble to close the first half, the defense would have had a D grade performance in the first half at best, considering what they had allowed and the associated penalties.
At the end of the first half, the Cowboys had been outclassed in several areas including total offense, time of possession, and penalty yards. The Dolphins outperformed them 218-204 in first-half yardage, out possessed them by about three minutes, and had three fewer penalties for 41 less total penalty yards given away. The running game is the only thing that kept the Cowboys from going into the half being down to arguably the worst team in the league and a team that seems to be actively trying to lose.
While Prescott has been among the best, if not the very best quarterback in the league in the third quarter, things didn’t immediately start to fully clear up as the second half began. A holding penalty on Connor Williams brought back a 74-yard touchdown pass to Randall Cobb, while La’el Collins also had a holding call that nixed a big run from Ezekiel Elliott.
Luckily for the team and the fans, the Cowboys eventually got things going in the right direction. Dak started to connect with his receivers while the running game, that had been carrying the offense anyway, kicked it up another notch as well. Both Cowboys feature backs in Zeke and Tony Pollard finished the day with over 100 yards rushing.
While this game ultimately resulted in a win for the Cowboys, they can’t sputter out of the gate like this against any other team and especially the good teams in the NFL. They must also figure out a way to become more disciplined as a team when it comes to penalties.
This game should not have been as hard as it was or as the Cowboys tried to make it. This type of performance will certainly get you beat in New Orleans as they go there to face the Saints next week, with the Saints coming off a huge Teddy Bridgewater-led win in Seattle of all places.
Prescott has been one of the best in the third quarter, however, he needs to convey that into his performances to start the game, but his teammates must help him also. Both sides need to focus on cutting out the penalties, while the receivers need to focus on making sure that they catch most of the balls thrown their way.
The game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Miami Dolphins was made much harder than it should have been for America’s Team. And the Cowboys must alleviate some of these issues in order to achieve the ultimate goal, which should be a Super Bowl run at the end of this season.