The Dolphins defense didn’t make Dak Prescott’s life easy in Week 16. (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)
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Cowboys’ pass protection
This was always going to be a tough matchup for the Dallas offense. The Dolphins defense ranked first in success rate allowed since Jalen Ramsey returned to the lineup. The Cowboys have struggled against good teams on the road all season. There were plenty of reasons for Week 16’s end result but the most significant factor in the loss had to leave Dallas feeling troubled going forward.
Despite missing its best pass rusher, Miami was able to get pressure on Dak Prescott early and often Sunday afternoon. To his credit, Prescott handled the heat well. He was able to escape rushers often and got rid of the ball in the face of what would have been devastating sacks. High-quality quarterbacks can make it work in these types of adverse conditions and to his credit, outside of a few low moments, Prescott generally put the team in a good position.
The Cowboys came into this game without starting left tackle Tyron Smith and Zack Martin nursing a thigh injury that cost him most of Week 15’s loss in Buffalo. The left tackle spot was particularly troublesome. Chuma Edoga let up a ton of blindside pressure and routinely forced Prescott off his spot.
Pressure is bad for any offense but for this unit in particular, it is a huge stumbling block. The West Coast offense is predicated on timing and rhythm. Prescott has played his best football when he can hit the top of his drop and push the ball to open receivers on time. When he has pressure in his face, it ruins the whole plan. Even when Prescott made plays in this game, it came on tight-window throws, showing that the route timing was disrupted.
The Cowboys have the potential to be a great offense but the way they’re set up it takes just a small grain of sand to grind the gears to a stop. Look no further if you’re searching for a reason why this team can’t deal with…