The Dallas Cowboys entered their Sunday contest against the Indianapolis Colts on a five-game winning streak but unfortunately Dallas saw that streak end as they lost 23-0 to the Colts. The Dallas defense looked out of sorts against Andrew Luck and company where the Colts seemed to have a balanced attack all-day long. This showing seemed very uncharacteristic from Dallas as now they have two remaining games to clinch the NFC East.
Quarterback Dak Prescott completed 24 of 39 passes for 206 yards as running back Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 87 yards on 18 carries. He also caught seven passes for 41 yards which equates to 128 total scrimmage yards. The Cowboys made a worthy effort to include Elliott in the passing and running game where Dallas saw early success. But that success quickly faded after a blocked 48-yard field goal in the first quarter, which set the tone for the rest of the game.
During the aftermath of this game, obviously Prescott will receive most of the blame for this shutout loss where there are other factors that should be made aware. The Cowboys attempted multiple fourth downs, showing more aggressiveness, but some of those fourth down conversions that Prescott made were not recorded because of holding penalties on the offensive line. At critical points during the game, Dak was not given enough time and the absence of Pro Bowl lineman Zack Martin was truly felt. Simply put, Dak made plays on fourth down when needed but the penalties negated those conversions.
Another takeaway that must be made aware is that the offensive play calling by offensive coordinator Scott Linehan. On a pivotal fourth-down and one on the three yard line, there was a run play called to the weak side and Elliott was stuffed at the two yard line, giving the ball back to the Colts. Indianapolis easily stopped the red zone run which once again shifted the momentum towards the Colts that much more. That play was one of multiple examples that made Cowboys fans puzzled and put Dak in a hard position. He needs to go after season’s end.
As well as the Dallas defense has played all season, this was definitely the least impressive showing, not forcing any pressure on Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. He only threw for 192 yards but the Colts seemingly converted every third-down. Plus, the Colts established the ground game with Marlon Mack rushing for 139 yards on 27 carries with two touchdowns.
This defeat ended Dallas’ five-game winning streak where they can assess what they need to work on for the next two weeks, just needing to win one of the next two games to clinch their division. As Elliott stated postgame, this loss was “much needed” so they can turn around and focus again next week when they face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next Sunday.