The Dallas Cowboys were dominated Sunday afternoon in Indianapolis against a scorching Colts team who has had a knack for ending win streaks. Last week, it was a Texas rival in the Houston Texans who had their streak ruined. This week, it was Dak Prescott and his team who looked overmatched and inept in their 23-0 loss against Andrew Luck. Despite the disappointing loss, the Cowboys playoff aspirations are still as bright as they were 24 hours ago. Here are four takeaways from Dallas’ blowout defeat.
Cowboys 2018 success will not save Scott Linehan
The notion the Cowboys season success will some how allow Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan to stick around an additional year was most likely left at Lucas Oil Stadium. Prescott was 24-39 for 206 yards and an interception, while Ezekiel Elliot added his name to a long list of runners who were unable to crack 100 yards against the Colts. Michael Gallup was held without a catch. Amari Cooper was also absent from this game only accounting for 4 receptions for 32 yards. Dallas was 0-2 in the red zone, 4-of-12 on third down and 1-for-5 on fourth down. All around ineptitude followed this offensive unit and it resulted in 0 points on the board.
Defense deserves a pass
Missed tackles and an inability to pressure Andrew Luck was the theme for the “Hot Boyz” and the rest of the Cowboys defensive unit. Colts running back Marlon Mack carried the ball 27 times for 139 yards. He was a constant bright spot for the Colts offense. Luck was held to a pedestrian stat line only throwing for 192 yards while completing 16-of-27 pass attempts. The defensive effort that was displayed was result of an unit that received zero help from their offense. It showed fans how many of their prior games could have turned out if the defense doesn’t play phenomenal.
Special Teams has become a forgotten unit
Head Coach Jason Garrett consistently preaches about winning in all three phases of the game. To this point, the offense has shown flashes of being solid. The defense has more often than not been good to great, but special teams has left much to be desired. A lack of offensive consistency has drastically overshadowed an emptiness the special teams unit has given this season. Outside of Chris Jones, at times the kicking game has been great while other times it’s suffered its fair share of struggles. The return game has all but been erased from the Cowboys scoring options as Cole Beasley is averaging less than 5 yards/return. Wide Receiver Tavon Austin is slated to return in the near future and he has been drastically needed in this forgotten area of football.
Cowboys red zone struggles continue
In their last three games the Cowboys are 2-for-11 in the red zone. Ezekiel Elliot is on pace to finish with just one more rushing touchdown then he had during his 2017 campaign (7). Of the top-five rushers in the NFL, Elliot is in last in rushing touchdowns (6), despite Johnson having 48 less attempts then him. Gurley leads the pack with 15 rushing scores while rookie Saquon Barkley is behind him with 9. For a running back who has 24 more carriers then anyone else in the league it is astonishing he’s tied for 14th in the NFL in rushing touchdowns.
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