What happened to the Dallas Cowboys that played the first seven games of the 2021 NFL season? That team failed to show up in an embarrassing loss to the Denver Broncos in Week 9. Head coach Mike McCarthy made a controversial decision late in the game that raised some red flags. However, Dak Prescott came to his defense shortly after.
The Cowboys’ quarterback said he would’ve done the same thing.
The Broncos stunned the Cowboys in convincing fashion
The Denver Broncos just dominated the Dallas Cowboys from start to finish.
Denver entered the game with a 4-4 record. They won their first three games of the 2021 season but were heading in the wrong direction. The Broncos also were playing their first game since trading Von Miller to the Los Angeles Rams.
Vic Fangio’s squad played like a motivated bunch and clearly wanted to win more than the Cowboys. Denver led by 30 points at one point. The game was never in question.
Dallas fell victim to the ultimate trap game, but losing at home in such a fashion is alarming.
The Broncos’ offense had its way with Dan Quinn’s defense, racking up 407 yards of total offense compared to Dallas’ 290. Teddy Bridgewater played a clean game while rookie Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon gashed the Cowboys on the ground.
Denver’s defense played its best game of the season against one of the NFL’s most explosive offenses. While this may end up being more of a Dallas letdown than anything, it’s not a good look for Mike McCarthy and company.
Dak Prescott defends Mike McCarthy’s decision to leave him in
Mike McCarthy has made several questionable decisions as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. He made yet another one against the Broncos.
Dallas trailed 30-0 in the fourth quarter, with 6:32 left on the game clock. Denver had the game clearly in hand. Still, McCarthy left multiple offensive starters on the field. Dak Prescott led the Cowboys to 16 unanswered points in the final minutes of regulation.
McCarthy took some heat for leaving Prescott on the field, especially after returning from a calf injury that caused him to sit out in Week 8.
“Frankly, the fourth quarter was a conscious effort to keep him in there for the 2-minute work,” said McCarthy per ESPN. “It’s something that if I was looking at all the situational work that we’ve done and the commitment that you put to each situation, we needed that work.”
Prescott also addressed the decision with the media after the game.
“There was game left out there to be played,” Prescott said. “It never crossed my mind that I was coming out of the game. I think if somebody had tried to make that decision, I would have told them I wasn’t. We needed to show our fight, our resiliency, something that’s won us a lot of games. When you’re getting beat like that, you’ve got to show your character.”
Risking injuries for meaningless garbage time points doesn’t seem like the best idea.
How will the Cowboys rebound from this embarrassing loss?
The Broncos beat the Cowboys in every facet of the game. Based on the past few games for both teams, Dallas should’ve had no problem winning this football game.
After this embarrassing defeat, Mike McCarthy, Dak Prescott, and the rest of the Cowboys need to take a long hard look in the mirror.
Every season is supposed to be the Cowboys’ year. Those lofty expectations often only lead to disappointment, though. Could this be the beginning of more of the same in Dallas?
This game could ultimately be an outlier, but it is somewhat concerning. Dallas, a team that has looked like a legitimate Super Bowl contender, got exposed.
The Cowboys haven’t done enough to rest on their laurels. They can’t afford too many more letdowns. There’s no time to lick their wounds, either. Dallas has to prepare for its next matchup against another upset-minded club in the Atlanta Falcons.
It’s one game, but let’s temper our expectations for the Dallas Cowboys for now. Mike McCarthy pushing for untimely Dak Prescott heroics won’t erase our memories of this loss.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.