Following yet another embarrassing loss on Sunday night, this latest one at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles, the Dallas Cowboys are 2-6 at the midway point of the 2020 NFL season, a dreadful 0-4 on the road, and in third place in the woeful NFC East.
This obviously isn’t what Jerry Jones had in mind when he brought in Mike McCarthy to replace Jason Garrett. Sure, the team has had to deal with some injuries, obviously none bigger than the season-ending ankle injury to Dak Prescott. But it’s not as if the Dallas Cowboys were a great football team before that happened.
The defense, which at least looked a little better against the Eagles, has been a train wreck all season and is on pace to be one of the worst in NFL history. Without Prescott on the field, the offense is now in big trouble as well.
And while it doesn’t seem possible, things are only about to get worse for the Dallas Cowboys.
The Dallas Cowboys’ defense looked better against the Eagles but that’s not saying much
For the first time in a long time, the Dallas Cowboys’ defense actually looked decent on Sunday night against the Eagles, giving up just 15 of Philly’s 23 points. For a defense that had been giving up more than 34 points per game coming in, that’s an accomplishment. The Cowboys sacked Carson Wentz four times, forced two fumbles, gave up just 222 yards, and rookie Trevon Diggs recorded the first two interceptions of his career.
But it was a bit of a mirage given that the Eagles’ offense hasn’t exactly been the most prolific in the league in 2020. Philadelphia is ranked 26th in yards per game, 23rd in points per game, and Carson Wentz has thrown more interceptions than any quarterback in the NFL this season. So while Mike McCarthy was celebrating his defense following Sunday night’s loss with talk of a moral victory, let’s not pretend that this unit isn’t still the worst in the NFL.
The offense is struggling
With Dak Prescott on the shelf for the year and Andy Dalton out with a concussion, the Dallas Cowboys turned to rookie quarterback Ben DiNucci on Sunday night against the Eagles and it went about as well as anyone thought it would. Using a number of new formations and trick plays that worked for about five minutes, the Cowboys again struggled to put points on the board, scoring just nine points on three field goals from Greg Zuerlein, all of which came in the first half.
DiNucci completed just 21 of 40 passes for 180 yards, was sacked four times, and lost two fumbles, one of which the Eagles returned for a touchdown to put the game out of reach. Ezekiel Elliott rushed for just 63 yards on 19 carries and still hasn’t reached 100 yards this season. But at least he didn’t fumble, right? Not to worry though. He still leads all NFL running backs with five.
Over the last three games, the Dallas Cowboys have scored just 22 points, an average of just 7.3 per game. In the first five games of the 2020 campaign, the Cowboys averaged 32.6 points per game.
And things aren’t about to get any better.
The Dallas Cowboys next play the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers
If things weren’t bad enough for the Dallas Cowboys, they’re about to get a whole lot worse. Next up for the Cowboys is a nationally-televised matchup on Sunday afternoon with the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers, which gives the entire country yet another chance to see just how bad the Cowboys truly are.
Okay, Andy Dalton should be back in action this week. But will that really make any difference? Dalton played the entire game in Week 6 against the Arizona Cardinals and the Cowboys put up just 10 points. So how do you think this offense is going to look against a Steelers defense that just made reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson look human on Sunday? And how will the Cowboys’ defense look against a team that’s putting up 30.1 points per game, the fifth-highest mark in the NFL? Yeah, it’s not going to be pretty.
But at least the Dallas Cowboys have a bye the following week. You can’t take a loss if you don’t play, right?
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference