The Dallas Cowboys opened up the regular season on the losing side. But what was most telling was how poorly they played on offense.
Dallas lost its season opener for the second time in the last three seasons, falling Sunday 18-6 on the road against the Carolina Panthers. One of the biggest question marks surrounding the Cowboys going into the 2018 season was who was going to step up on offense?
Cowboy’s owner Jerry Jones and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan couldn’t answer that question because they didn’t speak to the media after the game. Regardless, it will remain unanswered for the foreseeable future.
Carolina contained Dallas to just 60 yards in the first half. Dallas’ offense compiled 232 total yards, which ranks towards the bottom of the NFL for Week 1. The team couldn’t extend drives and finished 2-of-11 on third downs.
Third-year quarterback Dak Prescott completed 19-of-29 passes for 170 yards. With less than two minutes remaining in the game, Prescott fumbled and it was recovered by the Panthers, sealing the victory for Carolina.
The Panthers defensive line dominated the Cowboys front, which is considered one of the best in the league, and sacked Prescott six times. Yes, Dallas was without its starting center, Travis Frederick, but the rest of the offensive line looked lost.
Prescott averaged just less than six yards per attempt and was unable to find the end zone. He has thrown only one touchdown in his last four games dating back to last season. Furthermore, Prescott has thrown six touchdowns in his last nine regular-season games.
The quarterback position in the NFL is the most pivotal and the Cowboys are not getting enough production from their signal caller. But, the blame isn’t completely on him. Dallas lacks playmakers.
This offseason the Cowboys cut veteran wide receiver Dez Bryant and lost tight end Jason Witten to retirement. They had plenty of time to try to surround Prescott with talent and didn’t.
Instead, they drafted Michael Gallup in the third round of the NFL Draft and signed Allen Hurns. They combined for two receptions for 29 yards against the Panthers. Could you blame Bryant for trolling Dallas’ ineptitude on offense?
Ezekiel Elliott carried the ball 15 times for 69 yards and one score. At halftime, he had seven carries for 18 yards, averaging a whopping 2.5 yards per carry.
After the game, Elliott acknowledged the team’s unacceptable start. Elliott is their most valuable asset on offense, but the lack of talent surrounding him makes Dallas’ offense too predictable.
Dallas’ offense lacks an identity and attitude. If Prescott and company don’t turn it around quickly, it will be a long season in Jerry’s World.