Dak Prescott ‘pissed off, for sure’ over Cowboys’ pitiful performance in KC

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Though the players themselves were reluctant to use the phrase, it was hard to see the Cowboys’ Week 11 showdown in Kansas City against the AFC representative in the last two Super Bowls as anything less than a measuring-stick kind of game.

The Chiefs, as it turned out, used a big, professional, contractor-grade tape measure; the Cowboys had one of those flimsy plastic rulers that fit inside a kindergartner’s pencil pouch.

For the second time in three weeks, the Cowboys’ high-powered offense found themselves stuck in neutral, and though the final deficit was just 10 points, quarterback Dak Prescott and Co. never seemed to be a real threat to the home team.

“It was tough to get in a rhythm throwing the ball, running the ball,” Prescott told reporters in his postgame press conference. “Neither were working for us early, or really, at any point of the night. When you’re playing on the road and you’re struggling to do that, it’s tough to win.”

The 73,000-plus in attendance at Arrowhead Stadium created a raucous atmosphere, but Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy chose to put the offense on the field first. He had hoped it would set a tone.

Unfortunately, it did.

“We knew the environment was going to be a challenge,” McCarthy explained after the 19-9 loss. “Arrowhead was rocking, just like I remembered it. I thought our offense took a while to get settled in.”

That’s an understatement. Prescott, working without wide receiver Amari Cooper or left tackle Tyron Smith and with Connor McGovern making his first start at left guard, went three-and-out to start, then fumbled away their next possession on their sixth offensive snap of the game.

By the time seven minutes of game time had elapsed, Dallas was behind by more than a touchdown and trying to play catch-up.

Of the Cowboys’ 12 offensive drives, three ended in a turnover, three ended with a field goal, and none got into the end zone.

Never discouraged, but pissed off, for sure,” said Prescott, who ended the day 28-of-43 for just 216 yards and two interceptions. “I’m pissed when I don’t play well or the team doesn’t play well, or the offense doesn’t play well… especially when you have the chance to come out and play against a team that’s been in the Super Bowl the last two years and really prove to ourselves and prove to one another what we’re capable of.”

McCarthy maintains that the anemic performance from the vaunted Cowboys offense doesn’t change the way they view their own identity.

“We didn’t win the game, but we don’t feel any less about who we are as a football team by no means; let’s make that clear,” the coach explained. “We didn’t play as well as we’d like up front. I think a healthy dose of the run-pass was the goal coming in here. We didn’t achieve that.”

Dallas attempted 16 rushing plays overall, compared to 43 passes. Tony Pollard recorded 50 yards on the ground; Ezekiel Elliott managed just 32 as the Cowboys played all day like a team that was down by a lot more than they ever were.

“You don’t ever want to play from behind, obviously, with the environment,” McCarthy said. “We were in striking distance. I never felt like we were out of the game. We just didn’t play as well as we’d have liked.”

“Our offense didn’t hold up our end of the bargain,” said right guard Zack Martin, who gave up his first sack in over a year. “I think if you would have told us that our defense would hold them to 19 points, we would have felt pretty damn good about that. We’ve got to do a better job.”

“A lot of stuff wasn’t clicking for us,” wideout Michael Gallup added. “That’s the best way I can put it.”

Gallup led the team in receiving targets with 10. Cooper’s absence due to COVID-19 certainly affected the Cowboys’ air attack, and the loss of CeeDee Lamb for the second half only made matters worse. Backups Cedrick Wilson, Noah Brown, and Malik Turner combined to make just 5 of 11 catches for 47 yards.

“This is a total team. We have no excuses,” said McCarthy. “We had a healthy 48, and the 48 players were ready to play. We had a number of guys that didn’t play in the game; that’s the NFL, and that’s the course of the season. We all understand the challenges that, frankly, are going to pick up as we move forward. We’ve got a quick turnaround. We have to go to a Thursday game. We’ll take that experience and grow from it.”

That quick turnaround is about the only silver lining that Cowboys fans can take from Sunday’s dreadful showing. With the 5-5 Raiders set to invade AT&T Stadium on Thursday afternoon, there will be no time for the Cowboys to wallow in Sunday’s outcome.

“I don’t think this affects our confidence,” Elliott said of the Chiefs loss. “The beauty of it is we get to go play in four days. We’ve got to get back to Dallas, we’ve got to make corrections, and get ready for Thanksgiving.”

“It’s a short week, and we’ve got to put it past us,” Prescott offered. “We know the stretch ahead. There’s a lot that we can learn from tonight, and this is a resilient team that is going to continue to fight and get better, I can promise you that.”

“I think a chance to get out and get going again is preferred anytime you don’t play as well as you like,” McCarthy said.

The last time the Cowboys were embarrassed, in Week 9’s blowout loss to Denver, the team followed it up with a 40-point smackdown of Atlanta in as complete a game as many around Dallas could recall.

But now they’ve suffered two ugly losses in a three-week span. Cooper will still be out, Lamb’s status is very much a question mark, Elliott got dinged up in Kansas City, and there’s no telling if Smith will be back on the offensive line.

The explosive offense that fizzled out with a nine-point effort at Arrowhead on Sunday may be the exact bunch that tries to light it up again on Thursday.

“We’ve got to turn the page, and we would’ve done this, win or loss,” Prescott reiterated. “We’ve got to turn it quick. We’ve got a good team coming in Thursday. We’ve got to make sure we’re getting our bodies and our minds rested and in the right spot to go out there and to bounce back.

“I’m never worried about how this team is going to respond. As long as I’m a part of this team, quarterback of this offense, that’s the least of my worries is how we’re going to respond. We’re a resilient bunch.”

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