Good, Bad, Ugly: Big Uglies earn nickname wrong way as Cowboys’ offense collapses

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What was anticipated as the game of the year turned out to be a game to forget for the Dallas Cowboys, who were man handled 19-9 by the Kansas City Chiefs. It was the worst performance of the season for the Cowboys on offense as they failed to score a touchdown or gain 300 yards.

The offense was missing some of its pieces, but the Cowboys still had quarterback Dak Prescott under center and that usually gives them a good shot at winning. It wasn’t to be in this contest as Prescott and the offense were off schedule from the very first play and never got in sync.

The Cowboys wouldn’t have beaten many teams Sunday and after a second stinker in three games, it’s far to wonder just how good Dallas is. With a short week coming up, the Cowboys need to rebound quickly.

Here’s the good, the bad and the ugly from a lethargic loss in Week 11.

The Good: Micah Parsons

Parsons lives in ‘the good’ space. It’s hard to be surprised about anything Parsons does anymore, he routinely makes seismic-shift plays for the Dallas defense. Parsons played almost exclusively at defensive end in the game, playing 56 of his 58 snaps at DE, and came away with two sacks and a forced fumble.

The strip sack of quarterback Patrick Mahomes gave the Cowboys some life in the second quarter when they were down and Parsons also finished with three tackles for a loss and another QB hit.

The Bad: The receivers

It wasn’t a pretty performance from the Cowboys’ wide receivers. With fellow wide out Amari Cooper not available, the Cowboys needed the rest of the group to set up in his absence. It never happened. The pressure on the backups mounted when CeeDee Lamb exited the game at halftime with a concussion.

Dallas had five drops in the game, including two each from Noah Brown and Cedrick Wilson. Brown’s drop on the first possession of the game was a chance to keep the offense on the field and gain confidence.

In total, Brown, Wilson, Michael Gallup and Malik Turner combined for 10 catches for 91 yards on 21 targets. That wasn’t close to getting it done.

The Bad: Dak Prescott

It’s rare that Prescott ends up on the ‘bad’ side but QB wasn’t near good enough. Prescott overthrew an open Gallup on the first play of the game, underthrew Lamb near the end of the first half that wound up as an interception and missed a sure touchdown on a throw to Wilson, who had gotten behind the defense.

These were throws that cannot be missed when trying to beat a quality team on the road and Prescott missed on too many of them. Prescott’s off day didn’t give the Cowboys much of a chance to win this game.

He finished with three turnovers and no touchdowns.

The Good: The defense overall

After a rough start, the Dallas defense settled in and played well. Dan Quinn’s unit surrendered 16 points, two touchdowns and field goal, on their first three drives, but rebounded to give up 19 points and 370 yards in total. The Chiefs gained 154 yards on their first three drives, but just 192 for the rest of the game.

The defense also forced two turnovers, had three sacks and held the Chiefs to 4-of-12 on third down. Those are usually winning numbers on defense, especially playing against Mahomes and the Chiefs offense.

The Bad: Kellen Moore

Without left tackle Tyron Smith and the late news of Cooper not being able to play, Moore needed to come up with a game plan to beat the surging Chiefs. What Moore came up with didn’t work.

There were too many runs on first down, 15 of them, and the second and long runs, four runs for 10 yards, were difficult to understand.

The biggest head scratcher were the high number of wide receiver screens or passes behind the line of scrimmage.

Where were the misdirection plays to slow down an aggressive Chiefs defense and why wasn’t running back Tony Pollard given more touches? He proved to be one of the most effective offensive players gaining 70 yards on nine touches.

The Ugly: The offensive line

The big uglies for the Cowboys had a truly ugly performance, lending the wrong kind of credence to the moniker. The running game couldn’t get going and Prescott was harassed for most of the game as the unit allowed five sacks and got hit eight more times. It appears as though the move at left guard didn’t pan out, Connor McGovern wasn’t called for any holding penalties, but he did allow two sacks.

One has to imagine with Tyron Smith being ruled out the night of the game, the club expected him to play and that went into the thinking of making the move at LG next to where he would have played.

The group couldn’t protect Prescott, who was forced to get the ball out quickly, which explains some of quarterback’s rough outing. Even one of the best guards in the game, Zack Martin, gave up a sack.

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