When you win, all is good with the world. But when you lose, especially when you’ve risen quickly as young stars, the blame game can come fast and furious, even from those closest to you.
The Cowboy’s dynamic duo of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott learned this lesson the hard way yesterday after getting destroyed by the Denver Broncos 42-17.
Dak went 30 for 50 for 238 yards and 2 TDs. Not bad but nothing too great. Zeke, on the other hand, had the worst game of his young career, rushing nine times for eight yards while getting swallowed up by the Broncos swarming defense all day.
So these two young stars, who have played a total of 35 games between them in their two seasons in the League, had a bad game. While it’s bad for the team, it’s something you have to anticipate happening at one point. Young players are prone to having bad games, even though fans and fantasy football players will explode during these poor performances.
But the worst shade was thrown at them by the NFL community, specifically Cowboys’ head coach Jason Garrett and NFL Hall of Famer, LaDainian Tomlinson.
When they play that style of defense, you have to be able to consistently attack with the passing game, Garrett said. At different times today, I thought we were able to do that, and at other times we werent. We didnt make the plays, for whatever reason. We really needed to have [consistent] success throwing the ball. We were not able to do that.
Jason Garrett put the blame squarely on Dak Prescott’s inability to make plays in the passing game
Even legendary Cowboys’ QB Troy Aikman jumped on the “Bash Dak” train.
“They’ve lost out on some of the big plays that they used to get when Romo was quarterbacking,” Aikman said on air when the Cowboys were down 35-10. “They haven’t been able to get any big plays this afternoon.”
To his credit, Dak did not hide in the shadows after the game and stepped up to the plate like stars do.
“If I make more plays, we give ourselves a chance in that game,” said Dak. “I just simply didn’t make the plays. There’s no excuse for it. Playing like that, you won’t win games. It doesn’t matter who you play.”
Then the attention was turned to their other star, running back Ezekiel Elliott, who was crucified for his offensive performance and for his reaction during the sequence below.
Ezekiel Elliott has decided to accept his suspension from Cowboys effective immediately after this interception https://t.co/fCYOk6XoBD
Garrett addressed that play on his weekly radio segment on 105.3 The Fan [KRLD-FM].
“Obviously you want guys to pursue the ball and get the guy to the ground,” said Garrett. “Those things happen sometimes and we’ll certainly coach our guys to play the right way. On those takeaways, it’s really, really important that everybody gets there and everybody somehow, some way, does everything they can to get the guy to the ground. We’ll address that with everybody on our team.”
Well over on the NFL Network, Tomlinson saw that play and pulled no punches during a segment on NFL GameDay Prime.
“Zeke, to his credit, he didn’t have any room today. He was running, getting hit in the backfield, making moves in the backfield. But all of that is OK. I didn’t like the way he quit today. I didn’t like that. He absolutely quit on his team today.”
When Deion Sanders asked him to clarify what he meant by “quit,” LT elaborated.
“First his attitude on the sideline. Clearly, he didn’t have any communication with his teammates. But also, he didn’t want to talk to his teammates. Some times when things are going wrong, as a leader of that team, as a captain, you got to step up and rally the troops. You have to go to the offensive line and say, ‘I know it’s tough but let’s keep battling, let’s keep fighting.’ You have to go to the quarterback and say, ‘Hey man, I’m not getting it done today – you have to step it up.’ You have to rally the troops.
“They need him to do that because last year, he led the league in rushing. So everybody is looking at him as the top dog. So if you want to be the top dog, you have to do it on and off the field.”
At the end of the day, it was only one game. Granted it was a national game against two of the best teams in the League, but let’s all keep in mind that this was only their 18th NFL game. The team’s next game is a Monday night game against the Cardinals in the desert. Let’s see if the stars put this one behind them on their next big national stage.