The Dallas Cowboys lost to the Las Vegas Raiders 36-33 in overtime on Thanksgiving. It’s the Cowboys’ second loss in a row, and they are now two games back in the loss column for the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
A lot of the talk following the game was about the officiating. Both teams were penalized 14 times in the game.
“Well, this probably will be arguably the most watched game other than the Super Bowl, and I hated that it got down to just throwing the ball up and getting your penalties to get your big plays,” Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. “And I think we were into that. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m so proud of our team for the way we hung in, hung in and came back and played, but it’s frustrating for everybody, for all of our fans at this particular time, to have a game that had you on pretty unsure footing as to where you were going to be with your fundamentals, i.e., whether those were going to be called or not. And they got calls, too, so it’s just a little off balance way to play the game.”
A quarterback throwing the ball up in order to draw pass interference on the defense is something every team does. Can’t feel sorry for Jerry and the Cowboys here.
The more concerning issue is the Cowboys’ inability to come up with stops defensively on Thursday. Now, they are top four in defense according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average). But they allow almost 370 yards of offense per game.
Something that bears watching the rest of the season.
The FS1 talking heads are split on whether it’s time to panic in Dallas. Shannon Sharpe believes the team has been consistent all season on defense and just had a bad game.
.@ShannonSharpe on the Cowboys loss to the Raiders:
"The reason the Cowboys lost is because of their defense. They've been able to hang their hat on the defense all season. They didn't come to play and it cost them the ball game." pic.twitter.com/ul7PosQiMU
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) November 26, 2021
At 7-4 they are still in firm command of the NFC East, but this team has designs on a Super Bowl. They don’t want to fall too far behind the top teams in the conference.
Nick Wright isn’t so sure the Cowboys will win the division, despite their two-game lead. Citing the Philadelphia Eagles’ easy schedule to finish the season, Wright believes the Eagles could be on a seven-game winning streak before the final regular-season game against the Cowboys.
"Everyones says the Cowboys will definitely still win the division. Will they? It's not outrageous to say the Eagles could win 7 in a row before facing the Cowboys at home. The Eagles have the best schedule anyone can hope for to end the year." — @getnickwright pic.twitter.com/P7zCYTxZoD
— First Things First (@FTFonFS1) November 26, 2021
To be fair, the Cowboys’ remaining schedule is soft as well, aside from a matchup against the league-leading Arizona Cardinals. If the Cowboys beat everyone else on the schedule, they should be in good shape to clinch the NFC East.
It’s not quite time to panic in Dallas, but teams have shown they can move the ball against the Cowboys’ defense. Yes, they often hold teams to field goals or get off the field entirely on third down, but giving up yards wears on a team.
They can survive the regular season this way, but in a single-elimination tournament at the end of the season when players are not at their freshest, against the best teams in the conference?
That might be too much to overcome.
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