The win one, lose one Dallas Cowboys are alive and well. After exploding for 21 second-quarter points, the Cowboys never scored again, falling 30-21 to the San Diego Chargers.
Here are my five thoughts on the Cowboys dropping to 2-2.
1.) Same old Cowboys. The trend of mediocrity continues. The second-quarter outburst hinted that things might be changing, but that was only a tease. The Cowboys committed five second-half penalties (after being charged with none in the first half), dropped catchable passes and were careless with the football. A second-half like that will never get it done on the road. Fortunately for Jason Garrett’s bunch, same old might be enough to win this poor division.
2.) The lack of depth on the Cowboys defensive line was a problem. DeMarcus Ware, Jason Hatcher, Nick Hayden and George Selvie played well at times but that group needs some help. Without Jay Ratliff, Anthony Spencer and Tyrone Crawford, the starting four has to carry the load all game. As the starters wore down – Ware was sidelined for an extended period with another neck stinger – Philip Rivers had time to pick apart the Dallas secondary. Rod Marinelli’s going to have to work a little more of his magic and find this group some backups who can contribute.
3.) Bruce Carter and Morris Claiborne aren’t going to enjoy watching this game tape. Both were beaten multiple times for big plays in pass coverage. Carter allowed two Danny Woodhead touchdowns – the first on a beautiful pass by Rivers – and Claiborne allowed big gains to multiple receivers, something that has happened often to the second-year corner this season. Claiborne, who is playing with a shoulder injury, hasn’t looked close to the playmaker he was at LSU.
4.) The best offensive play for the Cowboys on first down is a handoff to DeMarco Murray, especially when he’s averaging five yards per carry. Dallas did that on five of its first six first downs of the second half. That needs to continue. Murray’s healthy, so give it to him when the line is blocking well, which they did most of the time for him on Sunday.
5.) I don’t care if Dez Bryant is doubled-covered, he needs more opportunities when Dallas is trailing late in games. The Cowboys went 15 consecutive pass plays without throwing to Bryant in the fourth quarter. I will live and die with Bryant having the chance to make a big play.