The Dallas Cowboys continue to have a difficult time starting a season 2-0. It has only happened three times over the last 17 seasons and the Kansas City Chiefs made sure it wouldn’t be four times in 18 years.
Here are my five thoughts on the Cowboys dropping to 1-1 after losing in Kansas City 17-16 on Sunday.
1. Yes, it wasn’t as bad as the debacle in Seattle in Week 2 last season but it ended with the same result. All of the blown opportunities should make the Cowboys feel sick. The offense had multiple chances in the fourth quarter to answer with a go-ahead scoring drive but it never happened. Several short Tony Romo passes sailed wide and one of his best deep balls was dropped by Dez Bryant. The worst defensive play of the day came from Morris Claiborne, who was called for pass interference on a pass attempt to Donnie Avery that likely wouldn’t have resulted in a first down. Had the second-year corner not committed the infraction, Dallas would’ve had a couple minutes to get in range of a game-winning field goal.
2. The defense didn’t force any turnovers but that doesn’t mean they didn’t have a solid showing. Yes, they gave up two long drives, which led to 14 points. The Cowboys should win a lot of games if their defense holds opponents to 14 points. Monte Kiffin’s group did its part for the second consecutive week. And remember, they’re still learning the system. If DeMarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer, Jason Hatcher, Sean Lee, Bruce Carter, Brandon Carr and a few others can stay healthy, this group should be a strength.
3. Could the running game look any worse? You want to know why the Cowboys pass so much? Well, it’s because they can’t run the football. Dallas ran 16 times for only 36 yards on Sunday. If you didn’t know, that’s terrible. The addition of Brian Waters should help, but this doesn’t appear to be a problem that will be fixed over night. No running game means a lot of long third down attempts for Romo. How has that worked out? After converting 5-of-15 third downs against the New York Giants, the Cowboys were 3-of-11 on Sunday. You don’t win in the NFL converting only three third downs.
4. While Dez Bryant did have a terrible fourth quarter drop, that doesn’t mean the Cowboys should not be giving him more opportunities to make plays, especially when he’s dominating his coverage. Up until that drop, he was unstoppable. He had 100 yards in the first quarter! Brandon Flowers, one of the better corners in the league had no answer for him and the Cowboys stopped taking advantage of the mismatch in the second quarter. During 17 offensive snaps in the second quarter, the Cowboys went to Bryant twice. I think that was a mistake.
5. It sure is nice having Dan Bailey. The third-year kicker is 6-of-6 on field-goal attempts this season and they all certainly haven’t been easy. On Sunday, Bailey drilled a career-long 53 yarder. The other two were from 51 and 30 yards, respectively. It would be difficult to find a kicker better than Bailey is right now.