The pill of Aaron Rodgers doing Aaron Rodgers-things at the end of the fourth quarter to steal a victory in the final seconds in Dallas would be a lot easier to swallow, that is, had the Cowboys not blown a lead the week previous to the Los Angeles Rams. Instead, the Cowboys drop to 2-3 heading into their Week 6 bye after two gut-wrenching home losses, most recently at the hands of the Green Bay Packers, 35-31. Perhaps, the bye week couldn’t come at a better time as Dallas needs to reevaluate itself and get its season back on track.
Three Biggest Takeaways From Week 5: Cowboys Blow Another Lead At Home
Dak Prescott Outplayed Rodgers
Starting on a positive note, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was fantastic against the Packers. He was 25-of-36 passing for 251 yards and three touchdowns. He added a rushing touchdown to briefly put Dallas in front with a 1:13 left in the fourth quarter before the Packers came back to win.
Rodgers conversely completed 19-of-29 passes for 221 yards and also three scores, including the dagger to Davante Adams with 11 seconds remaining. Rodgers got the result in the end, but Prescott had better numbers and was let down by a shoddy defense.
Prescott was able to spread out those 25 completions to eight different receivers. The pass protection was not very good and Prescott was apt to step up in the pocket, escape the rush, keep his eyes downfield to make plays and even just throw it away when necessary. Because of Prescott’s maneuverability around the pocket, the Packers only registered four quarterback hits and one sack.
The Packers were banged up on the offensive line and it showed. Rodgers was sacked four times and visibly frustrated with the pass protection during the game.
The lone blemish on Prescott’s day wasn’t even his fault. A pass that went threw receiver Terrance Williams‘ hands early in the fourth quarter resulted in a Packers’ pick-six by Damarious Randall which was a turning point in the contest.
Week 5 Too Similar To Week 4
Like I said before, losing in Week 5 to the Packers by a late touchdown pass wouldn’t have been so bad, had the Cowboys been able to hold off the Rams the week previous. In Week 4, the Cowboys held first-half leads of 11 points twice and led by eight points at halftime. Against the Packers, Dallas jumped out to a 21-6 favor and was up 21-12 at the break. What is going on with Dallas’ halftime adjustments or lack thereof?
In addition, the Cowboys had back-breaking turnovers in each game against the Rams and Packers, while the Dallas defense has had zero takeaways. With a 17-6 advantage against Los Angeles in the second quarter, the Cowboys were dominating the game and getting the ball back on a Rams punt. Ryan Switzer muffed that punt and the Rams converted that into a touchdown shortly after. The Cowboys ultimately lost by five.
Early in the fourth quarter as mentioned above an interception returned for a touchdown gave the Packers a 28-24 lead. Dallas led by two points and had just forced a Packers punt.
Just think if Williams doesn’t have that ball glance off his hands…
The Cowboys then march down the field on a 79-yard drive in 17 plays and chew up 8:43 seconds off the clock to score a touchdown, which they did immediately following the turnover. That would have been the game. Alternatively, the Cowboys lost by four.
Sean Lee Is This Team’s Most Valuable Player
The anchor of the defense, Sean Lee, missed his second consecutive game and it showed. You could understand a running back like Todd Gurley rushing for 121 yards against a unit not operating at 100 percent in Week 4. But when a rookie, backup tailback does it the following week, you’ve got big problems. Aaron Jones beat up the Cowboys for 125 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown. The return of Anthony Hitchens from injury did very little to assist a linebacking unit that has struggled for most of the season. Bleacher Report’s Marcus Mosher points out that with Lee, the defense holds opponents to less than three touchdowns on average. Without him, offenses are scoring over 30 points a game. Additionally, Dallas has yielded 35 or more points in three of its last four contests.