Last week, the Cowboys were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. Yesterday, they just needed to play hard to find a way to beat Buffalo and return to Dallas with some pride, but they didn’t get the job done, and lost 16-6.
Here are my thoughts on the Cowboys performance
Offense: Mediocre. Only 307 yards of total offense, fourteen first-downs, and for the fourth time this season, they failed to score a touchdown, despite being in the red zone once, and having 28:30 of ball possession. Kellen Moore started for the first time in his career, but it didn’t go the way he hoped it would. He completed 42 percent of his passes, with only 186 yards threw the air, and threw one interception, and no touchdowns. Dez Bryant did not play in this game due to knee/ankle injuries, so Brice Butler filled in for him, and finished with four catches for 74 yards. Jason Witten broke another Cowboys record, with 118 straight games with a catch, a record that was previously held by WR Michael Irvin. The running game went smooth. Darren McFadden ran the ball 19 times for 99 yards, averaging a little over five yards per carry, but it wasn’t enough to reach the end zone. For this performance, offense gets a C.
Defense: Defense did their best. They never quit. They did allow 408 yards of total offense, but they still found ways to keep the Cowboys in the game with a chance to take the lead, but the offense just couldn’t get it done. They only allowed Buffalo to convert six first-downs, and intercepted a pass in the end zone, and recovered a fumble, but as I said before, the offense failed to take advantage. The defense did struggle to stop the tough Bills running offense, and allowed Buffalo to run for over 230 yards, but they only allowed the Bills offense to go 1-4 in the red zone. They even got to the quarterback three times in this game. Overall, they did a great job. Despite allowing over 4oo yards of offense, they forced two turnovers, got three sacks, and made great stops especially in the red zone, so the defense deserves an A.
Special Teams: Dan Baily showed off his kicking talents again, but he did miss one field goal attempt, which was only his second time this season. He did punch two more in, and he’s now 30 for 32 on the season. Chris Jones also again showed off his punting skills with some great punts, two of which gave Buffalo terrible field position. Lucky Whitehead returned only one kickoff for 15 yards, but he fumbled the ball, but it was at the end of the game. Whitehead returned two punts as well, for a total of only 32 yards. Special Teams gets a B+ due to the Whitehead fumble.
This Sunday, the Cowboys will take on the 2015 NFC East Champions, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins secured the division after they beat Philadelphia last week. The Cowboys need to practice hard and somehow, someway find a way to seal their season with a win against the arch-rivals. They beat Washington a few weeks ago, and they need to do it again.