If these types of Sundays didn’t happen just so often you could look past what the Dallas Cowboys did in the desert as “one of those afternoons.”
No “contender” has more of these types of days more than the Dallas Cowboys.
Those days that come just when you start to buy-in, when they exercise their magical power to remind you that they will ultimately crush your soul.
The Cowboys had a share of difficult injury situations to deal with heading into their game against the Cardinals on Sunday, but nothing can excuse how poorly they played against a vastly inferior opponent.
Start with the fact the Cardinals were 0-2, and starting not Kyler Murray at quarterback but rather Josh Dobbs.
The same Josh Dobbs who has played for Pittsburgh, Tennessee and now Arizona. Before Sunday’s game, he was 0-4 in his career as an NFL starting quarterback.
Against the Cowboys and their new “Doomsday Defense,” Josh Dobbs turned into a cross among Roger Staubach, Lamar Jackson, Beyonce, Moses, and Jeff Bezos. The guy could do everything.
Dobbs led the Cardinals to a 28-16 win against the Cowboys, and the humane thing to do here is to stop.
The Cardinals were 11-point underdogs, and pulled off an upset that should not surprise a single Cowboys fan.
A game like this merits further discussion. Because it was awful. Because it was like taking every sharp object in your house and pointing them all at your eyes. At your heart. At your private area.
Fairness demands we get the excuses out of the way:
The Cowboys were missing Pro Bowl cornerback Trevon Diggs, who suffered a season-ending ACL injury earlier in the week.
He’s not the reason the defense built a four-lane road for the Arizona Cardinals, and then handed their ball carriers a FastPass, too.
The Cowboys were missing three starting offensive lineman: left tackle Tyron Smith, guard Zack Martin and center Tyler Biadasz.
The Cowboys counting on Tyron Smith to remain healthy given his age (32), and injury history, was always a terrible risk. That risk got ‘em after only two weeks.
Those absences hurt the Cowboys, and they had nothing to do with brain-dead play calling. The idea that former offensive coordinator Kellen Moore was “the problem,” was always a bit of a stretch.
Those absences hurt the Cowboys, and they had nothing to do with red zone efficiency that saw the Cowboys score six points on five trips inside the 20.
Those absences hurt the Cowboys, and they had nothing to do with a run defense that allowed the Cardinals to average more than 8 yards a carry.
Those absences hurt the Cowboys, and they had nothing to do with a run defense that allowed the Cardinals to run for more than 220 yards.
Those are Oregon vs. Colorado numbers.
Those absences hurt the Cowboys, and they had nothing to do with the Cowboys committing 13 penalties for 107 yards.
“Dallas was asleep,” Fox sports NFL analyst Jimmy Johnson said. “They weren’t ready to play the game.”
Can I get an amen?!
Those absences hurt the Cowboys, and they had nothing to do with Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott dipping into his bag of tricks to throw an interception at a point in the game when he could not throw an interception.
With a bit more than three minutes remaining in the game, and the Cowboys offense steadily moving the ball, they reached the Cardinals’ 6-yard line.
They needed a touchdown, a stop on defense, and they would have a chance to win.
Dak forced it, and threw a ball for receiver Brandin Cooks in the end zone. There were three Cardinals to one Cowboy in the area, and linebacker Kyzir White picked it off.
Dak, a professional tip: If you are tired of hearing about your interceptions, don’t throw them.
“The (linebacker) did a good job of playing it. I tried to look him away and then put it by his ear. I knew it was going to be a tough throw. I tried to make the throw,” Dak told the media after the game. “Obviously the backer made a great play. I got to live with that.”
As do the Cowboys.
It was his first interception of the season, but this one is going to come up a lot this week. He didn’t play well on Sunday.
The Cowboys had 416 yards, ran for 185, and had the ball for more than 34 minutes. Those numbers say the Cowboys should have won.
They didn’t, of course.
Those absences hurt the Cowboys, but they are not the reason they lost to the Arizona Cardinals.
The reason the Dallas Cowboys lost to the Arizona Cardinals isn’t complicated.
They’re the Dallas Cowboys, and this is just what they do.
It’s not like we’re not used to it.