Two Stats That Show How Hapless the Cowboys’ Offense Was in Andy Dalton’s First Start

In Tuesday’s Hot Clicks: Andy Dalton’s atrocious first start for Dallas, Doc Emrick says goodbye and more.
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Somebody has to win the NFC East

I’ll be honest right off the bat: I didn’t watch the Cowboys-Cardinals Monday Night Football game. I watched most of the afternoon game while cooking and eating dinner because the Chiefs are always fun and the Bills are surprisingly feisty but decided I didn’t need to suck on a lemon peel for dessert by subjecting myself to more abominable NFC East football. (Sunday’s Giants-Washington stinker was enough.)

Still, I think I have a pretty good idea of how the game went for Dallas after watching just this one play. 

Yikes. 

This one works pretty well, too. 

The Cowboys lost, 38–10. They fell behind 21–0 with just under five minutes left in the second quarter and never even made it interesting. 

Everyone knew there was going to be a drop-off between Dak Prescott and Andy Dalton, but Dalton’s performance was exactly the kind of game that drives fans nuts. He completed 34 of 54 pass attempts for just 266 yards, with a touchdown and two picks. While the Cardinals ripped off huge chunks of yardage (averaging 7.3 yards per play), the Cowboys dinked and dunked their way down the field to the tune of 4.1 yards per play. 

Put another way, the Cowboys were the first team to get blown out by 25 or more points when their quarterback completed at least 25 more passes than the opposing QB. History!

Dalton’s stat line is rare in another way, too. Only 55 times in NFL history (since 1950) has a quarterback attempted at least 50 passes in a game and averaged five yards or fewer per attempt. The list of players to do that includes such luminaries as Mitchell Trubisky, Zach Mettenberger, Joe Flacco (four times!) and Ryan Mallett. In fairness, Tom Brady, Cam Newton, Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers have also done it. So has Dak Prescott

But the thing that makes it interesting is that, out of the 55 games that match that criteria, only twice has that resulted in a win (Joe Flacco over the Vikings in 2013 and Donovan McNabb over the Steelers in 2000). Dalton even had the third-best completion percentage of any game on that list of 55, but that’s still not a recipe for success. You’re just not going to win a game with the death-by-a-thousand-cuts approach. 

It wasn’t all Dalton’s fault, of course. Stud guard Zack Martin left the game with a concussion, the latest blow to a depleted Dallas offensive line, and Ezekiel Elliott lost two fumbles. It was an all-around disaster for the Cowboys’ offense. 

The defense is also hot garbage. 

And yet, Dallas is still in first place in the division! Whoever wins the NFC East is going to lose by 35 in the first round of the playoffs. 

Who wants free stuff? 

RedVines Sourpunch Package

How’s this for socially distant trick-or-treating? I’m giving away a whole bunch of candy over email. 

American Licorice Company makes all sorts of candies but is best known for RedVines and Sour Punch, which are the two that we’re giving away today. The special Halloween-themed “Mummy Mix” is a combination of three different varieties of Sour Punch candies. Winners will get a 46-oz. Mummy Mix bag, as well as a package of RedVines. 

  • Go back to Monday’s Hot Clicks
  • Find the number of yards Joe Flacco lost on his ridiculous sack
  • Send me an email (dan.gartland@si.com) with the subject line candy giveaway and the correct answer in the body
  • The 25th, 50th, 75th, 100th and 150th persons to email me following those instructions will win

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A good song

Email dan.gartland@si.com with any feedback or follow me on Twitter for approximately one half-decent baseball joke per week. Bookmark this page to see previous editions of Hot Clicks and find the newest edition every day. By popular request I’ve made a Spotify playlist of the music featured here. Visit our Extra Mustard page throughout each day for more offbeat sports stories.