To say the 2020 Dallas Cowboys have been a disaster is an understatement, but after yet an embarrassing 23-9 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday Night Football, things may have reached a new low.
Valleys were prevalent, memes were made, and the Cowboys fell to an abysmal 2-6 overall, the likes of which the team hasn't seen since the 2015 season. That year, then Cowboys QB Tony Romo was lost to a broken collarbone in Week 2 against (you guessed it) the Philadelphia Eagles, before making a brief return in Weeks 11 and 12, where he would suffer yet another injury.
The Cowboys started that season 2-7, and finished 4-12
However, Sunday wasn't ALL a negative for Dallas, as there were a select few things that this team can build on heading into next week's matchup against the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers. Well, sort of.
In a night of so many hilarious errors and cringe-inducing moments, there will still a couple of things about the Cowboys' performance that deserves some recognition. ... The first of which is hard to consider truly 'Good', so ... we'll just go with the 'OK' designation.
Most notably, the Cowboys really did play with a lot of effort on Sunday night. We know, we know... cliché, right? But it's true. For the first time all season, no Cowboys critic will deny that it was one of their most admirable performances of the year.
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Ultimately, that effort is a very difficult thing to measure but considering less than a month ago safety Xavier Woods seemingly exposed the team's lack of effort to the world, Sunday night was a step in the right direction.
And the fact that they could play with that kind of effort, despite the frustrating nature of the game, and frankly the season to this point, was surprising.
And, perhaps unsurprisingly (depending on how you look at it) that effort led to the team's best defensive performance of the season, in which they forced four turnovers, and held the Eagles down for the vast majority of the game.
Which leads us to our other good takeaway from the night, rookie cornerback Trevon Diggs.
Diggs has had a challenging 2020. Most of that is due to the fact that he has been asked, as a rookie, to shadow the opposition's top wideouts nearly every week. That list of wideouts has included Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, D.K. Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry, DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk and Terry McLaurin.
This week was tough as well, with Diggs spending the Eagles game fighting off rookie speedster Jaelon Reagor and second-year sensation Travis Fulgham.
This week, however, while he was far from perfect, Diggs had a career day, intercepting two Carson Wentz passes (the first two of Trevon's career), batting down four passes, and leading the team in tackles with seven total.
If nothing else, it was truly a performance to build on for the 22-year-old, as he heads into yet another tough matchup next week against Ben Roethlisberger and his dynamic receiver pairing of JuJu Smith-Schuster and Chase Claypool.
It's hard to blame the offense's ineptitude on a single factor. After all, as we have seen in years past, losing your star starting quarterback often leads to disastrous results. Compound that by starting a seventh-round rookie quarterback, fielding a patchwork offensive line and getting too cute with your play-calling, and you're gonna have a bad time.
Sunday night was that and more offensively for the 'Boys, as they floundered their way to just nine points and 265 total yards against what can only be considered an aggressively average Eagles defense.
(Sidebar: Come the end of the season, let's pay Dak his money, Jones family.
What makes that so, so, so much worse, however, is that this offense was gift-wrapped the ball four times (FOUR TIMES) by the anemically-inept Carson Wentz, and still failed to break double digits in points for the evening.
In fact, the Cowboys responded to Wentz's early Christmas presents with a fumble of their own, a 49-yard field goal, a punt, and a missed field goal.
The offensive line was porous, allowing their quarterback to get sacked four times, and get hit an additional seven times. They also allowed 10 tackles for loss.
Speaking of quarterbacks, Ben DiNucci, who by all measures should never have been asked to throw a football in the 2020 football season, simply couldn't handle the job on Sunday. That's not entirely his fault, either. Seventh-round rookies should never be asked to start a Sunday night football game, much less for that start to be the first of his career.
Still, the selection of DiNucci was not the Cowboys equivalent to the Dallas Mavericks selecting Satnam Singh in 2015. DiNucci has good traits and had a history of success in college with James Madison that, frankly, was every bit as impressive as Tony Romo's college resumé.
In the end, however, it was just too much for DiNucci to handle, and the results speak for themselves.
After Sunday night's drubbing at the hands of a very bad Eagles team, the Cowboys are officially a national embarrassment.
They have fallen to 2-6, a mark that no team in the history of the NFL has managed to come back from to make the playoffs. To make things worse, the Cowboys have (for the most part) been far from competitive in these losses.
In fact, this has reached a point where the Cowboys are mostly a meme.
They are constantly the butt of jokes on social media, they make weekly appearances in lowlight reels on national outlets, and the play-by-play announcers are laughing their way through the games.
And that treatment has not been limited to the players and the coaches, either...
Much of this is due to Dallas' high profile - "America's Team'' and all of that. Still ... For a team that had Super Bowl expectations coming into the season, not 8-8 expectations, or playoff expectations, but SUPER BOWL expectations, 2020 now truly feels like an all-time low for the Dallas Cowboys.
Yes, 'the 20-plus years since an NFC Championship Game appearance' jokes are old and tired, much like we all were after Sunday night's eye-gouging of a football game, but now, they are more relevant than ever.
The year 2020 could arguably include the most disappointing season of the last two-and-a-half decades for "America's Team,'' leading to the big question ...
How much more "Bad'' and "Ugly'' can it get from here?