The Dallas Cowboys opened the 2020 season on Sunday night with their highest expectations in recent memory bolstering them. After all, with an all-new coaching staff and a slew of fresh and exciting talent on their side, Dallas was a trendy pick to make a trip to Super Bowl LIV this February.
After Sunday night, however, many Cowboys fans were sent to an all-too-familiar feeling ... disappointment, as mistakes, conservatism, and bad luck sent them to a 20-17 loss to the Rams in Los Angeles.
Early on in the first half it was clear it might not be the Cowboys night, with three key players going down with injuries in seemingly domino-like fashion. Leighton Vander Esch was the first football casualty, leaving the game early on with a broken collarbone. Cam Erving the. followed soon after with a knee injury on a field goal attempt.
The biggest loss, however, was tight end Blake Jarwin, who went down with a non-contact knee injury, in what many believe to be a severe and possibility season-ending In nature.
Without their top tight end and one of their biggest pass-catching threats occupying the middle of the field, the Cowboys passing offense became stagnant and predictable, resulting in what many Cowboys fans were hoping to rid themselves of under this new regime.
One of the only highlights of the Cowboys offensive performance, was Ezekiel Elliott, who carried the ball 22 times for 96 yards and a touchdown, and hauled in three passes for 31 yards and another score.
QB Dak Prescott has a solid, albeit ultimately disappointing night - 17 points, after all - completing 25 of 39 passes for 266 yards and the touchdown pass to Elliott.
Amari Cooper also hauled in 10 catches for 81 yards, while rookie CeeDee Lamb added five catches for 59 yards.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough, as a missed field goal and a host of other mistakes later, Dallas is 0-1, and on their way back to The Star in Frisco to attempt to regroup.
Meanwhile, the Rams offense racked up 422 yards of offense, including 153 yards on the ground, and controlled the time of possession with a 35:38-24:22 advantage.
Back to the drawing board for the Cowboys? Sure. They will look to retool and reload their roster following the losses of so many key contributors. And then the Cowboys will hit the field again next Sunday, when they welcome the Atlanta Falcons to Arlington for their 2020 home opener. The Cowboys and Falcons last faced off in 2018, when Brett Maher hit a field goal as time expired to give Dallas the 22-19 win.
But they'll do so with some shine having been removed from the new season.
"It's unfortunate, but it's Game 1,'' Prescott said. "There's a lot of football left. I know this is a talented team. We're going to continue to work hard and get better and improve from this game. We'll never be satisfied with this result."