Ravens 34, Cowboys 17: 10 'Whitty' Observations on what a Tuesday night NFL game looks like when Everything Goes Wrong ...
10. By my math, that’s two Tony Pollard kickoff returns this season – 67 yards against Washington and 66 Tuesday night –that have led to great field position/points. And about 104 of ’em – including two more against the Ravens – that have buried and doomed drives inside Dallas’ 15-yard line.
9. The Cowboys’ first possession resulted in a fourth-and-15 from their 37-yard line. Wonder how tempted Mike McCarthy was to dust off the ol’ fake punt?
8. Cowboys games played all-time: 989. Cowboys games played on Tuesday: 1. The COVID-caused quirk prompted the first NFL game played on a Tuesday since the Vikings had a home date moved by a blizzard in 2010 and only the second since 1946.
7. The Cowboys’ first half was a microcosm of their 2020: A delay-of-game penalty cost them five yards and, in turn, a 40-yard field-goal miss by Greg Zuerlein.
Blown assignments and missed tackles on defense.
A blatant, inexcusable, unflagged pass interference penalty by referees on the Ravens that cost Dallas about 25 yards in the two-minute drill.
And, finally, a gorgeous Andy Dalton Hail Mary heave that sailed 65 yards with a perfect arc and landed in the middle of the end zone to, sure enough, zip right through the leaping, outstretched hands of CeeDee Lamb.
For all that went wrong, Lamb holds on to that very catchable ball and the Cowboys are tied 17-17 at the half.
They left 10 points on the field in the first 30 minutes.
Said Dalton: “It’s frustrating to be in the position we’re in. All we can do is put our head down and work.”'
Yeah, but ... weren't they already "working'' just to get to this point?
6. The Cowboys’ search for their next Darren Woodson is going about as woefully as the Texas Rangers’ attempt to finally replace iconic catcher Pudge Rodriguez.
While Woodson is again a Pro Football Hall of Fame semifinalist, these Cowboys are left with the likes of Xavier Woods at safety.
Against the Ravens, he flailed haplessly on a sorta tackle attempt on the second allowed touchdown, later played a Lamar Jackson scramble embarrassingly passive and wound up only soft-shoving the quarterback out of bounds after he converted a third-down run, and literally tackled a Baltimore receiver even though the intended pass was overthrown by a good 10 yards.
Even Fox analyst Troy Aikman – not known for his sharp tongue – couldn’t hold back.
“That’s about as poor of safety play as you’ll see,” Aikman said after Woods’ egregious pass-interference penalty.
And after he played Patty Cake with Jackson, Aikman unleashed again: “You’d like a safety that can come up and be a thumper. (Woods) has a chance to make a play and hit Lamar Jackson short of the first down. But … I just don’t know exactly what this is. It’s not what you want to see from your safety, that’s for sure.”
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5. So, let’s be honest, a “weekend” for the NFC East we figured would be 0-4 actually turned out 2-2.
Not bad for a historically bad division’s four teams all going on the road against teams with winning records. In the first halves of the four games, the NFC East was outscored, 50-16.
For what it’s worth, the division’s four teams have each started multiple quarterbacks this season for the first time since 2004.
4. The Cowboys aren’t good. Evidence? You surrender 294 yards rushing on defense and, on offense, can’t punch it in from the 1-yard line on three consecutive handoffs to your best running back, Zeke Elliott.
They are certainly not good enough to squander 16 points.
Lamb’s Hail Mary catch was difficult but – he’s made better catches this season – doable. But I don’t blame you for throwing your headgear at the big screen because kicker Zuerlein produced a hat trick. Three field-goal misses: sliced right from 40, hooked left from 53 and pushed right from 52.
When the Cowboys play a clean game, they’re competitive. When they’re sloppy, it’s ugly.
3. The loss continues the Cowboys’ inexplicable failure against the Ravens. They’re now 1-5 against Baltimore, by far their worst record against any NFL opponent. The Cowboys lost their Texas Stadium finale to the Ravens and, for the record, haven’t won a Super Bowl (Jan. 28, 1996) since the Baltimore franchise was born (Feb. 8, 1996).
2. Trailing 24-10 early in the fourth quarter, the Cowboys had the Ravens in a third-and-3 at Dallas’ 21. Jaylon Smith was the one-on-one spy on Jackson. But the MVP quarterback nonchalantly danced and darted, with a trailing Smith finally ushering him out of bounds after a four-yard, first-down gain.
After the play, Smith and Jackson tapped each other’s helmet and exchanged big smiles. Bottom line: Smith thinks it’s funny that he and the Cowboys got punked by Jackson on national TV.
Just a different – re: horribly soft – mindset with these Cowboys.
I’ve been around long enough to cover Cowboys’ defensive players such as Randy White, Cliff Harris, DeMarcus Ware and Charles Haley and they 100-percent would not be smiling before, during or after a similarly inept performance. The Cowboys’ defense absolutely, visibly quit. And there’s nothing funny about that.
To quote Ravens’ offensive lineman Orlando Brown after Baltimore’s final waltz-in touchdown: “Easy money!”
1. Did we just watch a COVID super-spreader event because … #DezCaughtIt?
The popular hashtag born after Bryant’s controversial non-catch in Green Bay in 2014 sprouted new life Tuesday night after the receiver was yanked off the field less than 30 minutes before kickoff after testing positive. His initial test was inconclusive; second test at the stadium positive.
I mean, seriously, how was this game allowed to be played?
Given his test results, we have to assume Dez was positive/contagious. And because he was obviously around all the Ravens this week – and likely exchanged lotsa pre-game handshakes/hugs with Cowboys players and coaches (but apparently not the owner) – wasn't everyone put at risk of catching a virus that has killed almost 300,000 Americans?