The Dallas Cowboys were eliminated from playoff contention Sunday afternoon against the Seattle Seahawks. Coming into this game it felt like things were lining up for the Cowboys to sneak into the playoffs. The Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons had already lost and the Cowboys were getting Ezekiel Elliott back. Instead, the Cowboys had one of their worst games of the season. From not scoring a single touchdown to having three turnovers to Dan Bailey missing two field goals, things just didn’t go as planned and the Cowboys fell to 8-7 on the season.
The NFL is a league where just a handful of plays will determine whether you end up 8-8 or 11-5. That was definitely the case for the 2017 Cowboys.
Here are my seven plays that led to the Cowboys being 8-7 and eliminated with one game to play.
WEEK 4: RYAN SWITZER FUMBLE AGAINST THE LOS ANGELES RAMS
Ryan Switzers’ rookie season didn’t get off to the best start when it came to decision making. On this play, Switzer decided to field a punt with two defenders in his face. The Cowboys were up 17-6 and the offense was rolling. There is no doubt in my mind the Cowboys march down the field and at least make this a 20-6 game. Instead, the Rams went in for their first touchdown of the game after having to settle for field goals their previous two trips to the red zone.
WEEK 5: DEMARIOUS RANDALL PICK SIX
As we know, every possession is important especially in a game when Aaron Rodgers is on the other side. This interception came after the Cowboys had just gotten a big stop on defense. On the play, Dak Prescott was attempting to throw the ball to Terrance Williams and it went off his hands right into Randall’s hands for the pick six.
WEEK 5: 2nd AND 1 PASS AND SCORING ON 3RD AND ONE
This was a sequence that was talked about for two weeks since this was the game before the bye week. 11 weeks later and there is still no way you allow Aaron Rodgers to get the ball back with over a minute left with a timeout. This falls on the coaching staff.
Yes, it was a run pass option that allows Dak to make the decision based on what he is seeing from the defense, but in that situation you don’t call a run pass option because you essentially have three downs and two timeouts to get a yard to earn the new set of downs.
WEEK 5: AARON RODGERS ESCAPES TROUBLE ON 3RD AND 8
After giving Rodgers the ball back and letting him and the packers march right into field range, the Cowboys have chance to make a play on Rodgers and hold the packers to a field goal try. Mason Crosby had already missed two extra points on the day. Rodgers was able to get around Benson Mayowa and David Irving and pick up the first down.
WEEK 11: ANTHONY BROWN DROPPED INTERCEPTION
The Cowboys wound up losing this game 37-9 because of their inability to move the ball on offense. The defense was doing their job. They were able to hold the high flying Eagles offense to seven points in the first half. The dropped interception by Brown kept the score 9-7 at half instead of going into the half up 16-7.
WEEK 16: DEZ BRYANT FUMBLE
At this point in the game, Dez did not have a target and the cameras had just got done showing Dez on the sideline appearing frustrated. Demarcus Lawrence just got a big sack on Russell Wilson forcing the Seahawks to punt. On first down from around the 50, Prescott finds Dez who catches the ball, tries to make a move and has the ball punched out by Seahawks corner Byron Maxwell. The Seahawks immediately drive down the field and score a touchdown to take the lead 7-6.
WEEK 16: DAK PRESCOTT PICK SIX TO JUSTIN COLEMAN
At this point in the game the Cowboys are up 9-7 and moving the ball pretty well on the Seahawks defense, the Cowboys shot themselves in the foot once again. This time it was an overthrow from Dak, intended for Elliott. On this play, Cole Beasley is coming open across the middle of the field. Instead, Dak decided to check the ball down and even if Elliott is able to catch it he is most likely tackled immediately for a loss on the play.
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