Dak Prescott played phenomenally in the Cowboys opening game, but he and his teammates ultimately lost. How do they improve for Week 2?
Dak Prescott, in his return from ankle surgery, did his best to spoil the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ championship banner night. But the Dallas Cowboys ultimately fell victim to another classic Brady game-winning drive.
Despite the loss, Cowboys fans have to be excited about what they saw out of their quarterback. After missing 11 games last season, and an off-season riddled with concerns about a mysterious shoulder injury, Prescott showed out, throwing for 403 yards, three touchdowns, one interception and completing 42-of-58 passes.
What should concern Cowboys fans, is everything else. Because even with Prescott’s stellar night, they still lost. Here are the three improvements they must make not to waste Dak Prescott’s comeback season.
The Cowboys have to improve their rushing attack…
Everyone saw the summer headlines about how Ezekiel Elliott slimmed down and is in the best shape of his life, but he wasn’t a factor in last night’s game. He only had 11 carries for 33 yards. The Cowboys as a whole had 18 rushing attempts for 60 yards. This could have been the game plan because of the Buccaneers’ incredible defensive front. It could be because six-time All-Pro guard, Zack Martin was out with COVID. Whatever the reason, the Cowboys must figure it out and get the run game going, because having your quarterback, who is getting MRIs every two weeks, throw 58 times a game is not optimal.
… and their defense…
Even with two interceptions and two fumble recoveries, and a star performance by Trevon Diggs in his coverage on Mike Evans, the Cowboys’ defense was still carved up by Brady and the Buccaneers. They gave up 379 passing yards and four touchdowns through the air, looking much like they did last season, even with new additions. Micah Parsons, who has all the talent in the world, was picked on by Brady over the middle throughout the game. His development will come along with more experience. The rest of the defense will need to improve with him.
… and their kicking game
Greg Zuerlein had a rollercoaster of a night. After making his first PAT, he missed a 31-yard field goal and an extra point attempt. He would go on to redeem himself throughout the game finishing 3-of-5 on field goals, including a 48-yarder to put them ahead by one point with 1:24 left. Even with his early troubles, he would’ve gotten away with it if it wasn’t for that meddling Tom Brady.
Tom Brady aside, that type of inconsistency isn’t good for the kicking game. With a high-powered offense, you would like to have a dependable kicker that you can trust to knock in chip shots. If the Cowboys want to improve from last year, they are going to have to play better around their elite quarterback who is making up for lost time.