Under the bright lights of Jerry World and the spotlight of Sunday Night Football, the Dallas Cowboys once again struggled to get things rolling in the first quarter.
The Minnesota Vikings won the coin toss electing to defer to the second half. It was now on Dak Prescott and the offense to jump out early and set the tone. It seemed Dallas would answer the challenge as they started to move the ball on their first drive. Ultimately, the drive would stall, forcing the Cowboys to attempt a Brett Maher 57-yard field goal. Maher pushed the ball well left, giving the ball to the Viking near mid-field. Minnesota then wasted no time driving down the field. With big plays from Dalvin Cook, Kirk Cousins topped the drive off with a touchdown pass to Kyle Rudolph. Minnesota would wind up scoring again on their second possession. Eventually, the Cowboys started moving the ball and would go into half-time down 17-14.
First Quarter Woes
Although Dallas hosts the number one overall offense in the NFL and tallied 443 yards of offense against Minnesota, they continue to struggle and fall behind early. This then forces Dallas to play from behind and abandon what has typically led them to wins, the run. When the Cowboys can effectively run the ball, they can control the tempo of the game and impose their will on opposing defenses. This year Dallas has not been able to do so out the gate. America’s Team is averaging an abysmal 4.1 points in the first quarter this year and being outscored 55-37. What makes this stat mind-boggling is they are outscoring opponents 251-170 overall. Yet, the Cowboys sit at 5-4 heading into week 11, struggling to keep their lead in the NFC East.
The Cowboys must find ways to win and put up points in the first quarter. Three of their next four games are on the road with their lone home game against the Buffalo Bills on Thanksgiving. The other three games come against the Lions, Patriots, and Bears. It’s not crazy to think that Dallas can win three of the next four games. Their toughest match comes against Tom Brady and the Patriots in Foxborough week 13. No matter the opponent, one thing is for certain, Dallas needs to find a way to dominate for an entire 60 minutes of the game. If the Cowboys can’t overcome these first-quarter woes, they will be watching the playoffs from home yet again. Leaving Jerry Jones and the fans without a Superbowl appearance since January 28, 1996, when they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-17.