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Mon., Dec. 22, 2014 2:00 PM to 2:25 PM CST
Instant Review: Staff Gives Early Analysis Following 17-16 Loss
KANSAS CITY – The staff writers of DallasCowboys.com shared their initial feelings of the Cowboys' 17-16 loss to the Chiefs.
I said this game would be a sloppy one that came down to the final few minutes, and I obviously feel pretty good about that. Ironically enough, I also said it would be the Cowboys' playmakers who made the difference. Dez Bryant dropped a catchable ball that would have gone for long yardage -- if not a touchdown. Minutes later, 2012 first round pick Morris Claiborne drew a flag that ruined the Cowboys' chances of a last-minute drive. Meanwhile, Alex Smith played a smart, effective game and Jamaal Charles grinded out tough yards when he needed to. Gutsy effort from Kansas City, blown opportunities by the Cowboys.
I thought Lance Dunbar might make a difference in this one, I just didn't think it would be for the reason he did. Dunbar's fumble began a series of unfortunate events for a Cowboys offense that continued to stall in the second half when it needed touchdowns. It was the low-scoring matchup I thought it would be and Dez Bryant did play a huge role like I thought he might, but the turnovers and red zone problems stalled the offensive attack for the Cowboys more than I thought it would.
Had a feeling that Sean Lee would have played better in this game than he did against the Giants. Lee was around the ball last week but against the Chiefs he was in more piles. In the first half, he was quick to read, react and was playing the game down hill. He had a couple of snaps where he could have had a tackle for loss but just over shot Jamaal Charles in the backfield. He was effective as a blitzer and even drew a holding call on a sack by Ware. But the second half was a different story. He was not in those piles and there was the 12 yard touchdown to Bowe where there were some questions in coverage. But where they needed him the most with three timeouts, they were unable to force the Chiefs to punt on the final drive and allowed them to kill the clock.
Those that listened to Friday's radio show know I picked KC but as I tried to write this, I just couldn't give a 2-win team last year it's second win. I should've stuck with it obviously. But I can't say I was really surprised by anything that happened in the game. This type of game is one the Cowboys needed to show us they could win. If you're a squad that can't run the football at all, the quarterback and passing game has to be sharp. They weren't. The defense played well enough to win overall, but they struggled early and late.
Here we're the gut feelings for staff writers Nick Eatman, Bryan Broaddus, David Helman and Rowan Kavner, posted Saturday before the team departed for Kansas City.
I know the Chiefs went 2-14 last year, I know they have rookie right tackle and I know their offense didn’t look all that amazing against Jacksonville. I still can’t shake the feeling that this will be a close, nasty, maybe slightly sloppy game decided by a touchdown or less. Arrowhead Stadium is going to be fired up for a 1-0 start and a new head coach. The Chiefs defense is going to be nasty – six sacks, 178 total yards and no offensive points allowed is impressive, I don’t care who you’re playing. I’m thinking this game will be up for grabs in the last five or six minutes, and the winner will be the team that makes a play. Fortunately for the Cowboys, I think they have more playmakers to rely on.
The Chiefs aren’t the same team from years past that should be taken for granted. I don’t want to take too much from their opening win against the Jags, but the stadium will be loud in the first home game of the season at Arrowhead and the defense has some legitimately talented pieces, particularly on the outside. I still think Dez finds a way to get open this week against some talented corners, and Lance Dunbar will make a difference with his touches. It’ll be a low-scoring affair and the Cowboys’ special teams units need to play a much more positive role than last year at this time to pull a close on out.
Well, this is my game I’ve had targeted since the schedule came out. I think it’ll tell a lot about this year. Sure, it’s only one game out of 16, but I still believe we’ll know if this team is any different by how they handle this game. I think Arrowhead will be buzzing from start to finish. I can see a big play early in the game for the Chiefs – something like a McCluster screen pass or a bomb to Donnie Avery. While I think the Cowboys are the better team, I keep harping back to last year’s game in Seattle. Then again, if we’re going with last year, Kansas City won just two games. Give me Cowboys, but close.
Last week against the Giants, it was a quiet game by Sean Lee’s standards. Lee was around the ball but he wasn’t in as many piles as we have been accustom to seeing him in the past. This game against the Chiefs is setting up to be the type of contest that he shines in. The Chiefs are going to try and run the ball with Jamaal Charles to make Alex Smith’s life easier. Sean Lee through his preparation knows that Charles cannot be successful running the ball in this game. My gut feeling is that Lee plays a huge role in keeping not only Jamaal Charles but this entire Kansas City running game in check.