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Back To The Future: Cowboys Had Trouble Adapting Early To Suspension & Injuries

(Editor's Note: The 2017 Cowboys finished with a winning record, but they fell out of the playoffs in a disappointing follow-up to a 13-3 season. As the team seeks to find a way back to the postseason, the writers of will look back at last year, picking a positive and a negative from all 16 games that might be something to either build on or correct as we head into the 2018 season.)

The best views of the Dallas Cowboys Week 10 game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA.

Game 9: Falcons 27, Cowboys 7

As it turned out, this proved to not only be the turning point of the 2017 season, but one could argue that losing to Atlanta kept the Cowboys out of the playoffs. The Cowboys missed the postseason by one game, and saw the Falcons advance as the No. 6 and final seed. But this one really wasn't close in the second half. The Cowboys had absolutely no answer for the Falcons' pass rush, led by Adrian Clayborn and his six sacks against Chaz Green and Byron Bell. The Cowboys' first trip to Atlanta's new stadium was an ugly one, as they were outplayed in the 20-point loss.

Encouraging: It's easy to say "none" and move on to the next category. But other than seeing the playmaking ability rookie Xavier Woods has with his diving interception, there isn't much positive to come from this game. While it took a disastrous performance to find out, the Cowboys at least realized that the "Next Man Up" philosophy has some flaws, especially when trying to play the likes of Chaz Green or Byron Bell in Tyron Smith's place, or even Alfred Morris replacing Ezekiel Elliott.  

Discouraging: Where to begin here. It was discouraging to see the lack of depth the Cowboys had created from the entire roster. Then again, losing the two best offensive players and the best defensive player in one game would probably lead to a blowout loss for any team. The Cowboys had no one to replace Sean Lee or Tyron Smith and while Alfred Morris had a couple of nice runs in the second half, the running game was a non-factor without Zeke.  

The best views of the Dallas Cowboys Week 11 game against the Philadelphia Eagles at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX.

Game 10: Eagles 37, Cowboys 9

The Cowboys looked competitive for a half. It was more than ugly for the other half. The end result was a 28-point loss to their division rivals, all but clinching the division for the Eagles. But that was the least of the Cowboys' concerns as they now went two straight games without scoring a point in the second half. However, it was going to get worse before it got better.

Encouraging: Leading at the half was a sign of encouragement for a Cowboys team that was embarrassed the week before in Atlanta. The Cowboys were able to establish an offensive rhythm but just couldn't get touchdowns. The defense was flying around the ball and keeping the Eagles in check. So the fact they were able to hang around was a good sign. What happened in the second half was not.

Discouraging: Losing by 28 points at home is never a good thing – ever. There's no reason for an NFL team to be blown out like that, especially considering they were outscored 30-0 in the second. Again, the lack of depth was evident as the Cowboys weren't able to sustain any first-half success. The game was another example of the opposing team taking the ball to start the second half and scoring, something that occurred four times in a five-game span.


Games 1 & 2  |  Games 3 &4  |  Games 5 & 6 |  Games 7 & 8

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