MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Dak Prescott and the offense got off to a blazing-hot start on their first drive of the game against the Miami Dolphins, but things came to a screeching halt by way of a fumbled handoff on the one-yard line that wiped the potential for any points off of the board; and the Dallas Cowboys spent the remainder of the game chasing their breath.
It was a far better showing than the one put on film against the Buffalo Bills, but ultimately wasn't enough as they fell 22-20 on a game-winning field goal as time expired in Miami.
"It's frustrating," said quarterback Dak Prescott.
They now fall to 3-5 on the road and the struggles with untimely penalties and, in the absence of Tyron Smith, protection on dropbacks resurfaced in a big way.
Prescott, with the assistance of CeeDee Lamb and a fourth-quarter toe drag touchdown by Brandin Cooks to give the Cowboys a lead with less than four minutes left in regulation, nearly overcame several stalled drives to deliver a harrowing comeback victory against one of the best teams in the NFL.
A facemask penalty on the final Cowboys' defensive drive not only jump started the eventual game-winning drive for the Dolphins, but it marked the latest road error the Cowboys couldn't afford to make. This contest felt eerily like what occurred in Philadelphia against the Eagles, in that it was a game of inches the Cowboys should've won, if not for self-inflicted wounds that put the victory narrowly out of their reach.
"It's frustrating that [we had a] dead spot in the middle of the game for the offense after the first two drives, when we couldn't get anything going again," said Prescott. "We come back in the second half and we're a little dry there [as well]. We finally got rolling and got some points on the board and took the lead, and our defense did a hell of a job.
"This is one that's on everybody and it sucks, but we definitely took a step over last week's game in getting some points. We played a hell of a team here on the road, and we'll have to build off of it. We'll have to use the good and make sure we get better from the things that weren't up to standard."
Of course, this will embolden the narrative that says the Cowboys can't defeat good teams on the road, and that they will have a difficult time achieving a deep playoff run because of it.
"I guess it feeds [the narrative], we didn't come out with the win," said Prescott. "But I can tell you the confidence is high with this group. It sucks. It hurts, especially in the manner in which we lost this one. But the confidence is high and we understand we can. Obviously, we haven't done it but we will. And it looks like we'll be going on the road [in the playoffs].
We've got one more this regular season to dial it in, get a win and carry it over."
Up next comes the Detroit Lions, one of the best teams in the NFC and one that can not be overlooked, particularly if you're the Cowboys — trying to stop the bleeding of a two-game losing streak (their first since November 2021).
"It's about moving forward and understanding what's ahead of us" Prescott added. "And we're gonna improve again and, obviously, we're going back home on Saturday and it's a place we've been winning but we've got to make sure we can't lean on the fact we're at home. This isn't gonna be easy. This is another great team coming in."
After that, they'll have one more chance, and just one, to try and cure their road ills without consequence, because up next comes January and it's either win … or go home for good.
"We've gotta defend that and then take that confidence, go out to Washington and get that win," said Prescott. "And that'll be the one that starts the streak."