Eatman: They Lost it Long Before Final Kick 


LANDOVER, Md. – A penalty on the snap? A field-goal off the post? What about not getting more yards before the kick?

All of that are hot topics to discuss and will be debated for two weeks before this team finally gets to play again.

We can get into all of that as well, but let's not forget why the Cowboys are 3-4 and not 4-3.

The reason for this loss is because the Cowboys are simply bad on offense right now – especially on the road.

I wasn't buying into the road vs. home theory just yet. After six games, I thought it was a little more circumstantial and less of a trend. But I'm wrong now. After seven games, I think this is a real thing. And it's really the reason why the Cowboys lost to the Redskins 20-17 Sunday.

And I'd really like to call it something other than simply being on the road vs. being at home. But what else it? How else could you explain the fact the Cowboys score 40 points at home against the NFL's No. 1 defense and come back seven days later and can't even get half of that on the road against the Redskins.

Yeah, Washington has a good defense but I doubt it's better than the Jaguars. But all of a sudden, a little crowd noise gets mixed in here and they can't run the ball?

The Cowboys have one of the NFL's best players – not just best running backs – but one of the best players in the NFL in Ezekiel Elliott. But they have to figure out ways to get him involved. If it's not working inside, then try some sweeps to the outside. How about a few counters or some traps?

While I liked seeing Jordan Lewis run that jet sweep, it doesn't really solve the problem. Now, it's going to be hard to use him again because unlike receivers, he's not really a threat to run routes and make plays. But I did applaud the effort. My question there is why not anyone else to run that with Tavon Austin out for a few games? Deonte Thompson has proven that he's not really helping much as a pass-catcher, but I'm sure his speed could be utilized in other ways. He can't run the sweep or at least fake it?

They have to do more things open up this offense to create space for Zeke.

Last week, we saw them throw it deep a few times. Even when it doesn't connect, it's working. This week, it worked on a deep ball to Michael Gallup for a touchdown. But that's really all they did.

Thompson can run deep. Gallup can run more than one deep ball. This needs to be a part of the game plan because it's the only way to get the safeties back.

And what about Dak running? Yeah I know he fumbled on fourth-and-inches but you can't stop giving him a chance. I'm sure the Redskins did a better job of taking away some of the zone-reads, but you can't tell me Dak couldn't have run the ball more with called runs. I'm not talking about the ones where it breaks down and he took off, but plays where Dak is scheduled to run on the outside.

These plays soften up the middle and it allows Zeke more room to roam.

I really think the Cowboys don't like running the things that work two weeks in a row. Think back to the Giants game in Week 2. Dak run a lot and they threw it deep. But in Seattle the next week, they never throw it down the field and Dak didn't run at all.

It's been the same back and forth game plan every week. Oh yeah, it has been the same back and forth result as well.

The Cowboys couldn't sustain anything in the first three quarters and the reason was no consistency with Zeke. He's the guy that has to move the chains to make anything work. And when teams find a way to take that away, this team can't function at all – at least until the final five minutes when it's just no-huddle hurry-up.

But again, we all can see the issues. We all see that this team can't generate any offense on the road.

Just don't forget that's why this team didn't win on Sunday. Yeah, they had chances to steal a win at the very end.

But this game got away from them long before that.