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Eatman: Worst Time To Play Their Worst Game 


ARLINGTON, Texas – It's like a starving man that just won't eat the steak.

Or a bright-eyed toddler that refuses to open his presents under the tree.

It's about to be the season of giving and the Cowboys were basically hand-delivered package after package – not only Monday night but the day before as well.

Everything was right there set up perfectly for this team to at least get back on track and put themselves in prime position to strike here at the midway point.

Instead, the Cowboys basically said "no thanks" and decided to play their worst game of the season.

I'm sure it wasn't their worst game on offense statistically. It may or may not be their worst game defensively. And on special teams, it wasn't great, but maybe not their worst.

But add it all up, especially with what was at stake, and this was about as bad as it could get.

For all the "Coooooooop" cheers we heard early in the game, there was no mistaking the flat-out "Booooos" the fans were spewing out by the end of the game. And you can't really blame them.

They know what is facing this team in the second half of the season. They know the struggles that have already been starting this team in the face. But yet, with the Titans coming to town, this was about as winnable a game as you could find on the schedule.

It certainly wasn't supposed to be a two-touchdown defeat.

But it was because the Cowboys just simply couldn't rise to the occasion. They didn't take advantage of their bye week like it appeared the Titans did.

So they made a trade for Amari Cooper. That's cool, he looks like he's going to be pretty good. But where was this speed threat I thought he provided. I looked it up after the trade – more than half of his 19 career touchdowns before this game were on passes 30 yards or more. Yet, I don't remember really anything to him down the field.

Ok, so the Cowboys changed their offensive line coach after just seven games. It sounded like Marc Colombo was going to have these guys in more of an attack-mode, something they all seemed to be excited about.

For the first couple of series, it looked different. But once they got near the goal line, the Cowboys couldn't really get tough yards when they needed it the most. With that, it looked more of the same. And then came the second half when the penalties and sacks started to pile up.

Where were the adjustments? Usually, in the bye week, you see all kinds of new wrinkles but that wasn't there at all.

I can't say I've watched a lot of Titans football this year – or really ever – but it certainly seems like they played differently than the team that got shut out 21-0 by the Ravens a few weeks back. Seems like they adjusted a few things around in their bye week.

But not the Cowboys, who wait until they're down 28-14 inside of two minutes to run a reverse to Cole Beasley, who throws it down the sideline to Dak?

I get that Tavon Austin is faster than everyone else. But why are there no jet sweeps anymore because Austin is out with a groin injury? I guess there was one play to Jourdan Lewis did a fake reverse, but how about to a wide receiver who might double as a threat to go down the field. I know Deonte Thompson was once clocked at a 4.29. I'm sure he can run a jet sweep.

Ok what about running the ball with Dak. This guy nearly set a franchise record a few weeks back against Jacksonville's defense with over 80 yards rushing. It's been non-existent the last couple of games. I'm not talking about the scramble runs, but the designed read-options that force teams to make a decision on either Dak or Zeke.

And for the life of me, I just can't understand why they don't throw the ball down the field. In every game I watch, it seems like defensive backs can't run 10 yards without holding or making illegal contact or just downright interfering with the receiver. That alone would be worthy of an attempt every quarter, much less once a game.

Plus, I think you've got enough speed now where you can make some plays, and that might just soften up the middle.

But the Cowboys just don't try it – ever.

Of course, if you're still with me on this column, you're probably just saying (or screaming) something like "Just fire the coach!" Well, I honestly thought that was a possibility after this game.

Jerry Jones said afterwards that he's not planning to do that, not this week or at any time during the season. He also said he didn't anticipate any more coaching changes this year with the staff. Jones also said he gives his full support to the quarterback Dak Prescott.

So in terms of big changes, it doesn't look like that is happening right now. Somehow, someway the Cowboys must figure their way out of this. And good luck, because they've just road trips to Philly and Atlanta here in the next two weeks. 

Let's not act like the Eagles and Falcons are ruling the NFC right now. But the last two conference champions are at least playing better and always tough at home.

It won't be an easy task, especially if the Cowboys refuse to take advantage of their gifts like they did Monday night.