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Passing Game Still Clunky In Another Road Loss


HOUSTON – It has become a trend at this point: Dak Prescott stands at a podium in the bowels of another team's stadium, searching for answers to a frustrating situation.

"One hundred percent, yeah. Obviously, it's frustrating," he said. "You lose your third road game straight, and as you said the offense hasn't been going. It hasn't been going on the road."

Give the Cowboys some credit, at least. Sunday night's loss to Houston was their best performance on the road this season – although that isn't saying a lot.

It was an improvement from forgettable efforts in Carolina and Seattle, but the Cowboys still finished with just 16 points, 292 total yards and a host of missed opportunities. At the center of it all was Prescott, who fought admirably against a relentless Houston front but couldn't seem to string together consistent plays.

"You've got to be consistent. As far as us, we haven't won on the road yet," said Allen Hurns. "We've got to find a way, man. Just be consistent and win games and get on a groove where we can keep stacking them up."

At the outset, it looked like that might happen. The Cowboys opened the night with two consecutive field goal drives, one of which covered 66 yards over nine plays. It turned out not to be a sign of things to come. Hurns did manage a three-yard touchdown grab on the opening possession of the second half, but the Cowboys wouldn't find the red zone any other times on the night.

"In this league, if you want to win, a field goal is not going to do it – especially playing against this caliber of offense," Hurns said. "They're going to score points and make big plays. So once we get down there, we've got to capitalize."

A big part of that was Houston's success against the run, as the Texans limited Ezekiel Elliott to a pedestrian 54 yards on 20 carries.

Despite that, the headline-grabbing development was Prescott's continued inability to hit his stride with his receivers. The third-year quarterback was intercepted twice, both of them coming on tipped balls – the first of which clanged off of Tavon Austin's hands, while the second was intended for Deonte Thompson but was batted into the air and picked off by Justin Reid.

Those two plays highlighted another week of inability to get on the same page in the passing game. Thompson dropped a crucial third down pass after an impressive Prescott escape from Jadeveon Clowney, while the Cowboys couldn't get Cole Beasley involved until overtime.

"Those guys want to make those plays. It's not something you can just beat them down," Prescott said. "Obviously, they're out there playing and playing their ass of and trying to be the best they can and they just didn't make the play."

Why this keeps happening on the road isn't something the Cowboys can answer, but three games seem to indicate a trend. As they inch toward the halfway point of the season, Prescott knows they don't have the luxury of time to figure it out.

"The time is now. You can't sit around and bank on that in this league," he said. "When you do, obviously, you lose games like we have. We've got to get it together and we've got to get it together fast and make sure our chemistry is where we need it to be to give ourselves a chance."