By Alex Al-Kazzaz
Bill Belichick must be in quite a miserable state of mind right now. He suffered the worst loss in his 29-year career as an NFL head coach. It must feel good for Dallas to go from retiring Tom Brady to giving Belichick a 35-point loss. However, while they improve to 3-1, Dallas has yet to face serious competition. But that ends this week, as they'll face the undefeated 49ers on Sunday.
After being humiliated by Arizona, Dallas had to find a way to bounce back. A 38-3 win over the New England Patriots is good, but the question remains: Who has Dallas beaten so far that is good? Nobody. And with Dallas' offense struggling in the red zone, the pressure increases dramatically. With Dallas' remaining schedule only getting difficult from now on, the fun and games are over. It's time for the Cowboys to get serious.
After Dallas made it 3-0 on the game's opening drive, Mac Jones was briefly able to keep the Patriots in it as they drove down the field and kicked a field goal of their own. After Dak Prescott's brilliant 20-yard touchdown pass to CeeDee Lamb, the Patriots attempted to respond, but a turnover-on-downs halted their momentum, and New England never recovered from it. Jones and the Patriots' offense committed three turnovers, had only ten first downs, and went 4-for-13 on third down. Former Cowboy Ezekiel Elliott didn't have a good day despite a warm welcome back to AT&T stadium.
A fumble return for a touchdown and a pick-six gave Dallas a 28-3 lead at halftime. Jones & Company got the ball to start the second half, but Jones' second interception on a fourth down put the final nail in the coffin. Da'Ron Bland's two interceptions today give him his second career game with multiple interceptions. Leighton Vader Esch's fumble return touchdown is the first in his career. In addition, the defense registered two sacks.
Despite a few hiccups, the defense appears to be back on track. Despite the red zone struggles and Prescott being sacked three times, the offense looked better this week. The running game amassed over 120 yards, while the passing game had over 250. Prescott did not have any interceptions, and the offense had no turnovers.
On October 8th, the Cowboys have a score to settle with the 49ers. The odds are not in Dallas' favor going into this game. Brock Purdy and the 49ers easily made an example of the same Arizona Cardinals team that embarrassed Dallas, which is just another punch in the gut for Prescott and company.
The only challenge the 49ers have had so far may have been their 30-23 win over the Los Angeles Rams. Still, based on how the Rams lost to Cincinnati and their win against the Indianapolis Colts, it can be argued that San Francisco hasn't faced any serious competition.
The 49ers' circumstances should be the last thing on the Cowboys' minds. Dallas is going to have their hands full against a dominant 49ers team. Since Dallas' schedule is only getting more difficult moving forward, they're NOT the team with nothing to lose. If Dallas were to pull off the upset, San Francisco could recover, but if Dallas is blown out, the same can't be said about recovery.
(Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)