KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The big showdown between Dallas and Kansas City was a dud.
Well, it depends on your viewpoint. Kansas City dominated Dallas with a 19-9 victory on a windy Sunday afternoon at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs have morphed back into the conversation for the best team in the AFC.
The Cowboys had their chance to make their case for best team in the NFC but failed to do so, and in the process they lost star receiver CeeDee Lamb to a concussion and have more questions about the offensive line.
Here are five things of note:
The battle of MVP candidates
If Dak Prescott had outplayed Patrick Mahomes he would have asserted himself as the leader in the MVP race. But Prescott was sacked five times, threw two interceptions and was hurt by at least three drops in a non-MVP-like performance. Overall, Prescott went 28 for 43 for 216 yards with zero touchdowns. Some of his throws were long: Were there footwork problems again? Happy feet due to pressure from the Kansas City defense? Whatever the reasons, the Cowboys’ starting quarterback didn’t have his best effort.
Meanwhile, Mahomes didn’t dominate either. Mahomes did complete 23 of 37 passes for 260 yards and scrambled out the pocket to get throws down the field. Mahomes had his full complement of receivers while Prescott did not. That is also part of this story.
No CeeDee Lamb or Amari Cooper
The Cowboys entered the game minus Amari Cooper (reserve/COVID-19) and for the entire second half they didn’t have CeeDee Lamb, who was held out with a concussion. Lamb banged his head on the grass trying to catch a long pass from Prescott at the end of the first half. Lamb walked to the locker room with assistance from head athletic trainer Jim Maurer. Without Lamb, the Cowboys’ wide receivers were: Michael Gallup, Cedrick Wilson, Noah Brown and Malik Turner.
What makes this a problem is the next game is Thursday afternoon at AT&T Stadium against the Raiders. The Cowboys won’t have Cooper, and as Lamb enters the concussion protocol it’s uncertain if he’ll be cleared in time for the Thanksgiving Day game. Lamb finished the game with three catches for 14 yards.
Parsons on top of things again
The Cowboys have used uber-linebacker Micah Parsons in different positions this season. On Sunday against the Chiefs, he mainly participated as an outside linebacker, obtaining two sacks and three quarterback hits. Parsons got sacks from the right and left sides of the line of scrimmage. At one point during the third quarter, Parsons was talking to the officials, presumably about the lack of holding calls. Just a rookie, Parsons is one of the favorites for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, if he hasn’t already having clinched it, and he is seeking respect from the officials.
Offensive line woes
The Cowboys offensive line had some changes. Dallas started Connor McGovern over Connor Williams at left guard and kept Terence Steele at left tackle with Tyron Smith missing his third consecutive game with an ankle injury. Kansas City entered the game tied for last in the NFL with 14 sacks. They left with five sacks and the Cowboys have more questions for an offensive line badly in need of Smith for Thursday’s game against the Raiders.
Dan Quinn’s defense was OK
You can’t totally blame Dan Quinn, the Cowboys defensive coordinator, for this loss. Parsons played well with two sacks, Jayron Kearse had an interception and the Cowboys’ use of two deep safeties cut down deep throws from Mahomes. With the offense struggling, Quinn’s defense in the second half kept them in this contest, or at least they didn’t give up touchdowns on nearly every possession against an explosive Chiefs offense.