Dallas Cowboys: Week 2 Loss Epitomizes State of the Franchise

Peter MatarazzoContributor ISeptember 16, 2013

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 15: Wide receiver Dez Bryant #88 of the Dallas Cowboys rushes past strong safety Quintin Demps #35 of the Kansas City Chiefs for a first down during the first half on September 15, 2013 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
Peter Aiken/Getty Images

The Cowboys loss to the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday had all the makings of a movie we've seen before. Not only do they have themselves to blame for the loss, but this recent version of self-implosion occurred on a day when the rest of the NFC East lost.

Ah, yes, another golden opportunity to stack another win, stand alone at the top of the division and a chance to prove that they really are a different team than last year was completely wasted by the Cowboys. 

I'm not suggesting that the Cowboys will spiral out of control from a Week 2 loss, but yesterday's loss has a very odd and similar feeling to last season. In fact, the defeat to the Chiefs is starting to become a microcosm of too many seasons and the calling card of this franchise.

The Cowboys entice you with enough bait, then they snap the trap. It's otherwise known as Jerry's world with all its bravado, optimism and rose-colored glasses that anyone can handle while ignoring glaring issues year after year.  

Can the Cowboys confidently say that this is in fact a different team? Is the football world to believe that when this season is all said and done that the Cowboys will be contenders?

The only thing you can confidently say is that it is only Week 2 and there is a lot of football to play. The bigger question is whether or not this team is ready to elevate their game to a higher level for the rest of the season.

The time for talking about 22 personnel, the offensive line and the defensive line is over. This franchise has been stuck in mediocrity for so long, it's becoming hard to change the culture when you can't get out of your own way.

Jason Garrett has made strides in attempting to change the culture, but this team under his guidance has not kicked old habits. The Cowboys talk about bringing back balance to the running game when they produce 37 yards, Tony Romo still throws the ball a significant amount of the time, the blocking has improved but is still suspect at best, and the slow starts are still there.

Again, you can point to the fact that is very early in the season, but this team had a chance to stand atop of a division that is competitive and has zero margin for error. The dropped pass by Dez Bryant, the lack of a running game, the fumbles, the poor field position and zero rhythm in the offense all contributed to the loss.

The most disturbing question is whether these are the same old Cowboys or a team that is ready to prove otherwise. In order to mount a case for that wouldn't you need proof? Jason Hatcher doesn't think so.


The sequence of possessions in the second half consisted of two Dan Bailey field goals, fumbles by Romo and Lance Dunbar, a punt and a meaningless screen pass to end the game. Is that just a team having a bad day, a bad half or an embodiment of a franchise for the last 17 years?

That sequence allowed Alex Smith and the Chiefs to hang around, remain confident and ultimately pull out a victory. Yes, I've seen this movie a hundred times and it's lingering like stale food.

If Jason Garrett fails to create a sense of urgency for the St. Louis Rams in Week 3, this team could be in a lot of trouble at such an early stage of the season. The media will be relentless, the pressure will meteorically rise and the schedule only gets tougher.

The Dallas Cowboys needed a win against the Chiefs, but failed to get the job done. If this is not supposed to be the same old Cowboys team, then yesterday did nothing to sway anyone's decision on that. 

So with this early season comes an early crossroads, which happens when you are 1-1 versus 2-0. Maybe the Cowboys win the next few games and head into the Denver game at 3-1. But maybe they don't. 

A Week 2 loss does not mean the beginning of doomsday, but it also does nothing to erase what this franchise has morphed into over an extensive period of time. The good teams find a way to win, bad teams simply don't win and average gets you nowhere.

What kind of team do the 2013 Dallas Cowboys want to be?