The Dallas Cowboys and the Crumbling NFC East


Image Courtesy of the NFL

Dylan Hostetter, Arts and Style Editor

The lights gleam on the Lincoln Financial stadium field. The players of each team, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys wait in their respective locker rooms full of anticipation. A win is practically a necessity for the Dallas Cowboys to regain their spot in a crumbling division. Their last hope: Ben DiNucci. 

It all began during the Cowboy’s week five game against the New York Giants. While being tackled, Prescott’s ankle was caught underneath him, and a horrific injury ensued. Dallas was still able to win that game with the help of the second-string ex-Cincinnati Bengel Andy Dalton. With Prescott out for the rest of the season, some believed Dalton would become the new face of the Cowboys. This changed during the Cowboy’s week seven game against the Washington Football Team due to Dalton’s injury, which also occurred when he was forced to run the ball. He suffered a massive hit that sent his helmet flying and left him with a serious concussion. 

The last option for the Cowboys became third-string rookie Ben DiNucci. DiNucci was drafted from James Madison University where, during his senior year, he started all sixteen games, passed for a total of 3,441 yards, completed 29 passing touchdowns, and completed 71% of his throws. Although he was a rookie, things were looking good for DiNucci going into Sunday’s game. In no way did he meet expectations.

The Cowboy’s disappointing performance on Sunday, where they lost 23-9 against the Eagles was not surprising considering the standings of the NFC East division this season. The NFC East is struggling hard, with only a combined eight wins between the four teams. While it is unlikely that Dallas or any other team in the NFC East has any shot of attending the Super Bowl this season, their performance against the Eagles was extremely upsetting.

Any hope that DiNucci would bring glory to Dallas was drained out of every Cowboys fan’s soul on Sunday night. DiNucci played with the ball as if a mother disposing of a used diaper. He did not want it, and neither did the receivers. DiNucci’s throws were targeted to every inch of the field not occupied by a receiver. Due to DiNucci’s rookie status, it may be best to cut him some slack, but I can not do that. In their rookie seasons, Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot both were stand out stars. While it was best to assume lightning would not strike twice, there was still some hope that DiNucci would perform to a standard above the little league level. His performance overall was pitiful.

The only good aspect of the team’s game was their defense, at least for the first half, in which they only allowed the Eagles one touchdown. Headed off by linebackers Jaylon Smith, Sean Lee, and Leighton Vander Esch, the defense proceeded to take a stand against the aggressive offense of the Philadelphia Eagles. A standout member of the defense was defensive end, DeMarcus Lawrence. He finished the game with a total of six tackles – one of which was a sack – and a forced fumble. In the second quarter, Vander Esch contributed to the Cowboy’s four total takeaways with a strip-sack of Philadelphia Quarterback Carson Wentz.

I say all of this with great sorrow, as I, contrary to the tone of this article, am a fan of the Dallas Cowboys. Although after week eight, I, like the team, have practically checked out of this season. The Cowboys must improve many aspects of their team moving forward in order to have any chance of ending their season on a positive note.