Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys’ offensive struggles continue

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) is pressured by Atlanta Falcons defensive end Courtney Upshaw (91) during the first half of an NFL game at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, November 12, 2017. File photo by Martin Tulis/UPI | License Photo

By Chad Conine, The Sports Xchange – UPI

ARLINGTON, Texas — The Dallas Cowboys‘ problems on offense didn’t take the day off on Thanksgiving.

Although the Cowboys got starting left tackle Tyron Smith back from a groin injury that kept him out for two weeks, Dallas still sputtered on offense as Los Angeles claimed a 28-6 victory on Thursday at AT&T Stadium.

Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott completed 20 of 27 passes for 179 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions. That wasn’t nearly enough to propel Dallas (5-6) to a win, especially after Los Angeles cornerback Desmond King returned the first Prescott pick 90 yards for a touchdown.

King’s pick-six gave the Chargers their final score and iced the game with 7:41 left.

“We’re in a funk, or whatever you want to call it,” Prescott said. “It’s not fun to be in. We just have to figure ways to get out of it. Me, individually, and this offense collectively.”

It’s difficult to tell how much getting Smith back helped the Dallas offense. Prescott was sacked 12 times in the two games that Smith missed and the Chargers managed just two sacks on Thursday.

But Smith was called for holding in the third quarter, negating Prescott’s 34-yard touchdown run that would have sliced into Los Angeles’ 9-0 lead at the time. When he thought he had scored, Prescott spiked the ball with intensity, perhaps revealing how much the Cowboys’ scoring drought was affecting him.

When Dallas failed to score through three quarters, it stretched its dry spell to 10 quarters without a touchdown.

“We’re all frustrated,” Prescott said. “And we’re going to be frustrated, and I’d be (mad) if somebody in there isn’t.”

Prescott is clearly missing running back Ezekiel Elliott, who is three games into a six-game suspension for violation of the NFL’s personal-conduct policy.

With Elliott out, Dallas’ run-heavy offense has averaged 99.3 yards on the ground in a three-game losing streak.

But Prescott refused to blame Elliott’s absence for the recent offensive downturn.

“If you point your finger at the reason, we’re not having success is another guy, or this or that, then you’re not going to (make it) in this league,” Prescott said. “The last thing that I am doing is pointing a finger and saying we need this guy, or we need that to happen.”

Dallas finally broke its touchdown drought when running back Rod Smith ran 2 yards for a score in the fourth quarter.

But that was too little too late.

“Offensively, the performance wasn’t up to par and certainly wasn’t enough to match what they were doing on their side of the ball,” Dallas coach Jason Garrett said.

Garrett said the game got away from Dallas in the second half, but the Cowboys’ offensive problems started much earlier.

Dallas gained just 84 yards of total offense on four possessions in the first half. The Cowboys’ best drive before halftime produced just 28 yards before they punted from their own 32.

“It was just the entire offense, we weren’t able to sustain things throughout the ballgame,” Garrett said. “Everybody’s got a piece of it.”

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