BILLS 26, COWBOYS 15

Cowboys vs. Bills: Good, bad and ugly

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Turkey wasn't the only thing that got carved on Thanksgiving Day. Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills cut up the Cowboys defense Thursday for a 26-15 victory. I hope everyone ate before this game, because defeat surely left a bad taste in Cowboy's fans mouth.

The Good

Stop the presses, Amari Cooper had a catch! In all seriousness, Cooper was the lone bright spot for an otherwise abysmal Cowboys offense. He had eight catches for 85 yards on 11 targets. Good but not great numbers, but a huge upgrade over the performance he put on last week against Stehpon Gilmore and the New England Patriots.

For once the Cowboys offense did not get off to a slow start. On their opening drive, Dak Prescott played with confidence and had connections to Cooper and Ezekiel Elliot for big gains. On second and goal, Prescott was able to find a wide open Jason Witten for the first touchdown of the game. It seemed as though that was all the Cowboys could achieve on offense until garbage time in the 4th quarter.

Another good thing about this gameā€¦. The halftime show wasn't bad. Most NFL games on Thanksgiving have halftime shows that are forgettable at best. But the Cowboys brought on pop star Ellie Goulding to entertain the crowd while Jason Garrett tries to figure out how to salvage this game and his career (More on Garrett Later). Let's be honest, she put on a better show that the Cowboys offense.

The Bad

Do not let Prescott's numbers fool you. Most of his completions came in the fourth quarter with the Bills playing prevent defense. Prescott looked great in the opening drive, but afterwards looked as though he couldn't quarterback to save his life. He had one interception and one fumble before halftime. Luckily, the inception lead to a missed field goal by Steven Hauschka, but the fumble lead to a Buffalo special in which Allen handed the ball off to Andre Roberts, who gave the ball to John Brown to throw to a wide open Devin Singletary for their second touchdown of the game. Hauschka later missed the extra point, but Prescott and the offense had no answer for the Bills scores until garbage time when it was too little too late.

Speaking of bad kickers, Brett Maher was absolutely terrible. He missed both his field goal attempts and made one extra point. He missed one field goal from beyond 30 yards and one field goal from beyond 40 yards. How is it possible to play better in a bad weather game on the road than at home with perfect conditions? Maher has looked wildly inconsistent which is a common theme for the Cowboys.

Let's face it; the Cowboys don't even look like a playoff contending team. If it wasn't for the fact that they play in a bad division, the Cowboys could have been written off after their loss to the Jets. Time and time again they constantly fall under pressure, and when their games become must win games, they fold like a house of cards. Despite all of the talent this roster has, they have continued to underperform and shot themselves in the foot time and time again.

The Ugly

Coming off of a short week, players were expected to miss some time due to injuries. Leighton Vander Esh and Jeff Heath both missed this game and the absence shows. Allen and the Bill's offense essentially could do whatever they wanted to against the Cowboys. Stopping the run proved most difficult, for Singletary, Allen, and Veteran Frank Gore combined to rush for 117 yards and one touchdown by Allen.

The moment you all have been waiting for Jason Garrett has to go, period. Jerry Jones after the game said now is not the time for a coaching change, focused on getting to the Super Bowl, according to ESPN. All this does is assure Jason Garrett will at maximum last until the end of the regular season. The writing is on the wall. The Cowboys need to move on, and Jerry's clear frustrations at the game were evident that change is coming. It's only a matter of when not if anymore.

The ugliest part of the game took place after the final score. Multiple reports claimed that screaming could be heard from the Cowboys' locker room. And who was behind all of the screaming? Allegedly it was Michael Bennett trying to encourage his team, but it must have been canceled out with all of the other noise going on in the room. Jerry Jones even came down to speak to his team, but supposedly left mid speech with tears in his eyes. Seems as if things are intensifying emotionally for the Cowboys, and it can only get worse form here on out.

The Cowboys play the equally underachieving Bears next Thursday night. Both teams are fighting for their playoff lives at this point of the season so it will be interesting to see what happens when two desperate teams square off under the bright lights of Thursday Night Football.




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THE LEFT TURN

NASCAR: Quaker State 400 preview

Photo via: WikiCommons.

This week, the NASCAR cup series heads to Kentucky Motor Speedway for the Quaker State 400. Built in 2001, this track is a 1.5 mile tri-oval with a dog-leg on the front stretch. The most dangerous part of the track has to be turn three as the corner is flat compared to the other three corners that are banked. This has been a major point of contingency for these drivers as most of the cautions end up being there. Look for turn three to be a hot spot come Sunday. Last year, both the Busch brothers finished 1-2 in one of the most exciting finishes of the season so there will be a lot of hype for this race to live up to.

Last week at Indy, as we all expected the race was a crazy one. Over the course of the race's 160 laps, we saw many horrific accidents including a scary pit road accident involving Corey Lajoe, Ryan Blaney, Justin Allgier, Ryan Preece and others. The wreck started when everyone got stacked up entering the pits and the calamity was on from there. During the wreck Brennan Poole struck Rear Tire Changer Zach Price as he was trying to avoid the wrecking cars in front of him. After the incident fans and media alike all held their breath as they awaited news on his condition. But when the camera panned to him being loaded into the ambulance, there was a huge sigh of relief as he gave everyone a thumbs up signifying he was okay. Another scary moment was both Erik Jones and Alex Bowman's vicious crashes. Both cars had tire failures that sent their cars directly into the wall. Fortunately both drivers were okay but their days were over.

In the end, tire wear would end up claiming one more victim as it took out Denny Hamlin as well. With seven laps to go, the four-time winner this season was in prime position to get his fifth victory until his right front tire blew out, sending him hard into the turn 2 wall. This mishap handed the win to his main rival in the championship, Kevin Harvick, as he went on to claim his third Brickyard 400 victory and fourth win of the year. When it was all over, many questioned why there were so many tire failures and if new owner Roger Penske would make an effort to possibly widen the pit-road after the massive accident on Sunday.

Needless to say, there are a lot of questions on what will be different at Indy in 2021. When I talked to spotter Freddie Kraft on Tuesday, he gave a lot of good insights on both topics. When it came to the tire failures, he talked about how the increasing corner speeds at the racetrack has put a lot of pressure on these Goodyear tires which eventually led to them coming apart. As far as Pit-Road and what they can do to fix that, he talked about how it is difficult to make changes to a track that is so historical. Which makes sense, but he followed this up by saying that maybe it would be wise to give up a little history and move the wall over and make it wider. It will be interesting to see what NASCAR does in the coming months.

On Friday, Associated Press journalist Jenna Fryer revealed a bombshell announcement that 7-time champion and NASCAR's biggest name Jimmie Johnson, had tested positive for coronavirus. As everyone knows, the world is going through the worst pandemic it's ever faced in this lifetime. With the sport coming back and racing again, it was only a matter of time until one of the drivers came down with it. Unfortunately it had to be NASCAR's most recognizable driver. Thankfully, Jimmie made a full recovery and was cleared to return this weekend at Kentucky. This was a big scare for everyone in the NASCAR world, but I have to give a lot of credit to Johnson for being as forthright as he was about his diagnosis with everyone who he works with. It will be good to have Jimmie back on Sunday.

The driver that I have winning this weekend is Kyle Busch. While this season has been a disappointment for the defending champion, Kentucky would be a great place for him to turn it around. Ever since the cup series has started going there, Kyle has always been in contention to win. In fact, he won the first cup series race that was run at this track back in 2011. In his nine starts there, Kyle has finished outside the top ten only once and even then he finished 12th, back in 2016. Last season it appeared that Kyle was on his way to a third victory at this track, but he came up one spot short to his brother Kurt in a fantastic last lap duel. After a late race restart this weekend though, I see Kyle redeeming himself and capturing his first victory of 2020. Look for Kyle to get back on track come Sunday.


All stats and information used in this article are brought to you by the good folks at driveraverages.com and Racing-Reference.com, the best websites for all NASCAR stats.

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