That being said, Sunday’s game was a reminder of how quickly injuries can become enough of a problem to nearly derail a season. In Dallas, the cornerback position has quickly become a pain point.
In Dallas’ scarier-than-necessary win over the Texans (1-11-1), Houston’s Davis Mills and Jeff Driskel combined to complete 20 of 27 passes for 213 yards and a touchdown. That performance came from a team that entered the week with 6.3 yards per pass attempt, ranked 30th in the league. Houston’s quarterback tandem produced only one interception all day — on Mills’s Hail Mary attempt with 14 seconds remaining.
For the Cowboys, that’s a bad day, which can be explained by absences in the secondary. The starting slot corner Jourdan Lewis went on the injured reserve list back in Week 8 with a Lisfranc injury and is not expected to return this year. Then Anthony Brown, the team’s starting cornerback opposite Trevon Diggs, went down with a season-ending Achilles’ tendon injury in a win over the Colts last week. That has left the Cowboys with Kelvin Joseph (outside corner) and the fifth-round rookie DaRon Bland (slot) starting.
On Sunday, Diggs briefly went to the locker room with a thumb injury in the first half before returning. It was not serious enough to keep him sidelined, but even a minor knock to the team’s only remaining quality coverage cornerback is a cause for concern.
The Cowboys will only see better passing offenses the rest of the way, with games against the Jaguars, Eagles, Titans, and Commanders left to play in the regular season. Barring a miraculous turnaround from the young cornerbacks, the Cowboys are in danger of facing shootouts, and it might be hard to keep up in the playoffs.
Jacksonville can play spoiler in the A.F.C.
The Jaguars are a young team and, as such, have developed a reputation for bungling winnable games. Losing six of its first eight games, all by 8 points or less, Jacksonville has shown it has the ability to stay in games late and the misfortune of not being able to close them out.
With Sunday’s 36-22 win over the Titans, the Jaguars showed they’re developing in enough time to play spoiler in the A.F.C.