Cowboys' first shutout loss since '03 hurts

INDIANAPOLIS -- The last time the Dallas Cowboys were shut out in a game, Dak Prescott was 10 years old.

As he answered questions about the Cowboys' 23-0 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, Prescott said he could not think of a time he has failed to record a point as a starting quarterback.

On Nov. 16, 2003, the Cowboys lost 12-0 to the New England Patriots. That was Bill Parcells' first year as Dallas coach. Quincy Carter was the Cowboys' quarterback, fullback Richie Anderson led the team in receptions, and Jason Witten was just a rookie tight end.

That's a span of 243 games between shutouts.

Consecutive Games Without Being Shut out

The Cowboys had gone 243 straight games without being shut out, the fourth-longest active streak in the NFL entering Sunday.

"Any competitor never wants to get shut out," Prescott said. "The shutout definitely hurts. The shutout definitely pisses you off, especially when you're down there early in the red zone and you have opportunities to score and you don't. So, yeah, 100 percent we've got to find ways to capitalize and score in the red zone. We do that, we don't get shut out."

The Cowboys were nearly shut out in the season opener against the Carolina Panthers but managed to score in the fourth quarter of a 16-8 loss.

"A loss is a loss, but at the same time you never want to lose in that form or fashion," right tackle La'el Collins said. "You want to go down fighting."

The Cowboys had their chances Sunday. They had three first-half possessions of at least 10 plays and gained 179 yards, but they became the first team since the 2016 New York Jets to have that many drives of that many plays in a half and come away without a point.

The Jets were held scoreless because of three Ryan Fitzpatrick interceptions. The Cowboys were done in by a blocked field goal on their first possession, a failed fourth-and-1 chance from the Indianapolis 3 after fullback Jamize Olawale dropped a touchdown pass, and a third-down sack of Prescott that knocked the Cowboys out of field goal position on their third possession.

The Cowboys held the ball for 19 minutes, 18 seconds in the first half and did not score. In the past five years, only the Green Bay Packers in Week 1 of 2017 had the ball longer (20:14) and did not score.

In the second half, the Cowboys gained just 113 yards, converted seven first downs and lost the possession battle for the game, holding the ball for just 28:12.

"I mean the 'L' matters more than anything," wide receiver Cole Beasley said, "but I mean an offense like ours should never be shut out. That's something we've got to go look at and see what we can do better."

Amari Cooper, coming off a 10-catch, 217-yard, three-touchdown game last week against the Philadelphia Eagles, caught four passes for 32 yards. Ezekiel Elliottmanaged 87 yards on 18 carries and led the Cowboys with seven catches, but for only 41 yards. Prescott finished with 206 yards on 24-of-39 passing and was picked off once. He was sacked three more times, bringing his total to 51 on the season.

Red zone production has been an issue all year. The Cowboys failed to score on two possessions inside the Colts' 20 and have converted touchdowns on just two of their past 11 trips inside the red zone. For the season, the Cowboys have scored just 19 touchdowns on 43 red-zone trips.

"I just know we can't go out there and put [what] we did on film," Elliott said. "That's unacceptable. it's not what this team is. We just need [to] get back to Dallas, figure out what is going on and fix it immediately."


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