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The good, the bad and the (mostly) ugly from Cowboys' sobering loss to Chiefs

To be the best, the Cowboys have to beat the best. And they haven't... yet.
Credit: AP
Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Chris Jones (95) and defensive tackle Jarran Reed (90) sack Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) during an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Peter Aiken)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons channeled his inner Ric Flair on Wednesday when he said, "To be the best, you've got to beat the best."

Parsons was referring to the Kansas City Chiefs.

The rookie said he didn't care about their current record but to look at their track record.

The Chiefs are two-time reigning AFC Champions, including a Super Bowl victory two years ago.

And even though they entered Week 11 at 6-4 -- a winning record, mind you -- the lack of "dominance" clouded what head coach Andy Reid & Co. have done the last few years.

How come Patrick Mahomes is not playing like a superhero every week?

Did the Tampa Bay Buccaneers crack the code in last year's Super Bowl?

Why is the Chiefs defense less sturdy than a pile of wet toilet paper?

Outside noise and week-to-week overreactions are common in the NFL, when 17 games are all that separate teams from the opener and a playoff berth. However, those early weeks tend to obfuscate reality (and logic).

Sunday afternoon in Kansas City brought us a rare meeting between the Chiefs and Cowboys -- another talented and explosive team trying to rise to KC's current level of eliteness.

As I entered a buzzing and buzzed Arrowhead Stadium, one of the traffic guards said it was the most insane traffic he had ever seen in his time there.

He was a young man, so it might've been his first day.

I shrugged and told him, "Yeah, dude. It's the Cowboys."

He smirked and nodded, as I finally found a parking spot closer to the highway than the stadium.

As I waded through the sea of red and yellow, flashes of blue and silver stuck out.

#CowboysNation always travels (or is already there), but Minnesota this was not.

A raucous #ChiefsKingdom bellowed at Arrowhead Stadium. Perhaps their cheers and exhales is what morphed a charming sunny day into a blustery evening.

From their first play of the game, the Cowboys were gone with the wind.

Dak Prescott dropped back and had a wide open Micahel Gallup 30 yards down field.

Maybe it was the wind. Maybe it was too much adrenaline.

"Maybe too much air, not really sure," Prescott said after the game. "I thought it came out of my hand smooth and just got away from us."

How symbolic.

That incompletion was emblematic of the Cowboys offensive performance on Sunday. Never quite in-sync. Missed opportunities. Not enough to win.

Prescott finished with two interceptions, one fumble and 216 passing yards -- the fewest the Cowboys franchise QB has thrown for in a loss since that memorable, yet forgettable, slopfest in New England in 2019.

It didn't help Dak finished the game without his top two receivers.

CeeDee Lamb exited at halftime with a concussion. The rising star rose up for a jump ball in the end zone late in the first half and came down hard. He did not return to the game and remains in concussion protocol.

Lamb's status for Thursday's Thanksgiving game against the Las Vegas Raiders is now very much in question unless he gets cleared.

Meanwhile, Amari Cooper did not play at all Sunday and is not expected to play Thursday either after the unvaccinated veteran wideout tested positive for COVID-19 this past week.

"That's my teammate, that's my brother," Prescott expressed postgame. "We're going to support him... This is everybody's personal decision, so I'm leaving it there."

The Chiefs boxed in the Cowboys offense like the Chiefs visiting team press conference room.

Turnovers. Drop passes. Horrendous pass blocking by the left side of the offensive line. Dallas receivers could not create separation from the defensive backs. The running lanes were clogged. And ill-timed penalties continue to torment the Cowboys in critical moments.

Did I miss anything?

Oh, and head coach Mike McCarthy once again has no idea how a clock works.

Cowboys ran no-huddle on their final possession of the first half. Wasting precious seconds tick away... despite having timeouts they could use. Ultimately, the drive ended with an interception in the end zone -- the same play that gave CeeDee Lamb the concussion.

Big yikes.

Give the Chiefs credit.

KC traded for defensive end Melvin Ingram a few weeks back. (Something the Cowboys should have considered after defensive end Demarcus Lawrence broke his foot in September.)

By getting Ingram on the edge, the Chiefs moved Chris Jones back inside to defensive tackle (his natural position).

This is the part where I tell you Chris Jones had THREE AND A HALF SACKS against a Cowboys offensive line that is desperately needing All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith (ankle) to return.

If there's one positive to takeaway from Sunday's stinker, the Cowboys defense bounced back after a shaky start and forced two turnovers -- which the offense turned them into a whopping three points.

"I thought we played great defense," linebacker Micah Parsons said. "That team can give you 46-50 any given day."

The Chiefs scored 16 points on their first three possessions. They scored just three points the rest of the way.

The Cowboys best player on the field was Parsons. Two sacks and a forced fumble for the soon-to-be named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.

"Like I said early in the week, their losses don't matter," Parsons reiterated. "I know they're a championship team."

The Chiefs are still one of the top teams in the NFL. No "yeah, buts" about it. They are. And no one wants to see them in the regular season, much less the playoffs or Super Bowl... except maybe Tom Brady.

The Cowboys are now 0-2 this year against the Bucs and Chiefs -- the two teams that played in last year's Super Bowl.

To be the best, the Cowboys have to beat the best.

And they haven't... yet.