LANDOVER, Md. (CBSDFW.COM) – The Cowboys could have been in first place — all by themselves.
The Redskins — and an upright — had other ideas.
Dallas’ chance to grab the division lead clanged off the upright on Brett Maher’s 52-yard field goal attempt as time expired in their 20-17 loss to the Redskins on Sunday.
Now, the Cowboys (3-4) head into their bye week with more than just bitter taste of a loss to their division rival. Dallas is also a game and a half behind first place Washington (4-2) in the NFC East standings.
“We have to be men.” Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence said in the locker room after the game. “We have to be a team, to come together and figure it out. It’s nobody else’s job but ours. I believe we will though.”
Part of that job will be fixing an offense that struggled to produce yards and points.
Running back Ezekiel Elliott was limited to 34 yards rushing. The second-lowest total of his career.
Quarterback Dak Prescott fumbled away the ball twice, including one that led to a defensive touchdown.
Dallas has not won a game on the road this season, losing all four games played away from AT&T Stadium.
“We just have to figure out what the problem is.” Elliott admitted. “We have to use the bye week to figure out what’s going wrong on the road.”
“We’ve got a great team. We got great guys in that locker room that all support each other.” Prescott said. “Our heads aren’t down. We are ready to get better this bye week and move forward.”
One of the biggest questions surrounding the loss: the snap infraction penalty called against Cowboys deep snapper L.P. Ladouceur.
The penalty pushed back the Cowboys field goal attempt from 47 to 52 yards.
Kicker Brett Maher’s attempt was off the mark, bouncing off the upright as time expired.
“They told me I was the one responsible for the false start.” Ladouceur explained in the locker room. “I did the exact same thing I usually do. I picked up the ball the exact same way. Just a bad turn of events.”
The NFL Vice President of Officiating tweeted a clarification of the penalty after the game stating “The illegal ball movement by the center in #DALvsWAS causes the defense to come across the neutral zone and contact a lineman.”
Maher would not let the penalty stand as an excuse for the missed attempt. “That penalty had zero impact on the result of that kick, I can promise you that,” he said.
While the Cowboys have not won consecutive games this season, the silver lining is that Dallas has not lost back to back games either.
The Cowboys next chance to get back to .500 will be in two weeks, when they host the Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football on November 2.