Like in 2019, the 2020 Dallas Cowboys can't come through in end

Orlovsky: Cowboys' offense lacked creativity (1:41)

Dan Orlovsky and Rex Ryan assess the Cowboys' offense after falling to the Rams in their Week 1 matchup. (1:41)

They are the moments Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott loves. All eyes on him. Pressure to perform. Win the game. Be the hero.

Sunday's game inside the empty, $5 billion SoFi Stadium filled with artificial crowd noise was a different experience, but the circumstances were the same as all of the situations the Cowboys run through during a practice at The Star.

But the ending was not what Prescott wanted when his fourth-down pass fluttered to the ground with six seconds to play.

"We know how talented we are on offense, the expectations we put on ourselves," Prescott said after the 20-17 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. "We didn't make plays. And when you ask for the ball right there on the two-minute drive with an opportunity to go win the game or tie the game up and you don't do that, that's unfortunate, and that's not up to our standards and our expectations."

The Cowboys' 2020 season opened the same way a lot of the 2019 season went: Dallas was unable to make key plays at key moments.

Last season, the Cowboys went 1-6 in one-score games. Only the Cincinnati Bengals have been worse since the start of 2019, dropping to 0-9 after losing their opener, 16-13, to SoFi Stadium's other tenant, the Los Angeles Chargers, on Sunday.

If 2020 is going to be different than the Cowboys' 8-8 disappointment in 2019, their level of play has to rise when it matters most.

From 2016 to 2018, Prescott had a league-best 14 game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime.

Sunday's misfire was not about confidence or a new coach in Mike McCarthy.

At the end of the first half, the Cowboys ripped off 73 yards on nine plays with running back Ezekiel Elliott scoring his second touchdown with 12 seconds left for a 14-13 lead. Prescott completed all five of his passes to four different receivers: Amari Cooper, Blake Jarwin, CeeDee Lamb (twice) and Michael Gallup.

He nearly scored himself, diving headfirst into the end zone but his knee hit the field before crossing the goal line. Elliott scored two plays later.

"We're confident," Cowboys center Joe Looney said. "We've got a good offense here. Any time we step on the field, we want to score. When you've got a guy like Dak at quarterback, seeing him running, do whatever it takes to win a football game, it makes you want to play so much harder for him. Unfortunately, we didn't get this one."

Trailing by three points with 2:28 to play, the Cowboys took over at their own 9-yard line with one timeout. Prescott and Cooper connected three straight times for 16 yards. But then came a 7-yard sack when Cowboys undrafted rookie Terence Steele was beaten by Leonard Floyd.


Stephen A.: Absolutely no excuse for Cowboys' lackluster offense

Stephen A. Smith blasts the Cowboys for showing no improvement on offense, even with the hiring of Mike McCarthy.

Still, Prescott inched the Cowboys up the field, scrambling for 13 yards to set up a fourth-and-1 that Elliott converted. He hit the big play to Gallup for 47 yards on the highest-paid cornerback in the game, Jalen Ramsey, to the Rams' 19-yard line that would, at the very least, set up a game-tying field- goal attempt.

Or, so the Cowboys thought. Gallup was called for pass interference while covered by Ramsey.

"Obviously disappointed in the call, particularly at that point of the game," McCarthy said. "I thought they let both teams play. You just don't usually see that at a critical point of the game."

Prescott was pressured on third-and-20 and his fourth-and-20 pass also fell incomplete. On third down against the Rams, Prescott completed one of seven passes for 11 yards and was sacked once. That third-down completion percentage was the worst in any game of Prescott's career, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

There would be no storybook ending to the Week 1 opener for McCarthy & Co. Just another chapter. One the Cowboys know they have to re-write.

"We just didn't get it done," Prescott said. "It's unfortunate but it's Game 1. There's a lot of football left. This is a talented team and we're going to continue to work hard and get better. We're going to make sure we improve from this game. We'll never be satisfied with this result or what we did out there."