When looking at the box story, the third down conversion rate said it all about the Cowboys loss to the Rams.
Dallas went 3-12 on third down conversions, while the Rams were 9-17. Dallas could not finish in the red zone, which included not converting on a fourth-and-three 11 yards out of the end zone.
By those numbers, the Cowboys did not produce in crunch time. The Cowboys made it hard on themselves when it came to conversions too. The Cowboys had third downs of 16, seven, and 20 at one point in the game.
These distances on third down made it way too hard for the Cowboys to convert the first down. Having players like Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb are nice; however, if the defense is ready for a pass, their coverage is going to be a lot thicker.
As pointed out by @CowboysStats, offensive coordinator Kellen Moore was willing to pass upwards of 80% on neutral second down situations.
“1. I am skeptical there are benefits to handing the ball off on 1st down more than maybe 20% of the time. 2. I think Kellen Moore is probably a true believer in handing off on 1st down ~55% of the time. 3. Kellen is one of the league’s most aggressive play callers on 2nd down.”
First down runs are not bad, but it can sometimes lead to a second-down pass. Mixing in Zeke on early downs is a good idea, but relying on run plays early can sometimes lead the defense into a pass on the later part of the series.
Moore will get another opportunity to shift things up against the Falcons next Sunday.