The LA Chargers host the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football in Week 6 after taking a bye week off to assess the situation and get healthier. Meanwhile, Dallas played another primetime game on Sunday Night Football and it did not exactly go as planned.
Dallas was absolutely throttled by the San Francisco 49ers, who may have established their place as the best team in the NFL. Dallas' rock-solid defense did not come to play while the offense was particularly awful with Dak Prescott throwing three costly interceptions.
Sunday night's game was the perfect metaphor for a Dallas offense that has taken a step back in 2023. Dallas ranks 17th in total offensive yards and eighth in total points. The points metric is heavily carried by the defense, however.
Dallas hasn't been awfully defensively but the team has definitely struggled more than it should be. This is all coming after Mike McCarthy decided to part ways with Kellen Moore and take over the offense. As predicted, that was probably an awful decision. But don't listen to us tell you that; listen to star Cowboys receiver Ceedee Lamb (h/t Garrett Podell, CBS Sports).
Ceedee Lamb proves Cowboys' offense is imploding right before matchup vs Kellen Moore and the Chargers
Dallas consistently had a top-five offense in the sport while Kellen Moore was calling the shots. Some fans have pointed to the loss of Amari Cooper and Ezekiel Elliott as why Dallas is struggling but Moore still put together a very productive offense last season without Cooper and with a version of Elliott that was not the same.
But the moment that McCarthy takes over Dallas has taken a massive step back offensively. That doesn't just happen by accident and it also isn't a coincidence that the Chargers have gotten better offensively.
The biggest difference has been in the red zone offense thus far. Dallas ranked first in red zone touchdown percentage last year, scoring six in over 70% of the team's red zone trips. This year, Dallas is scoring a touchdown in only 36.84% of red zone trips, which is 28th in the league.
The Charges, meanwhile, went from the 18th-ranked team last season to the fifth-ranked team this season. Keep in mind that the team has also made that leap with Austin Ekeler only playing one game. LA's best red zone scorer returning will probably make that number jump even higher.
It hasn't been pretty for Dallas and Moore's departure is the root cause. Lucky for Cowboys fans, Dallas plays the perfect opponent to get right offensively. While McCarthy has been piloting a poor offense, Brandon Staley has been piloting an even worse defense.
If there was ever a game for McCarthy to pilot an offensive surge it is against this Chargers defense while also trying to prove a point against Moore. If the Cowboys can't put together a good game against the Chargers then the offense truly might be a big problem.