Dak Prescott Dallas Cowboys
Wes Horton #96 of the Carolina Panthers sacks Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 9, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Panthers won 16-8. Grant Halverson/Getty Images

This certainly isn’t the start to the 2018 NFL season that the Dallas Cowboys had envisioned. America’s Team failed to come away with a victory in Week 1, losing on the road to the Carolina Panthers 16-8.

Dallas only lost by one possession, but the game wasn’t as close as the score might indicate. The Cowboys didn’t score until the fourth quarter, and it never seemed like they had much of a chance to pull off the upset because of how much the team was struggling on offense.

Dak Prescott picked up where he left off at the end of last season. The quarterback completed 19 of 29 passes for just 170 yards and no touchdowns. He lost a fumble on Dallas’ final possession when the Cowboys had a chance to drive down the field and send the game into overtime.

When Prescott had time in the pocket, he was rarely able to get the ball down the field, completing no pass for longer than 20 yards. The quarterback faced a lot of pressure behind an offensive line that was missing Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick, though Pro Bowlers Zack Martin and Tyron Smith were in the lineup. Prescott was sacked six times.

Prescott ended last year with one touchdown pass and four interceptions in the final three games. The quarterback had a sub-60 passer rating in Week 15 and Week 16 while throwing for just 179 yards in a 6-0 Week 17 victory.

There’s plenty of blame to go around in Dallas. The offensive line was bested by Carolina’s talented front seven. Prescott didn’t get rid of the ball quickly enough at times. The lack of separation by the Cowboys’ wide receivers might’ve been the biggest issue.

This is the worst receiving corps Prescott has had in his three seasons with the Cowboys. The team released Dez Bryant in the offseason, leaving them with a hodgepodge of less than stellar playmakers.

Cole Beasley, who’s never had more than 833 yards in any of his six NFL seasons, led the team with seven catches for 73 yards Sunday. Free agent addition Allen Hurns, who hasn’t reached the 500-yard mark since 2015, had one catch for 20 yards. Deonte Thompson was second on the team with three receptions for 27 yards, coming into the game with just over 1,000 career yards since entering the league in 2012.

Bryant has decided not to sign with another team just yet. The veteran had 69 catches for 838 yards in 2017, failing to reach the 1,000-yard mark for a third straight year. Bryant might no longer be one of the league’s best receivers, but it’s clear Dallas could benefit from having him on the roster.

Ever since he was released, Bryant hasn’t been shy about commenting on the Cowboys through social media. He was vocal on Twitter Sunday, acknowledging that Prescott and Dallas could’ve used him in the season opener.

Bryant received interest from both the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns earlier in the summer, but he chose to remain unsigned. He’s expected to join a team at some point this season.

Dallas could bounce back in Week 2 when they host the New York Giants on “Sunday Night Football.” New York’s pass rush could be one of the NFL’s worst this season, and Prescott has thrived at times when given time to throw.

Ezekiel Elliott ran the ball 15 times for 69 yards and a touchdown in Week 1. The Cowboys are 10-2 when Elliott runs for at least 100 yards.