Cowboys lay an egg in week 8

tony runs from washington troubleSo, everyone had jumped on the Cowboy bandwagon. They had been ranked near the bottom of the league in week 1. In week 7, everyone was drinking the Kool-Aid. SI had Dallas ranked 1 and NFL.com had the Cowboys ranked 2. Not in the division or in the conference, but in the league. I said that the Cowboys still had some huge problems. I didn’t understand how the defense was working. McClain was playing out of his mind. The corner backs and safeties were playing way above their pay grade. Then came the lowly Washington Dudes (I’m refusing to use that R-word. I know it is insulting. We need to move beyond it) who didn’t believe the craziness.

To describe the Washington team as having issues would be an understatement. Quite frankly, they have been awful with a capital “A.” They were still awful went they played the Cowboys. They made just about every mistake that you can make. Critical, thoughtless drive-killing penalties. A 3rd string QB who should be coaching some high school team threw a knucklehead interception into double or triple coverage. It wasn’t just a poor decision. It was a terrible moonball throw which any high school corner back could have gotten under.

The Cowboys lost this game for 3 reasons. First, DeMarco Murray put the ball on the ground for the 5th time this year. We had driven deep into Washington territory. We were going to get at least 3 points. He was fighting for a couple of extra yards and 15 or 20 (seemed like the whole team) of the Washington Dudes were holding him up and stripped the ball. There is no excuse. You can’t fumble. Emmitt Smith was great for a number of reasons, one of the primary reasons being that he didn’t fumble the ball. Secondly, the Cowboys defense was awful. They gave up over 400 yards of total offense to a Washington team without Robert Griffin III. That’s just crazy. DeShawn Jackson torched the Cowboys with not one or two, but three big plays. I have to mention Jordan Reid was just about unstopped on short yardage plays. Everyone knew Colt McCoy was going to throw to Reid, but we didn’t stop it. Finally, our much heralded offensive line couldn’t figure out how to block an all out blitz. So, Washington used it time and time again. There was nothing fancy. It was everyone. At the line of scrimmage everyone was coming or everyone was dropping into coverage. ¬†DeMarco Murray missed blitz pick-ups at least twice. Dez Bryant needed to win this one on one match up with a 4th round draft pick rookie, Breeland, who played like a first round draft choice. Bryant had to win that battle but he didn’t.

Many people are getting all caught up in the argument on whether or not to put Tony Romo back in the game or not. I don’t think that it matters. The problem wasn’t Tony. The problem was Dez, the offensive line and our defense.

Look for the Cardinals, who have much better corner backs, to blitz early and often. Until the Cowboys have proven that they can handle the blitz, look for the NFL to blitz on just about every passing down.

Dallas Cowboys: Week 7

demarco murray verses giantsLast week, I had to talk some of my friends down from Dallas Cowboys euphoria. The Dallas Cowboys were 5-1 and had just beaten the Super Bowl champions, the Seattle Seahawks. Many Cowboy fans could not contain their glee. Look, I’m a Dallas Cowboys fan. I’ve been a Dallas Cowboys fan since 1966 when I went to my first Dallas Cowboys game back in the Cotton Bowl. Collectively, we need a group hug. We also need to remember that the Dallas Cowboys have less down time after time‚Ķ after time. We’ve seen the Dallas Cowboys go 8-8 over the last three years. In the four years that Bill Parcells was the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, we lost in the wild card game twice and didn’t make it to the playoffs twice. We’ve seen November/December collapses from the Cowboys on numerous occasions. Our best season in the last decade was in 2007. We had Tony Romo, Marion Barber, Terrell Owens and a host of offensive weapons. We controlled the ball. We held Eli Manning to only 163 yards passing. Yet, somehow, we lost that game. This was our last, best chance to get to the Super Bowl. If you remember, this team was 13-3. They were favored to beat the Giants.

Fast-forward to yesterday. This was simply another hard-fought divisional game, but unlike what we saw in the last two or three years, the Dallas Cowboys have proven (gulp) that they can overcome adversity. After going up 7-0, the Dallas Cowboys fell behind 14-7. The defense, which I’ve been worried about all year, again proved to be porous at best. It seems that every other play there was a flag for defensive pass interference or illegal contact. We generated absolutely no pass rush. We had no sacks. Not one! Eli Manning was 21 of 33 for 248 yards and three touchdowns. He had no interceptions.

The New York Giants played the run. It was tough sledding for DeMarco Murray. Yet, once again, the Cowboys stuck with a run and were rewarded in the fourth quarter. (Congratulations to DeMarco Murray for 7 straight games with over 100 yards, breaking Jim Brown’s mark of 6 games.)

Eli Manning made his typical come-from-behind charge in the fourth quarter. For those of us who are longtime Cowboy fans, we’ve seen Eli Manning look terrible for 3 1/2 quarters and then shred the Dallas Cowboys defense for a victory. The Dallas Cowboys won this game in the fourth quarter. They were up 28-21 with 5:28 left in the fourth quarter. Eli Manning and the Giants just scored quickly on 11 play drive in which the Dallas Cowboys defense looked completely hapless. Now, the Dallas Cowboys offense needed to seal the game. This is where we’ve failed, time and time again, in past seasons. Our first play from our own 20 was a run up the middle by DeMarco Murray. He was stoned for a 1-yard loss. On second and 11, Tony Romo hit Dez Bryant for 10 yards. Third and one. This is where the Dallas Cowboys would falter, crash and burn, spontaneously implode. Instead of coming up with some gadget or trick play, they handed the ball to DeMarco Murray who went off the right tackle for 8 yards and a first down. The next play, we handed the ball to DeMarco Murray for 17 yards. The Cowboys ran the clock and ran DeMarco Murray. There was one more pass to Dez Bryant for 13 yards. The Cowboys moved the ball into field-goal range. Dan Bailey, formally our most viable player, kicked a 49-yard field goal with a little over one minute left in the game to make it a 2-score game. The game is over.

This is what I find most impressive. The Dallas Cowboys are actually forcing their will on opposing defenses. It is wonderful to see. I would encourage Dallas Cowboys fans to have reserved optimism. We still have a lot of problems. Too many penalties. No pass rush. Inability to cover receivers. I will start getting excited when the Dallas Cowboys start winning in December. :-) For now, it’s just good to have the Dallas Cowboys winning.

Kansas City Royals got it done

Kansas City Royals are going to the World Series.

From ESPN:

James Shields led thousands of fans in a celebratory chant. Lorenzo Cainpranced along the warning track, cradling his newborn son. Ned Yost finally allowed himself to smile.

After nearly three decades spent as one of the game’s biggest laughingstocks, the Kansas City Royals are once again baseball royalty. They are headed to their first World Series since 1985, finishing a four-game sweep in the AL Championship Series with a 2-1 victory Wednesday over the Baltimore Orioles.

In a perfect postseason, the Royals are intent to relish every moment.

“It’s hard to explain,” said Cain, whose clutch hits and dramatic catches earned him the series MVP award. “We’re clicking at the right moment right now.”

There’s no doubt about that. (more…)

Congratulations to the Kansas City Royals!!!