I grew in the ’60s and ’70s. The Dallas Cowboys won. They were a team that other teams tried to be. Now, not so much. The Dallas Cowboys are awful. I can’t explain a five-interception performance by Tony Romo. Miscommunication. Sloppy ball handling. Dropped passes. The Cowboys were simply awful. The only hope is for some type of New York Giants turnaround of the season. Jason Garrett is not Tom Coughlin. Tony Romo is not Eli Manning.
The score 34-18 does not tell the story. The Chicago Bears destroyed the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football. This wasn’t as bad as the 44-0 beat down that the Bears laid on the Cowboys back in 1985, but it was close. Jay Cutler looked like a seasoned veteran who was cool in the pocket. Tony Romo looked like a rookie. I have made hundreds of excuses for Tony because there are times when he looks great. Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to have the ability to fix badness in the middle of a game. He doesn’t seem to be able to turn it up a notch. It is what it is with Tony. If he comes out hot, then the Cowboys have a chance to win. If he doesn’t… well, then the Cowboys are going to lose.
I could almost excuse the interceptions, but we were playing the Bears. They weren’t mixing up their coverages. Romo forced some balls into their patented cover to defense. Dez Bryant dropped a touchdown. Romo overthrew to a wide-open Miles Austin. Brandon Marshall was running through our “upgraded” secondary like it was last year’s secondary. Ugly. Ugly. Ugly.
The problem with the Cowboys is their offense. They can’t run the ball. They can’t run block. They can’t pass block. They can’t catch (Dez Bryant and Jason Witten have dropped more balls in the first four games of this year than they did all of last year). Only Jacksonville and the Colts have scored fewer points over the course of four games. At this rate, it might be time to call Terrell Owens and see if he is interested in playing some wide receiver. It is time for Jerry Jones to do something. This is embarrassing. (I’m thinking of burning my Cowboys t-shirts, baseball caps and other stuff in protest.)
I hate to say that the season is over after four games, but without some significant changes, the season is over. Where are Jimmy Johnson, Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin? It brings a tear to my eye to remember that kind of excellence.
Highly rated offenses verses highly rated defenses. 2 future first round Hall of Famers (Tony Dungy vs Bill Belichick). Oh, you probably thought that I was talking about Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning.
First, it is rare that a game with this much hype will live up to its billing. Secondly, I have been a Dungy/Manning fan for some time. So, my analysis is geared toward how the Colts can beat the unbeatable.
The Colts will have to control the ball and the clock. I suspect that the Patriots will try to double Marvin Harrison (who has been hurt but I suspect will play) and Reggie Wayne. Joseph Addai, Dallas Clark and Anthony Gonzales must have big games. Gonzales is an X factor. He is a rookie tight end with great hands. I would not be surprised if the Indianapolis Colts runs a lot of 2 tight end sets since both tights can run and catch. This would put the Patriots in a run defense. If the Patriots would play some sort of nickle or dime defense then the Colts should run out of that formation. If the Pats play run the Colts should pass out of that formation. I have never seen any team run a shotgun out of that formation. It would be amazing if the Colts tried a shotgun from a 2 tight end set. Like last year, the Colts will have to be able to run the football. Tony Ugoh, left tackle who has been hurt this year, must control Richard Seymour.
On defense, the Colts will have to figure out how to stop the Patriots offense. Dwight Freeney and the rest of the front 4 will have to get up the field. The front 4 of the Colts are going to have to stop the running game and give Brady little or no time to throw the ball. If Brady has all day to throw the ball it will be a long afternoon for the Colts. Look at the Patriots losses last year. Pittsburgh hammered Brady. The Colts also forced Brady to make some mistakes. The key is forcing the Patriots to punt the ball. The Colts defense is very fast. They hit and hit hard. Look for Saunders to try to make a play early in the game to turn the tide.
Belichick on offense will gamble on 3rd and 5 or less. If it is 4th and short look for Belichick to go for it on 4th down.
The Key to this game is not to fall behind. The team that falls behind will be the team that will lose. If a team gets a 10 point lead early the game is practically over. Being 10 points behind will force the team to press. It will allow the other team’s defense to unleash their front 4 and really attack the line of scrimmage. Either team can afford to commit an early turnover. Either team can afford to commit penalties. This game is for the Super Bowl. New England is practically unbeatable at home in January. The Indianapolis Colts have to win if they plan on taking a repeat trip to the Super Bowl. This should be a great match up.
What a disaster. The Colts do everything wrong in the first 25 minutes of the game. They have no defense. Their offense isn’t moving the ball. Everything that could go wrong did. Peyton even threw an interception. The score is 21 – 3. The crowd is out of the game. Stick a fork in them they are done. NOT!!! The defense stiffens. Peyton finds the only receiver who isn’t double covered – Dallas Clark. The Colts begin to…dare I say it – run the ball! There were plenty of opportunities for the Colts to say that the Patriots are the greatest and we can not overcome their hex. The Colts continued to fight. They battled.
Let me just tell you some numbers 27/47 for 349 yds, 1 TD and 1 INT. That was Peyton’s numbers against the great Belichek. Brady had an average day – 21/34 for 232 with 1 TD and 1 INT.
There were several great plays but 2 standout. First, it is 3rd and 3 from the 3 yard line. There is a little over a minute on the clock in the fourth quarter. The Colts have the ball. What was the call? Delay hand off up the middle. Addai scores. The PAT was good. Now, everyone is nervous. New England had about a minute on the clock and 2 timeouts and Tom Brady is the quarterback. 2 plays later, the Patriots are at the 44 yard line of Indy. They have used one timeout. There is 24 seconds left and they need to score a touchdown. Brady drops back, Freeney is coming fast and hard off the left corner. Brady steps up and fires a dart over the middle. I think that Freeney got a hand on Brady. No matter. The ball was intercepted. Marlon Jackson makes a perfect hands interception and instead of trying to run one back, he drops to the ground. Game over. Peyton only has to take a knee. That was probably the sweetest kneel down that Peyton has ever done. The crowd was losing their mind.
What a game. What a fantastic game. Peyton vs. Brady. Dungy vs. Belichek. The history of losing time after time to New England. To win like this was really remarkable.