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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… 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.

Disaster in Dallas

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.

NFL: Week 2 – a few thoughts

Dallas is trying to lose lost to the Seattle Seahawks. As good as Dallas looked last week, they were/are that bad this week. Seattle created turnovers and then wore down the Dallas defense. Tony Romo and the offense were pretty bad. The special teams for the Cowboys were very special. They gave up a fumble which led to a field, and then they allowed a blocked punt, leading to a touchdown… all in the opening quarter. I would like to tell you that the Cowboys hung tough and fought their way back into the game, but I would be lying. The defense played well for 2 1/2 quarters and then got man-handled. It got very ugly as Seattle and Marshawn Lynch were able to do anything they wanted in the second half. He only had 122 yards on the ground, but it seemed more like 175. For the Cowboys, nobody looked good on offense. Romo graced us with another ugly interception. Just when you thought that he has learned to take care of the ball, true ugliness showed its ugly head. A simple cover sink type of defense and Romo threw late back across his body for an ugly interception. The Seahawks crushed the Dallas offense. They were simply faster and stronger. There were no holes for DeMarco Murray. Tony Romo had very little time to find receivers. Between Jason Witten and Dez Bryant, they were targeted 17 times but only came up with seven receptions. It looked like Jason Witten was lost.  Everyone thought that the Cowboys were going to walk away with a W. NOT. The NFL is a crazy place. Read on if you don’t believe me.

The NY Giants have the ability to look awful for three quarters and then put everything together in the fourth quarter. Josh Freeman is not getting it done for Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers should have won this game by at least two touchdowns. Eli Manning throws for over 500 yards. Did I mention that the NFL is a crazy place?

Cam Newton played well. Got bounce back from last week. Continue reading NFL: Week 2 – a few thoughts