I was standing in AT&T stadium watching an amazing thing. All year, I have been sitting in wonder as I watched the Cowboys. I have been waiting for the Dallas Cowboys to unwind, unravel and implode. On Thanksgiving Day, the Cowboys did collapse as promised. The Philadelphia Eagles ran all over the Cowboys. Mark Sanchez looked like a pro bowl quarterback. Tony Romo was truly awful on Thanksgiving and he said as much. He promised that he and the Cowboys would play better.
Lo and behold, the Cowboys have played better. They flew to England and took can of business against the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars. They then played the Eagles again with a much better outcome. This Eagle game was critical. The Cowboys got off to a fast start and then allowed the Eagles back in the game. Mark Sanchez and the Eagles had two of those fast paced patented Eagle drives that ended in touchdowns. Then, and this is key, Romo held the ball for far too long and gave up a sack-fumble. The Eagles scored another touchdown. The Cowboys, when faced with adversity like this in the past, have rolled over and played dead. Not this team. The Cowboys re-grouped and decided to play a little more football. They scored points. The defense pressured and sacked Sanchez. Instead of rolling over, they played their best football of the game. I was amazed. Continue reading Maybe I’m Truly Amazed – Dallas Cowboys→
So, 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.
Sunday afternoon, I was going to write a post asking the NFL to stop putting the Dallas Cowboys on prime time. They don’t deserve it. They have played from awful to mediocre for several years. Then the Cowboys came out and absolutely played the best game that I have seen in years. They spanked the New Orleans Saints. This was the same team that embarrassed the Cowboys last year by racking up 40 first downs, a NFL record.
Tonight the always great New England Patriots did what they have never done during the Brady era. They laid an egg on national television. The Kansas City Chiefs ran and passed their way to a rout. They smacked the New England Patriots. Jamal Charles and Knile Davis ran inside and outside and all over the Patriots. Alex Smith had time in the pocket and he looked sharp. It was a very impressive performance. Then, to add to the problems that the Patriots were facing, the Chiefs showed up with a defense. They pressured Brady into some bad decisions and plenty of turnovers. It was a great night if you hate the Patriots or like to see someone else win every once in a while.
The marquee game of the weekend was the San Francisco 49ers verses the Philadelphia Eagles. Let me start by saying that I don’t like the Eagles. To me, a great Cowboys season always includes beating the Eagles; not once, but twice. This was an entertaining game from start to finish. The Eagles high flying, smoke and mirrors offense was grounded by a strong and fast 49ers defense. It is unclear where this defense has been all year, but it sure showed up on Sunday. The Eagles stayed in the game with defense and special teams touchdowns. The 49ers offense made enough plays to snag the win.
For the first time in weeks, Ray Rice and Greg Hardy was not the focus of the NFL. Adrian Peterson wasn’t the focus of a Minnesota Vikings team that figured out how to play offense and defense without their best player being on the field. They won against an Atlanta Falcons team. Nobody could figure out with Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback and he looked very good.