Some things in the NFL are head scratchers. Other things are pretty clear. For the last two weeks, the Dallas Cowboys have lost in the closing minutes of the game because they were unable to perform a relatively long field goal. Many people who hate Tony Romo and are still longing for Troy Aikman will point to his performance once again as evidence that he cannot get it done “in the clutch.” Those haters will look at his 21-31 performance for 321 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions as nothing special. Instead, they will point to a third-down play late in the fourth quarter in which the New York Giants went to a zero coverage (all-out blitz). Miles Austin had a perfect release from the line of scrimmage. He was wide open. Tony Romo saw the coverage. He saw Miles Austin. Instead of throwing the lasers that he usually throws, Tony Romo put a little air under of the ball. Unfortunately, the ball was a yard or two too far. The Cowboys were leading at the time 34-29. There were two minutes twenty seconds to go in the ball game.
I will point to something different. I will point to the Dallas Cowboys’ abysmal secondary as the reason that they have lost to the Arizona Cardinals and to the New York Giants. The Dallas Cowboys’ secondary is average, at best. If the Dallas Cowboys can generate a ferocious pass rush, then the secondary is slightly better. Just like against the Arizona Cardinals (the pass rush generated five sacks in the first half, but none in the second half,) the Dallas Cowboys pass rush looked good for two or three quarters. They were nonexistent in the fourth quarter. This exposed a mediocre secondary to the skills of Eli Manning and his receivers. They carved up the Dallas defense in play after play. Mike Jenkins has been hurt all year. To be honest, he hasn’t played well in two years. I don’t know if it’s because of his health or what. Terence Newman is a shadow of his former self. Four or five years ago, he had a swagger to him. He can get into the hip pocket of a receiver and stay there. He could lay out and bat away potential completions. Now that’s nothing but a distant memory. The Dallas Cowboys are 24th in the NFL in passing defense. Anytime you score 34 points in a game, you should win. The Dallas Cowboys shouldn’t go to the playoffs until they figure out how to tighten this up.