Appreciation in the face of disappointment

Quick story.

You ever go to your favorite restaurant and order your favorite dish? You're anticipating savoring every bite only to realize that something was wrong. Maybe the sauce was a little cold or the carne asada was a little salty. It was good but just not that good.

That's how I feel.

You ever have alone time with the wifey and your doing your best to be romantic and she's doing her best to be sexy. You came home from work early. She made sure the kids were away. You get down to business and it's satisfying but not the romp in the hay you were expecting.

That's how I feel.

You ever go to see your favorite band in concert and you're hammered and all your friends are hammered. Everybody you know loves these guys and if they don't then they get excommunicated out of the circle of trust. The concert starts and everyone's jazzed about being there. Then the band comes out. They play all the hits and hit all the high notes. But something just isn't right. The lead singer's a half a second slow on that chorus you love. I mean it was cool but not what you expected.

That's how I feel.

The point to this Spagnola-esque intro is to convey what I think most Cowboy fans are feeling right now: appreciation in the face of disappointment. I'm appreciative of the win. I'm appreciative of the return of balance in our offense. I'm appreciative of the two turnovers our defense created. I'm appreciative of being 4-1. But I'm also disappointed in how close the game was with an 0-5 team. I'm disappointed in Romo's two turnovers. I'm disappointed in our secondary. I'm disappointed in our pass rush and blitz schemes.

I watched this game at my parent's house. Huge flat screen with HD. Thank God for HD. What an awesome invention that was. I'm watching us take a 17-0 lead and we look sharp. We're all over the Bengals like spider monkeys. I love this.

But then we begin to show cracks. I'm yelling for Romo to run and make some first downs with his feet. He does. Then he promptly fumbles. The Bengals seem to be piercing our zone coverage. T.J. Houshmanzadeh is killing us. We're losing our momentum. I hate this.

It's the contrast of appreciation and disappointment. I guess I'm officially spoiled because I expect the 'Boys to dominate against teams like this. I expect our overstocked secondary to make plays, deflect passes and create turnovers. I expect our deep D-line to get pressure and our coaches to come up with exotic blitzes that work. When that doesn't happen I get frustrated.

But that doesn't mean I'm not happy. I am. There are a lot of teams that would love to be 4-1. They are called the Packers, the Bears, the Eagles, the Falcons, etc. All of them would love to be 4-1. I'm happy that we've played so well offensively. Romo has the fifth best QB ranking in the league. Witten is ranked fourth in the league in receiving yards. We're fourth in the league in total offense.

Here's the thing though. We can do better, particularly defensively. We're ranked in the middle of the pack defensively (14th). We're 21st in pass defense. We have one interception this year and that was by Greg Ellis. We've seemed vulnerable to the short passing game against the Eagles, Redskins and the Bengals. Our DBs seemed reactive and not aggressive.

All of this was apparent in this game. We were brillant offensively in this game at times but defensively we weren't sharp. It was maddening. One minute we're pounding them with Barber and slashing 'em with Felix Jones, the next Carson Palmer has all day to throw and Houshmanzadeh is celebrating in the end zone.

These are conflicting emotions but appropriate for the times. I don't think any of us will be satisfied until we get a playoff win and a championship. We're expected to beat almost anybody we play. We're expected to dominate.

I would just posit that we shouldn't get too consumed with disappointment. There were times when we won five games for the season. We have four wins already. There were times when Quincy Carter and Vinny Testeverde were our starting QBs. Now we have a Pro-Bowl QB named Romo. Let's not get too down. We still have a lot to be thankful for.

So be thankful for your favorite restaurant, your sexy wifey and your favorite band. No one bats a thousand. The cook has off days, your wife has off days and your band isn't always sharp. But even when it's not as good, it's still pretty good.

The same for the 'Boys. Even when we're not as good as we could be, we're still pretty good.

Thank God for that.

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