When does 2 weeks determine our season? What makes these past two weeks feel so bleak?
I watched the last two weeks and feel as frustrated as every Cowboy fan. I hear the questions of the media, the spin of Wade and the frustration of the players, and wonder where the mismatch and disconnect is?
And then it occured to me, there are two over laying issues. The first is our history, and if you listen to the media it has been 80 years since our last playoff victory (suggesting that only the season at the end of the season has merit...tell that to a guy who blows his knee our in week 11). And yet there is a dark shadow hanging over my head because I am a "God I love the Cowboys" fan, and that is that for a fist full of years we get to December and fall apart and the playoffs are only a continuation of a trend I don't know how to fix or see that our staff has enough of a handle on to prevent from happening any time soon. And thus the upcoming playoffs feel like they might be more of the same unless Something changes (but I am clueless as to what makes us wake up and claim December victories).
The second issue is the current history closely being shadowed by our end of season history of our recent past. Last year we had a divisional foe who we beat by outscoring them...much like we did with our first divisional foe this year, the Eagles. But then we started looking more and more consistent and it was obvious we were becoming machine like in our abilities, stumbling only to the Patriot's machine. Towards the end of the year not only did we faulter but the Skins rose up and would have been a bear to beat in the playoffs. Put last year where we grew stronger (until December) next to this year (so far) and we see a side by side comparison between us and those hated Skins, and yet they are the ones looking stronger and progressing while if feels like we are fluttering around. --(I know it has Only been a couple of weeks but the graph inside my stomach is a feeling kind of thing that only the certainty of our team's strength and resourcefulness can make turn towards the positive....which happens by showing consistency in play and growth in the various units--offense, defense and special teams.)
We have started strong then faulter. The skins have taken a few shots then gotten up and started their dominance. We spring leaks on special teams and defense and our offense sputters. Theirs, while not perfect, marches on...and all the while in my head I know we have to first win our Division! We can't hope for a second or third place finish, so doing poorly against other non-divisional opponents must assure me we are getting stronger in preparation for the wars that are to come.
Their Qb is showing more consistency (offensive line please take note). Their defense is making things happen. They look like an engine, we look somewhat lucky. And so we see the Skins pull ahead in the progression towards looking like they are getting it all together while we are relying on pieces (TO, Felix, Barber, Romo) that sometimes work and sometimes don't. It seems like disrupting one should cost the opponent's defense causing it to be stread thin and making it susceptable to our other weapons....but that does not seem to be working. Maybe it is because Hurd, Miles and Crayton have become invisible men (with the lone exception being the tip ball drill that netted Crayton a touchdown....and who believes luck is better than skill on a consistent basis).
So the shadow of seasons past casts a worried pall over the struggles of the present, reminding us that history does have a cyclical nature....and yet we won the ballgame. Maybe we weren't convincing, but we won. And the players seem to be saying, "isn't that enough, heck it's hard to win in the NFL and yet we find a way." While inside my gut keeps asking, "yeah but is 'finding' a way good enough when we need you to be a machine that is systematic and powerful, predicatable and sure (like the 90's Cowboy teams)?" And I think that is why "just winning" does not feel good enough to allay my December memory.