It truly sucks when the Cowboys manage to lose the games they are supposed to win. By all accounts we should be the only undefeated team in the league and be there at an impressive 4-0. In his weekly winners and losers column, Yahoo's Charles Robinson points out two things about the Cowboys. Quotes and analysis after the jump.
First quote isn't about the Cowboys persay, but it proves one thing that I stated in the comments last week and that is that the defense must stop the run.
Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson
It has been a difficult season by Johnson’s standards. His numbers are still fairly good, but his per-carry average (4.3) has been held down by the lack of his trademark home run plays. Those will come. They always do. And in the fourth quarter, it was Johnson’s two touchdowns that won the game. Johnson’s second half against the Cowboys may have been the best of his season.
On this blog there has been total concern for Chris Johnson's ability to make the plays that count. I said in the comments to a story last week that the Cowboys will have to stop Chris Johnson and force Vince Young to make the big plays. The defense better learn its lesson and quickly because Adrian Peterson will require a similar effort when we play in Minnesota. That leads into the other thing that Charles said about the Cowboys, and it was pinned on the coaching staff.
Dallas Cowboys coaching staff
This is really simple: When Tony Romo has more than 35 pass attempts, I blame the coaching staff. It’s not a good thing for this team. That’s not a knock on Romo. You can only run the game the way the coaching staff is dictating it. And when Romo throws more than 35 passes in a game, bad things happen for Dallas. Turnovers happen. It would be one thing if Romo were doing that with supreme protection, but he’s not. So why is Romo throwing 46 passes against only 21 carries for the running backs?
Again, Charles Robinson is right on the money. Compare Tony's line from Sunday's game with Vince Young's.
Tony Romo: 31 Completions, 46 Attempts, 67.4% Completion Percentage, 406 yards, 8.8 yards per attempt, 6 sacks, 36 yards lost on sacks, 3 Touchdowns, 3 Interceptions, QB Rating: 89.6
Vince Young: 12 Completions, 25 Attempts, 48.0% Completion Percentage, 173 yards, 6.9 yards per attempt, 3 sacks, 10 yards lost on sacks, 2 Touchdowns, 0 Interceptions, QB Rating: 97.6
Granted, Tony Romo is the top performer of the two, but he threw three interceptions in the game and it led to 10 points for Tennessee. Just by considering that the Cowboys lost 34-27, and we take away those interceptions, we take away 10 Tennessee points meaning that Dallas won 27-24. Therefore Vince Young is the better Quarterback on the day due to the better QB rating.
But it doesn' end there. The injury report this week showed no banged up players. If that was the case, where the hell was Tashard Choice? Marion Barber and Felix Jones were involved in the game, but Choice wasn't. Charles correctly states that the running backs should be getting more carries and Choice should have been an option in Sunday's game. I suppose he was suspended for being the cause of that interception at the end of the first half of the game vs Washington.
My point, the Cowboys need to run the ball much more. We seen what happens when you don't run in the losses to Washington, Chicago, and Tennessee. See a major pattern developing. So do I. Jason Garrett must not get away from the rushing offense. True we had our penalties on offense and one cost us the Washington game, but that wouldn't have happened if we didn't give up the easy touchdown in that game.
The same would have been said for the penalty that we got charged on the game tying TD near the end of the game on Sunday, but the defense didn't do its job. That job was stopping the run and rushing the passer which should have happened on a much better basis. In the preseason Wade Phillips said that we need to create more turnovers in our games. He is right. At least we created them in the game vs Houston and got a net 10 points out of them. However the rest of the games we lost didn't see our defense create the turnovers. Here is what happened:
Washington: We did have a good defensive gameplan in place, but we never did do the best work possible. The reason for this is because we never took over the game enough to cause McNabb to make mistakes that would lead to any interception or fumble.
Chicago: We needed to rush the passer in this game and do so in a way that the pressure causes Jay Cutler to crack under pressure. All this should have continued and led to a turnover bonanza by our defense that would have equaled a performance similar to Super Bowls 12 or 27. Instead what happened is that we saw the Giants put on a defensive clinic against Chicago. That should have been us putting on that defensive clinic. Instead Wade dropped the pressure and caused us the loss.
Tennessee: Granted a lot was said about the game and a lot will continued to be said about the game, but the point is that we needed to stop the run. Once we did that, even the average pass rush will be too much for Vince Young to handle. The only problem with that assesment is that Wade Phillips stopped the pressure against the run. As a result, Chris Johnson comes up big in the fourth quarter and scores two touchdowns including the game winner.
As noted, a pattern is developing in our losses and it is the coaches fault that we are in this pattern. The problem is that we are in a pattern that could have been prevented. The coaching staff is a key to getting us ready for the game and it is clear that they aren't doing their job. If the Cowboys ever hope to win vs the Vikings, we need a game that is more like the Houston result. The sad thing about this team is that we should be 4-0 with the media talking about how much the injury bug hasn't bitten us. Instead we are 1-3 and facing a team that has a much tougher defense than the one we faced yesterday.