First of all, C’MON MAAAANNNN!!!!!!!
Now that I have that out of the way, I can not believe that Dallas dropped this game to the Bears. There is so much wrong right now that it is not even mildly humorous, and it is starting to throw me into a state of pisstivity that I do not appreciate. This game lacked so much that it will be difficult to contain myself and project objectivity towards the game. I will do my best to keep it as civil as possible, but I make no promises to contain my dismay. And now, on with the show.
Statistically, the Cowboys dominated this game. More total yards – 410-308, Longer TOP – 33:40-26-20, more first downs – 23-14, better third down efficiency, 6-13 – 1-11. But the Cowboys also turned the ball over 3 times and the Bears managed to escape without doing so once. One credited INT was knocked right out of Austin’s hands. I can’t really credit that one to Romo, or even Austin, that was mainly the product of great defensive play by the Bears. The second INT I have to fault Romo on. He threw it a little too far behind Witten. And then there was the lost fumble by you know who. These were drive killers. Then throw in the inability to rush on the Bears D, and it left the Cowboys one dimensional. This was a very ugly game, with a very ugly outcome.
270 yards and 3 TD’s given up through the air? To Jay Cutler? The guy that had more INT’s than TD’s last year? Jay EFFIN Cutler??!! Please tell me this is a bad dream and that I will wake up any minute. I am starting to think the Secondary needs a lot of help. The blown coverage on the WIDE OPEN TE across the middle is very disconcerting. Olson barely had anyone even look at him, much less touch him. The awareness of the secondary leaves a lot to be desired.
Another missed field goal does not instill confidence in Buehler. I know it was from 44 yards out, but shanking the kick as bad as he did would have been a miss from the one yard line. Seems like the return team needs a little more practice at blocking.
The play calling lacked too much to list. 51 passing plays and 20 rushing plays is not a balanced attack. I know the bears shut down the run well, but at the same time, the Cowboys needed to believe in their run enough to break it free. The plays were called to the wrong backs at the wrong times. Just when Barber started to get on a roll, it was time to change pace that resulted in utter failure. If you run someone one or two times with success, go back to it until that rushing style is expected, then put two of your three backs in the I formation and make the D guess at who actually gets the ball. Aside form the coaching blunders on the “O” side, tell me who’s bright idea was it to pull Ware off the field when the Bears were in the Red Zone?
Is there any doubt left in anyone’s mind about how good Miles Austin really is? With 10 receptions for 142 yards (14.2 Average) we all know he is a beast. The next top three receivers for the Cowboys had 156 yards on 11 receptions combined, for 14.2 yard average. This would have only been made more complete if he had scored. Dez Bryant is becoming the deep threat with two catches for 52 yards and a long of 28. Witten was on a roll as well. The offense moved the ball well through the air on a tough Bears D.
The defense constantly harassed Cutler sacking him once and putting him on his back several more. Holding Matt Forte to 29 yards on 10 carries, as well as limiting the Bears to 38 rushing yards as a whole, is the sign of a very stout front seven. The defense also forced the Bears to punt 6 times.
Dez Bryant. Nuff said! The PR for a TD is a very encouraging sign. Even more encouraging was the juke he put on the return that shook a man out of his shoes. Any team that can hold Devin Hester to negative return yardage is definitely on their game.
The goal line play action was my favorite of the game. Calling the run on 1st and goal was a perfect way to set it up. It made the defense focus on the run, which allowed the FB to get open in the endzone.
**Areas of Concern**
As you see above, we are skimpy with the Accolades this week. There is a good reason for that.
The off balance attack did not work. The three back rotation looks to be more of a distraction to the offense than a breath of fresh air. Marion the Barbarian look more like Marion the Librarian. Just when it looked like a rhythm was developing, he was pulled out to take a breath, and lost all momentum he had built. The same can be said of the off-sides penalties that seem to pop up at the most inopportune moments. Will the Cowboys opt to work on the obvious need for ball security and hearing the snap count this week?
The secondary looks like it is in trouble. It isn’t just the secondary though; it is the entire defense’s inability to compensate for the quick throw. When playing off the line as deep as they are, the DB’s are unable to properly account for the quick throw when the blitz is on. In this situation, I think playing up on the line in a tight man coverage is more effective. This way, the QB has to search for a receiver, or makes a bad throw into tight coverage that could result in a turnover. Can the Cowboys better their pass rush while covering the quick pass and check down routes?
Inconsistencies in the kicking game raise a lot of questions. Missing a 44 yard field goal and then hitting a 48 yard field goal is a little encouraging, but at the same time it is worrisome. Can Buehler get his act together and become the kicker the Cowboys need, or is this another episode of do nothing and let the ship sink?
All of the questions above really come from a lack of coaching. The O-Line did not give up a sack all game, but there were penalties, turnovers, blown coverage, bad play calling, lack of run dedication, personnel mismatches, momentum killers, and inconsistencies that all stem from lack of preparation and poor coaching decisions. Can Wade Phillips and Jason Garret get their sh*t together by the end of the season, or will they be packing their bags together at the end of the season?
**Players of the Game**
Offense – Here I am a little torn, because Austin racked up major yardage. But I still have to go with Chris Gronkowski for reeling in the ball for the offense’s only score of the game.
Defense – Also a little torn here, because Spencer recorded the only sack. But I still give this to DeMarcus Ware for being almost everywhere on the field. He was in Cutler’s face from the first snap and even deflected a pass as it was being released from Cutler. He was constantly held and he still pushed through giving Cutler his cardio for the day.
Special Teams – Dez Bryant! NUFF SAID! The PR TD sealed this one up. Also, this was his first career NFL TD. Congratulations.
Coaching – Even though they really aren’t coaches, and this section is dedicated to players, I wanted to put them in here somewhere. A big round of applause for the trainers that held Witten out of the game. He got his bell rang, and kept trying to plead his case to get back in the game, but if the held him out, they did so for a reason. I don’t know about you, but holding Witten out and dropping a game is way more important than letting him go back in and then losing him for the season, or indefinitely until being certain he is healthy.
Surprise Player of the Day – Chris WHO??!! That’s right, Gronkowski. Undrafted Free Agent, and the sole offensive TD of the game. Before this game, I thought the only Gronkowski playing was in New England. Just kidding. Anyway, this kid could be a pretty good steal for the Cowboys by the end of the year.