Winning games in teamsport is only possible when individual teammembers are skilled and have the right attitude. And you have to be lucky once in a while and you have to take risk.
The right attitude is concentration on your position and assistance of teammates when they are faced with strong opponents and have trouble getting the job done.
In the past a guy like Darren Woodson was the correcting factor on the Cowboy's defense. With Novacek, E. Smith and Irvin on offense feeded by Mr efficient Aikman there were no problems at all.
But the lack of a skilled and overachieving safety is not the only problem on defense. Man to man coverage and poor tackling in the open field should worry Wade more than his kicker for example.
Dallas lost a game it could have won if the team had played with more intensity.
What went wrong:
Defense did not adjust to Mike Martz taking gambles with deep drops and throws. There was poor tackling in the open when it counted and it appeared that after a good start the defense lost its intensity and underestimated the skills of the opponent.
Conservative playcalling when it counted. After the fumble before haltime in Washington the Cowboys decided to kneel with 20 seconds left on the clock. That was given prior week's accident an expected move so why not give it a deep try this time with all offensive guys being aware to stop a return?
Dallas Morning News puts Buehler under the bus for his missed field goal (44 yards) and asks Jerry to hire a new leg. I do not agree. Buehler will develop into a monster kicker. He has a great leg and will be more accurate down the road.
The point here is that trailing 20-17 at that time the Cowboys were faced with a fourth and five on the Chicago 26yardline. Go for it here. If it falls short the opponent gets the ball deep in its own territory with sufficient time left to stop them. By going for fourth down when it matters the crowd and players get fired up even when it fails. (see for going for it on fourth down also Graig Easterbrook Tuesday Morning Quarterback sequence on ESPN's page 2)
So the playcalling on offense was too dull when it could have surprised the other team. If that changes, the tackling improves and the players only celebrate after the last whistle has blown Dallas will ease into the playoffs.
Dutchcowboyfan lives in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and is a follower of American Football since the early eighties of last century. The first game of American Football I watched was a game between the football New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys. The Giants were coached by a screamer (in my view) of which I later found out that it was Parcells. The other coach was a guy with a great hat and cool calm and collected composure, Tom Landry. I became a cowboy fan since then.