There really isn't much need to have a lengthy introduction into what turned what looked to be a sure fire victory when the score was 27-3 into an epic collapse. I chalk this loss up to play-calling, plain and simple.
Now, I know that the first thing you're probably thinking when I said play calling is, HOW? I believe that the play calling dilemma is a two-fold issue, chief among them is that Jason Garrett doesn't trust the running backs. Brian Broaddus pointed out after the Redskins' game that JG called running plays that were blocked to near perfection and in the video breakdown, Tashard Choice, runs directly into the backs of the OLINE. Instead of making one cut for what would have easily been at 12+ yard run with the Free and Nagy blocking down the line and the FB/TE sealing the edge with a pull, he keeps the run inside for a modest 2 yards.
This lack of trust in the running backs changes his play calling completely. With the game in hand, with roughly 12 minutes to left in the 3rd quarter, what reason is there for passing? The increased number of passes increases the number of things that can - and in this game, did - go wrong. Raise the number of passes, increases the probability of interceptions just by virtue of the law of averages; the same is true for sacks.
Play calling for the Cowboys has been, pass to set up the run, since JG has been offensive coordinator and now, the head coach. An interesting spin on the traditional run to set up the pass. When it works, it's genius, when it doesn't it's disastrous. While the responsibility to make the proper read/throw is on the QB, the job of the HC/OC is to put his team in the best position to win. The defense had surrendered 3 points and held one of the best WRs in the game, Calvin Johnson, in check. The proper play calling keeps your defense fresh and in control of the game.
But, I don't want to get too far away from play calling and the running backs. This brings me back to the relationship Jason Garrett has with his running backs and the trust, or lack thereof. To borrow a line from Warren Sapp (which I really hate to do) "if all you have is a Pinto, that's what you have to drive." It doesn't matter that JG doesn't like Choice or doesn't believe DeMarco Murray has a full grasp of the offense, or that Felix Jones is banged up right now. That's what you have to drive, unless you go out and get something/someone different. It doesn't matter that the offensive line is young and banged up, it's what you have to drive. That offensive line held up pretty good against arguably one of the best front 4s in football.
If Jason Garrett really doesn't trust his running backs to run the football effectively, there are options, namely when it comes to play calling. Why not dust off the screen, see what happens. You can accomplish so much with the screen -- it gets Felix, Murray, Choice in space, it's just as effective as running the football, it gets a mobile offensive line that isn't as strong at the point of attack a head of steam to hit somebody, it wears down a defense for the dives, blast and gut runs that you're used to running and above all else, it keeps the clock running.
The play calling doesn't absolve Romo from making the right reads and throws, but it place blame where some of it needs to go. 2-2 is where most of thought the Cowboys would be headed into the bye-week, but what's most frustrating is that they could easily be 4-0.
I await your responses...