After the annihilating loss the Cowboys suffered to the Eagles only two weeks ago on Halloween of all nights, I couldn't find it in my heart to hand out game balls that week. So let's reward DeMarcus Ware for his amazing performance and move on.
I think sometimes on here people are mislead by what the Game Ball series actually is. It is a fan post series designed to reward a Dallas Cowboys player for their play for that week. Just because I reward a player for their play that week doesn't necessarily mean my opinion has changed on that player. These fan posts are trying to reward players for their play and recognize their accomplishments for that game. So if I reward a player I don't like and talk nice about him it's because that player deserved it that week. I believe people misunderstood the focus and point of the Game Ball series.
Of course one is entitled to their opinion and if they feel like bashing me negatively that is fine with me also. But at least understand where I am coming from and what the point of this series is.
For the rest of the season I will be keeping track of what bold opinions I have on certain players, that way we can all keep track.
- My opinion on Anthony Spencer has not changed, I still think the Cowboys should move on and not resign him next offseason
- My opinion has not changed on Phil Costa either. I think he is an average player who lacks strength to be a force in the middle. The Cowboys ultimately made the right decision in moving on from Andre Gurode and I supported that personnel move. I truly believed Costa was going to be a lot better than he has been though and my opinion did change on him after the first couple of games. He also has issues with snapping the ball and I would prefer to draft a solid center prospect next draft.
- My opinion has not changed on Martellus Bennett and I still believe he is a bust. Great blocker though, but that's about it.
- My opinion on DeMarco Murray has been consistent since the draft, the kid is a stud and the real deal.
- My opinion on Felix Jones is still the same and he should thrive in his scat back role. I am dreaming of a better Darren Sproles and that gives me a warm and cozy feeling.
- My opinion on Bruce Carter hasn't changed either. Once he gets his feet wet he will start to contribute.
- My opinion on Tony Romo has also not changed. I truly believe he can be an elite quarterback, but right now I would put him in the "good" category just below Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees. Besides those three players and possibly Cam Newton, there is not other QB in the NFL I would rather have.
- My opinion on Gerald Sensabaugh is still the same. I think he is an average safety who I would replace in the offseason but I cannot deny his improved play this season. He has been extremely solid for us and he deserves the props from me. He is still not one of my favorite players and I would rather go after a true ball hawk if we had the chance to.
I think that covers it for this week and ultimately every week I will try to keep track of these opinions. We wouldn't want them changing every minute, so if they are written down we can all keep track. Maybe everyone can right down their opinion's and if they change we have a chart to look at so we can ridicule or applaud them for it. LOL, of course I am joking folks, just want to make that clear.
Let's hand out some game balls.
Real Deal DeMarco, that is what we should start calling him. After receiving kind words from former Cowboys legends Emmitt Smith and Tony Dorsett, DeMarco Murray had a decent showing against the Eagles. In my mind if that game had been a normal game and not a blowout, DeMarco would have had another 100 yard rushing performance, possibly more. Entering last Sunday the Seahawks had been one of the league's best run defenses. It looked like it would be a real challenge for DeMarco Murray and the Cowboys offensive line, but it wasn't.
Murray thrashed and pounded the Seahawks defense to the tune of 139 yards on 22 carries. He averaged a staggering 6.3 yards per carry and also chipped in 4 receptions for 47 yards on 6 targets. Those are big time numbers for any running back, but this kid is a rookie who missed basically the whole preseason. This was also a good run defense and Murray absolutely destroyed them all game long. Let's also give credit here to the offensive line who bounced back after a rough game against the Eagles.
The two plays that stand out to me were both against former BTB and Cowboys fans favorite in the draft back in 2010. On the first play, Murray takes a pass out of the backfield and embarrasses a linebacker badly on his way to making him miss the tackle. Then he plows over the great Earl Thomas. Now I am a huge E.T. fan and was actually looking forward to seeing him play this game against us. It was great seeing Murray straight run him over like that.
On the second play Murray shakes and bakes his way into the secondary where he is one on one with Earl Thomas. This time Murray showed off his intelligence. He firmly tucks the ball to his outside arm and uses his inside arm to put a stiff arm on Thomas. Had Thomas not grabbed a hold of Murray's face mask, Murray would have had an easy touchdown. Even when being yanked by his face mask, Murray almost scores when he reaches out to the pylon but went out of bounds.
DeMarco Murray has displayed the same type of skills these three games that I saw him display in college at Oklahoma. One could never question his speed or acceleration because everyone knew he was fast. The skill he is really putting on full display in the NFL is his power and vision. Rarely do you see a running back come along who is the complete package. This kid is the complete package folks and we haven't even began to see his immense potential in full display. That is truly the amazing part for us, the Cowboys fans and the scary part for the opposing teams we face.
Eventually Murray will see more work in the passing game and that is an exciting possibility as well. Tony Romo said that Murray is built like a wide receiver, but we just haven't gotten him the opportunity to be a wide receiver yet. This is why he is the complete package. He can run, catch and block. It's truly amazing that he fell to the third round of the draft.
By the end of the season, DeMarco's BTB Chia Game Ball imaginary mantle is going to be full with game balls.
We cannot move any further without rewarding Tony Fiammetta this week. The Cowboys haven't had a fullback of this quality since the Moose, now I am not saying he is as good as the Moose. I will say that he is our best fullback we have had since the Moose was paving the way for the all time NFL leading rusher Emmitt Smith. It's funny because both went to Syracuse.
Ever since this guy has entered the starting lineup our running game has improved and that is not a coincidence. Part of the problem was Jason Garrett looking for a utility fullback who could do it all. Now I am old school when it comes to fullbacks because I could care less how good of a passing threat he is. I want my fullbacks to be good lead blockers and that is exactly what Fiammetta is. Garrett needs to learn from this and try not to be too smart. Sometimes being too smart will destroy you.
Fiammetta is exactly what the Cowboys have been searching for and needed for the longest time since Deon Anderson was released. Great job by Fiammetta and we should all recognize the work this guy has put in for us.
Everyone knows I am a extremely hard critic when it comes to Tony Romo, but it's because I know just how good this guy can be. Romo can be an elite quarterback in this league, but right now I put him in the category just before that. Romo truly played perfect football last Sunday and when he is on, he is deadly. He carved up the Seattle secondary throwing for 279 yards. He completed 61.3 percent of his passes and was 19-31. Romo threw for 2 touchdowns and really it could have been more.
QB rating isn't one of my favorite stats, but Romo was nearly perfect with a 112.2 rating. The ESPN QBR has Romo ranked 5th overall for the year, which is pretty damned good. His week 9 performance was one of the best and came in 3rd overall for the week 9 QBR rating. Now I am not entirely sure how QBR works, but it does portray that Romo is one of the leagues best quarterbacks and that is cool with me.
Some of the passes Romo threw were absolutely beautiful and I wish he could play like this every week because he would lead this team to a Super Bowl if he did. The two deep throws down the sideline to Dez Bryant and Miles Austin were absolutely beautiful passes. His touchdown pass to Jason Witten was right on the money and those two just have a great chemistry together. On the touchdown pass to Laurent Robinson, Romo did his signature moves and adjusted on the fly, scrambling around to extend the play. The play was very reminiscent of Patrick Crayton's touchdown in 2009, this time Romo didn't have to spin away and duck as he did in 2009 but it was still a fantastic play.
The only pass Romo would love to have back was where he under threw Witten cutting across the middle and Witten made one of the best catches of the week anyway. Had Romo led him more, Witten would have walked into the end zone. Other than that I would say Romo was pretty much perfect.
Jason Witten did what he does best against the Seahawks. With the offensive line allowing Romo time to actually throw the football down the field, it allowed Witten to run deeper routes than he could against the Eagles. Witten tuned up the Seahawks defense for 71 yards on 4 catches and one touchdown. Witten is the best tight end in the game and it's really not even a close argument anymore. Yes Witten looks slow as molasses running, but he runs the crispest routes a tight end has ever run and has amazing hands.
On the catch where he basically plucked the ball right before it hit the ground, he displayed how good he truly is. He managed to catch the ball at the very tip of the football and pull it in for the catch. That was an amazing catch by Witten and we have become accustomed to seeing this basically every week he plays.
With Miles Austin out again for a significant amount of time with another hamstring injury, Jason Witten becomes a big time piece for the offense. We are going to need Witten more than we have the past few weeks and it's nice knowing we can rely on him to make plays for us. Not every team has this luxury and we should truly appreciate how good of an all around football player he is.
Anthony Spencer is not one of my favorite players but I need to recognize him for his play last Sunday. He rebounded from forgettable performances the last four games and put in serious work against the Seahawks. One a day where Ware was the obvious target of the Seahawks game plan, Spencer was getting consistent pressure on Tavaris Jackson. He filled the box score up with 5 tackles, a sack and blocked field goal.
The blocked field goal really was the most athletic play we have ever seen from Almost Anthony in his career here with the Cowboys. Whatever got into Joe D and made him teach the special teams unit to block field goals like that has been an aberration for blocking field goals. It really couldn't have come at a better time when that field goal would have made the game a lot closer. That was a huge play and I will reward Spencer for it.
The inconsistency to produce sacks was still there for Spencer though. On one play, Tavaris Jackson turns around right into Spencer and he couldn't make the sack. But in garbage time, Spencer showed off his ability to run down a quarterback from behind and that was an extremely athletic play by Spencer.
I am still not a big fan of Spencer, but he did have a pretty good overall game for us last Sunday and he deserves a game ball for it.
Besides one big play to Sidney Rice that went for 41 yards the secondary was pretty good, especially our starting cornerbacks. Whenever Mike Jenkins or Terence Newman has gone down, Orlando Scandrick has stepped up. Scandrick also lead the team with 7 tackles and his physical presence was in full effect. Many on here don't really like Scandrick but the guy is a pretty solid player that continues to improve his overall game. I know I am thankful we have a cornerback with his speed and physical skills.
Terence Newman was pretty good in coverage against the Seahawks. One play he got outmatched by Mike Williams but there was really nothing he could do there when Williams has the height and size advantage over him. Newman did get caught looking into the backfield and was burned for 41 yards by Sidney Rice, but other than that he was pretty solid. He had 2 nice pass deflections and Tavaris Jackson did give him an early Christmas present with a interception thrown right to him. Don't underestimate Newman's coverage on that play because he did read the play and route perfectly. He managed to get back underneath and secure the interception. Newman has been pretty good since he returned to the team.
We still need to replace him next year, but he should give us one more solid season.
Honestly these are the two defensive ends who should be starting or seeing more playing time. They are the most consistent of all our defensive ends. Lissemore made a great heads up play when he got his hands up and deflected a Jackson pass. Then Hatcher made a great play on the deflection and securing the interception. Perhaps the most interesting play of the part was the return. Rob Ryan practiced setting up returning interceptions and fumbles this year in training camp and it's paying off. Instead of just falling on the ground, our guys are setting up blocks and returning the play for positive yardage.
Hatcher returned the interception 16 yards and set the Cowboys up with good field position. The offense capitalized on it and Laurent Robinson put us up 20-6. This approach towards returning interceptions and fumble recoveries is a good one. Keep at it and some of those turnovers could lead to six points.