Last year was depressing.
This year is agonizing.
We should have beaten the Jets. We should have beaten the Lions. We should have beaten the Cardinals. And we sure should have beaten the Giants. Instead of being 7-6, we should be at least 10-3. But we're not.
There are a bunch of if-onlys from the Giants game. If only Romo wouldn't have over-thrown Austin in the fourth quarter. If only Ryan had toned down the biltzes when the Cowboys were up by 12. If only Ware hadn't gotten hurt in crunch time. And if only Murray hadn't gotten hurt in the first quarter.
That last if-only is the most depressing. Murray looked like he was on a role, with Fiamatta back as a lead blocker. How sweet would it have been in the fourth quarter to hand him the football and let him grind out yardage and eat up the clock? Instead, we lose a key piece of our team and any real chance to go deep in the playoffs, if we even get to the playoffs.
Instead, we're probably going to have to win three straight to make the playoffs. And the playoffs will not likely be a long run, especially with Murray gone.
But as bad as things are, it's not all that bleak.
More after the jump.First of all, I think it's time to acknowledge how good Romo has become. Sure, he over-threw Austin in the fourth quarter, but the guy was lights out all night and marched the Cowboys down the field for what should have been a tying field goal. In the last six games, he's thrown just two interceptions. He's done that without his best receiver (Miles Austin) for much of that time. More than anything, I think Romo has really turned a corner this year. It started with his courage with the fractured rib. And it's carried over to his play the last half of the season.
Next, you have to love getting a guy like Murray in the third round of the draft. Yes, he's done for the year, but this is a guy they can build around next year. He looks like a 1,500 yard rusher. He looks like a guy that can carry the load in the fourth quarter when the Cowboys have a lead. And man, do they need that. Just watch the Giants game again in the fourth quarter, where Felix had three carries for four yards.
You also have to like Tryon Smith and the commitment to younger guys on the offensive line. Sean Lee has been a revelation. Mike Jenkins has shown incredible toughness. And Robinson can make the Cowboys all the more explosive at receiver.
Do we need another interior lineman or two? Yes. Do we need a cover corner? No question. Does Dez need to have the kind of off-season commitment that took Jerry Rice to the Hall of Fame? Yes.
But this is a team with a much brighter future right now than any of us would have thought at this time last year. And that's worth remembering after a loss like this one.