Any loss for the Cowboys makes me utterly sick to my stomach. I like watching game film (really just a replay of the game) after a win because the mistakes, bad play calls, etc don't sting as much. Winning cures everything and losing magnifies everything. If you don't believe that, look no further than the Green Bay Packers, whose defense, namely the secondary, is just as bad as ours; the difference is they don't get talked about because the Packers are undefeated.
After watching this game film there's but only on culprit for this loss; it's not Orlando Scandrick who doesn't know the rules blocking in the back, nor Terence Newman who has become a liability not only in coverage but just being on the field, not the offensive line who without Tony Fiammetta can't open running lanes for DeMarco Murray. This loss is on Jason Garrett and not for the reason that everyone thinks. More after the jump.
It was clear in this game that Ken Wisenhunt was determined to stop the run and to force the Cowboys into passing situations. Typically, teams don't leave their DBs in many 1-on-1 situations because the rules favor the receivers now and the Cowboys have studs on the outside. Likewise, offenses (Offensive Coordinators) make defenses (Defensive Coordinators) pay for bring an extra man or men into the box. There were many instances in this game when Ray Horton played with 8 or 9 in the box (like I said, they were determined to stop the run) but the problem I found after watching film was Jason Garrett never made him pay for that. Now, I understand that Miles Austin was out for this game, but he's been out for a while and as has Tony Fiammetta (thankfully we get them both back in a true must win game) but if the motto for this team is "Next Man Up" then Jason Garrett his offense more. It is inexcusable to continue to run into 8 and 9 man fronts.
My hope after DeMarco Murray was drafted was that Jason Garrett would deploy different formations that would take advantage of mismatches on the field. For example, Murray in the backfield Felix in the slot and your other receivers being some combination of Dez, Miles and Witten. Again, I realize that Miles is hurt, but the rise of Laurent Robinson should still be able to make mismatches available and easy to exploit. This brings me to a point that will continue to be debated no matter what happens after this season and that is, we need an offensive coordinator and there will be one available who runs the same system that Jason Garrett does, only far better than JG, Norv Turner. Time and time again if you actually watch Chargers games, Norv burns teams for trying to double Antonio Gates or playing Cover 2. He same seem aloof at times, but I truly believe he has a killer instinct when it comes to making teams pay. The Cardinals sold out on blitzing Romo out of the 8 and 9 man fronts and please keep in mind the blitzes were not well disguised blitzes. By my count, Jason Garrett didn't call a single screen during the game, yet Norv burned Wade in 2009 for blitzing using TE, FB and RB screens or passes to the flats.
Initially, my plan was to highlight specific plays during the game that show Jason Garrett NOT burning the Cardinals bringing an extra man in the box, but there were too many. So, I'll post the links to the game and you can see for yourself. Shoutout to Kilyin over on www.cowboyszone.com for the videos. Any feedback would be great as I try to post things that would create some good conversation and have some insight into the larger picture.