Two words, Jason Garrett. I could also say play calling. I will try to go over just the problem areas that stood out to me. Let's take a little stroll down nightmare lane.
Game 1 @ Redskins clock winding down on halftime we just got a first down on a Dez catch to move to the 46 yard line, then a penalty on Barron to set up second down. A good call here is to take a knee or try to move down the field, keep in mind we were under a minute here. What was the call? Screen pass, fumble returned for a TD. Terrible call because no one had a chance at all to even touch Hall but Choice. We had some success with short passes before this so a quick slant and out to one of the WRs would have even been a better option. We were at the 46 yard line and needed about 30 yards to attempt a long FG. And with Buehler we could have just tried to get 15 yards and attempted a quick FG. Also it did not make sense to abandon the run in the second half when we were averaging a healthy 4 plus yards per attempt. Our only score of the game came on the only series that was more run heavy 4 run plays to 2 passes and the TD was scored on a short pass. We were not close to balanced, 69% passing to 31% run. Moving on.
Game 2 vs Bears The second interception that went right by Witten who didn't have his arms out sums up the game, and the problem I had with the play calling is this series started on our 20 and we went deep incomplete, short for 12 yards, short for 3 yards, short for 19 yards, incomplete middle, incomplete middle, and short to be intercepted. Not one run call when down by only 3 points. Granted, our run game was not great, 1.8 yards for the game but neither was Chicago's. They ended up with a balance of 43% passing to 57 % running we were almost opposite 59% pass to 41% run.
After the first 2 games we finally started to have a little more balance in our attack but we kept having the same mistakes. We had multiple interceptions while throwing to the same targets or same routes. Examples:
Game 4 vs Titans, 2 of the INTs were attempts to Bennett.
Game 5 @ Vikings, 2 INTs both short passes up the middle for Witten
Game 7 vs Jaguars, 2 INTs both on the short up the middle, and then 2 INTs both attempted for Williams
Game 8 @ Defending Champs, 2 INTs both to Austin.
I know that Garrett can't make the throws for the QBs but normally after a team is jumping your routes you would start to go away from that. I'm not saying that we should have stopped passing to Witten or Austin in games 5 or 8, but I am saying that we should have stopped being so predictable that the defenses knew where the ball was going.
By everything we've seen since Garrett took over he made changes. I for one remember being completely distraught by the 3rd game when I could say what the play was going to be and who it would be to for over 80% of the game and that continued up until Green Bay killed us. Something we have all seemed to forgotten is that he is the same man that was calling all the plays in the first half of the year and should be held responsible for that. He did a lot better as the year went along but let's not annoint him Jimmy or Landry just yet. We can pray he is an opposite Wade; where Wade is a much better coordinator than coach, and hope Garrett is a much better coach than coordinator. Our franchise depends on it.