Brandon Carr and the Dallas secondary didn't crumble as predicted. But they were forced to keep the team in the game rather that hold a lead.
Prior to today's unbelievable showdown in Arlington, I heard on the radio that Dallas owner Jerry Jones had tempered expectations for a playoff berth given Sean Lee's injury. In the cold Ohio rain I walked to the gym, and it seemed to me that Jones had no understanding of what responding to adversity really means. Many of us show up to jobs every day that seem to be mundane and pointless, full of stress and harassment, and maybe worse awaits us at home. But accepting defeat before it happens is something that Jones of all people should discourage. In the NFL the system has been set up in such a way that there are very few "locks" that can be counted on. That's how mediocre teams like Tebow's Broncos and Charlie Whitehurst's (remember that name?) Seahawks made the playoffs the past two years.
I put that preface to this post, because apparently this isn't obvious enough to Jerry Jones and the Cowboy brass. The atrocious first half today against a team that seems to have a pact with Satan allowing it to win despite poor offense, was exactly what Jones seemed to expect. If your owner isn't expecting any accomplishments, then the smaller things like protecting the football, making responsible passes, and It's to the credit of the defensive starters like DeMarcus Ware, Gerald Sensabaugh, and Brandon Carr who kept the Giants from delivering the kill shot that Dallas was still in a position to make a game out of it in the second quarter. That's when Tony Romo finally synched up with Miles Austin and co. and the home team said hi to the scoreboard.
The title I chose wasn't a criticism of just Jason Garrett or Romo, or even Jones himself. Every player on the field had a hand in turning what could have been an inspiring victory into a travesty of a game. Stand-outs like Austin and Jason Witten had their efforts wasted by Romo's interceptions, and fumbles by Dez Bryant and Felix Jones.
It's obvious from any numbers perspective who was at the advantage in the game. Eli Manning's world renowned offense earned a paltry 11 first downs, and only one offensive touchdown. Three Dallas receivers eclipsed a hundred yards receiving, a feat not accomplished since the Cotton Bowl era. Under similar situations today, other teams would have buckled and collapsed completely and never mounted a comeback. That's exactly what happened in Kansas City, where the Chiefs packed it in after the first half against a division rival, or Philadelphia where Andy Reid's definitely checking flight times for a single passenger after his "Dream Team" was sedated by the undefeated Falcons.
I know that plenty of the glass-half-full crowd will try to glean some positives from this miserable day. There will probably be conspiracy theories on why Dez Bryant's last minute catch was a valid TD and that the part of his hand in bounds landed first. But it's unavoidable that the Cowboys are in a bad place as far as the pecking order goes. They remain the team that everybody's complained about for years: The oughtabe champions.
More commentary on the week past is forthcoming. Oh yeah and one positive: RGIII completely stifled and rendered useless in Pittsburgh.
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