Well, I've finally realized something about the Dallas Cowboys that I should have realized a long time ago. If I'm going to make a decision on how the game is going to end, don't say it out loud until the game is over. It's crazy how this game turned, and pretty much any Cowboys game. This past week, especially, versus the Eagles, was just a roller coaster of feelings and emotions. From being down by seven to up by fourteen in two minutes? Craziness. But enough of my obligatory rambling. Without further ado, here are the things I think:
1. I think...
that the lack of offense is alarming. Although the scoreline, 38-23, might lead some to believe that our offense had finally revived itself, it was clearly not the case. Apart from (at least my observations) the first quarter and the final drive of the third quarter, the offense struggled to move the ball against a depleted Eagles defense. The run game was, again, missing for most of the game, with Garrett running the ball a pitiful four times in the second quarter and only three times in the third quarter. Could it be a coincidence that in the first quarter alone, when the Cowboys had their most successful offensive drives, that they ran the ball eight times? While I realize I called for Garrett to put the ball in Romo's hands more often, at the beginning of the game the run game was making significant gains against the league's 15th ranked run defense. Go with what works!
2. I think...
That Barry Church is making his absence felt. I saw Peprah take several bad angles to the runner, missing tackles, and, by his own admission, get burned for a Maclin bomb that resulted in a touchdown. Without Church, several things happen:
- The corners cannot rely on help from the safeties. As a result they are forced to play off coverage many times, although I saw a small resurgence of press against the Eagles.
- This off coverage, in turn, opens up the middle of the field. Although the MLBs or OLBs may cover the slant and ins, that is one less pass rusher. Essentially, our $50 million press corner and overall #6 pick in the draft are being used in the exact same way our corners were used last year.
Now, I realize that no one is getting hurdled by fullbacks for TDs, but the defense could get still better, and that's something to look forward to next year.
3. I think...
The NFC East crown, which looked so far away last week, could be a reality. The Giants have a bye this week, and with the Cowboys playing the Browns, this is no time to let up. After the bye, the Giants play, in order,
We have already seen that the Redskins are no easy team to take down for the Giants. However, even if they complete their sweep of Bob, the Giants could easily go 1-4 through the next 5 games. The Cowboys on the other hand, play, in order,
Assuming we beat the Browns, Redskins, and Eagles, the division crown and a playoff berth could well be within our grasp as long as the Cowboys beat either the Bengals, Steelers, or Saints. Ben Roethlisberger just hurt his shoulder. The Saints were drubbed by the Redskins. The Bengals, however, just handed the Giants' dignity back to them--after stomping on it, chucking it off the Empire state building, throwing it again before Kamehameha-ing it out of existence. They pose a legitimate threat.
And...that's it! What do you think? Feel free to post thoughts and comments.