Going into the last game, the Redskins had the 5th best rushing defense. They had the 30th ranked pass defense. The Cowboys had the 3rd best passing offense, and the 31st ranked rushing offense in the league.
In the 2nd half of the first game, the Cowboys scored 28 points. They ran once (a Tony Romo scramble) after rushing 10 times (and scoring 3 points) in the first half. Going into this game, the Cowboy's defense was battered and bruised. Everybody knew that the Cowboys had to score a lot of points for them to have a chance to win. Additionally, for the season, Cowboys had about a 2:1 pass to run ratio.
Given the need to score points and the obvious mismatch between the Cowboy's pass offense and the Redskins' pass defense, it was predictable what the Cowboys would do. With all the planets in alignment and the heavens saying that the Cowboys need to throw the ball, Garrett runs, runs, and runs some more. Garrett apparently feels the need to "set up" the play action pass, except we only throw a few deep balls the entire game. Anyway, the Redskins are jumping for joy. Instead of running routes against their depleted secondary, we have Dez, Austin, and Witten blocking and Romo handing off. The most explosive players on the Cowboys are rendered almost useless.
At the 10:32 mark of the 4th quarter. The Cowboys had run 25 pass plays and 22 run plays. They were down 20-10 at that point. Into the 4th quarter and the Cowboys have only scored 10 points against one of the worst defenses in the league. Of course, this is a situation that we've seen time and time and time again this season. No surprises here.
BTW – has Jason Garrett ever seen a blitz? Where were the adjustments? The Redskins didn't get to be the 30th ranked pass defense because they were unlucky. Good offenses should be able to take advantage of blitzes by teams with bad secondaries.
Going into the offseason, I wouldn't be surprised to have Jerry move Garrett to be the "full-time" head coach and get somebody else to be the player caller. I thought Norv Turner might be that guy last year, but the Chargers brought him back. However, he won't be back with the Chargers this year so he might be available. That would seemingly push Callahan out but for being an offensive line guru, the play of the offensive line this year was really bad. Actually, I take it all back. Getting a new play caller would be the right thing to do, but I don't have confidence in the Cowboy's management doing the right thing.
Another BTW – anybody think Claiborne played like the 6th pick and top defensive player taken in the draft this year? Granted, rookie CBs are typically abused, but he was the top defensive player taken. Anybody notice his great speed? (no), great tackling? (no), great break on the ball? (no), great ball hawking skills? (no). I'll give him another year before I label him a bust, but he really needs to step up his game to justify where he got picked in the draft.
Going into the offseason, the biggest question will be the offensive line (for the 3rd year in a row). Smith and Livings are keepers but everybody else needs to worry about their job. I would say safety is an issue but Sensabaugh and Church are signed long-term. Sensabaugh is an enigma to me … sometimes he'll make a good play but other times he is standing around the pile disinterested in contact.
We've got a big decision to make with Spencer. If the Cowboys can sign him to a cap-friendly deal, they should bring him back. I think Ratliff and Free may not be back next year. Both of them may be "June 1st" cuts. Ratliff cannot stay healthy and Free's play is not justifying his contract.
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