It’s never easy being a Cowboys fan is it? Yet I do think we need to take a few things from the game against Seattle that are not necessarily obvious but which might take a touch of the sting out of the loss. Take a look at those and the beers after the jump.
First, people have chatted all week long how well the Seahawks play at home. While we did not want to see that proven against our Boys, paraphrasing Adelai Niska: “now for us, their reputation is not from gossip… is fact. Is solid.”
Second, yes the Seahawks lost to the Cardinals in Week 1 and we’re just used to dismissing both as bad teams from the NFC West. Yeah, well, those same crappy Cardinals just beat the mighty Patriots in Foxboro. We might just have to recognize that maybe both the Seahawks and Rams are better than we thought, and that while we played wretchedly, the Seahawks weren’t exactly Cumberland College waiting for Georgia Tech.
Third, if I had said the Cowboys would be 1-1 after starting on the road twice, most of you would have probably looked at the schedule and agreed. Yes, we won the one that we thought we might lose and lost the one we thought we should win, and right now, those expectations leave a poor taste in our mouths. However, remember this: from any viewpoint, if we were to go 1-1 in these two games, we absolutely wanted to beat the Giants not the Seahawks.
Yet we saw 2-0 in our sights and regret the missed opportunity, as teams that start 2-0 on the road in the NFL are rare. Since the current divisional and playoff arrangement began, there are only 10 teams to start 2-0 on the road. As a side note, I personally thought that starting 2-0 on the road would be a huge boost to our playoff chances, but of those 10, none won a Super Bowl, only 4 won their division, 2 were wildcard winners, and 4 were out of the playoffs. As a reflection of the joys of small sample sizes, this means that teams that start 2-0 on the road are statistically less likely to reach the playoffs (60%) than teams that start 2-0 with at least one victory at home (64.1% as of 2009).
That being said, the Cowboys did in fact play wretchedly. Anthony Spencer pointed out that the Boys did not tackle. Tony Romo said they didn’t run, throw, catch, or block well enough. And if they don’t tackle, run, throw, catch, or block well enough, there ain’t much left to hang your hat on and get a victory in the NFL.
With that, I don’t know about you, but I definitely need some beer.
1. From all of us to all of the Cowboys players, here’s a Sam Adams (Jamaica Plain, MA) Latitude 48 IPA. Taking note of the probable improvement of the Seahawks, the defeat of the Giants, and the rarity of starting a season 2-0 on the road, we do in fact owe you a bit of latitude. But, Jerry and Jason and the Boys, you each only get a bit of latitude because it’s only one beer, not 6 or 12 or even as the Canadians say, a 2-4. Realize that with 53 players plus coaches and support personnel, you only get a sip each because you’ve stacked frustrating season on frustrating season. We want actual real progress.
2. 3. and 4. OK, I’m cheating here a bit, but really, you all will agree. Felix Jones’ fumble set the tone, but Bruce Carter could have completely changed the game around early. Jason and Dez could have changed the game around several times later with their combined 5 drops. You each get to share a 6-pack of Crazy Mountain (Edwards, CO) Sticky Fingers American Pale Ale. And if you guys think you need more, I’ve got a credit card.
5. I can think of one clear mistake Anthony Spencer made in letting Russell Wilson out of the pocket on a scramble late in the game, and there’s the breakdown on McCoy’s touchdown that might have been him or Dan Connor. However, he once again filled up the stat sheet with 7 tackles, 2 sacks, a TFL and a pass defensed. In a game where no one played really well, he was less worse than most. So, taking into account both sides of the equation, he gets a North Peak (Traverse City, MI) Dubious Black Chocolate Stout.
6. I’m not one for rooting for injuries, especially in the NFL where player life expectancy and quality of life after retiring is so mediocre. But I might just make an exception for Golden Tate. I didn’t mind the block itself so much, even though it was a horrible hit that should have been penalized and better get a fine for the head-to-head hit, because if I’m an offensive player and I got a chance to hit a defensive player I’m taking it too. However, standing there and showing off after looking at the prone body of someone you injured is classless. Here, enjoy this Alcatraz (San Francisco, CA) Arrogant Jerk Strong Ale. If you ever play the Cowboys again, remember how that tasted, because I guarantee Sean Lee will.
7. Speaking of Chuck Norris, err… I mean Sean Lee, your 14 tackles despite taking that cheap shot to the chin earned you a B.A.R.T.S. (Bay City, MI) Tough Man Dopplebock.
8. Oh, and to finish that play off, here is to the referees that gave a personal foul to a slight push in bounds while ignoring the helmet-to-helmet hit in plain sight that the NFL is trying to eliminate. You get your own case of a Sam Adams (Jamaica Plain, MA) WTF Herbed Ale. Really, what herbs were you on?
9. I think we all really liked and appreciated Mat McBriar. A good guy with a great leg and when he was released we all sort of wondered. Yet I think we can all agree that the early results on Chris Jones suggest the Cowboys knew what they were doing. He currently has a 48.1 average with a 46.4 net and while we can expect those numbers to drop it’s worthwhile to note that Leon Washington only had 1 return on 5 punts for 7 yards. Also one I thing I noticed and appreciated on the blocked punt was your immediate reaction to get up and start to chase after the ball despite the hard hit. Here’s a Heavy Sea (Baltimore, MD) Peg Leg Imperial Stout for your efforts. Now, here’s hoping Dan Conner learns how to block so you’re never sailing in those seas again.
10. OK, you’re just going to have to pronounce the “A” in this beer sort of like an “I.” Welcome back, Mike Jenkins. I took note of the way you played, which was actually pretty solid despite the time off. I especially noted that you played on special teams as a gunner, which is not an easy job. I have a sneaking suspicion that reports of your pouting are overblown and have more to do with your agent than you yourself. In any case, you get a Pizza Port (San Diego, CA) Return of the Mac English Brown Ale. Glad to have you back, Jenks.
11. Speaking of returning defensive backs, we’re also glad to see you, Danny McCray. You put in yeoman’s work on Sunday. You will never be an All-Pro safety, but playing all those snaps on defense after both Barry Church and Gerald Sensabaugh went down as well as your usual efforts on special teams on your first day back deserves some recognition. Here’s a Hudson Valley (Mohegan Lake, NY) Deep Sleep Milk Stout because you surely need the rest after that game.
12. Finally, we get to Jason Garrett. I believe in your process. I do believe that you have made progress. The reason I believe this is your emphasis on not letting either adversity or success hurt the team in the next game or the next play. You’re not there yet, but I think you will be. Here’s a Ballast Point (San Diego, CA) Even Keel American Pale Ale to help you weather the storm we both know is coming this week.
Well, that’s that for this week. It should come as no surprise that the beers this week are nowhere near as tasty as last week, but it could be worse. I am writing this while drinking the HogHaus (Fayetteville, AR) ESB. I guarantee that 27-7 tastes better than 52-0.