On Sunday, we watched an all too familiar scene play out on the surface of Detroit's Ford Field; once again the Dallas Cowboys failed to capitalize on an opportunity to take firm ownership of their destiny for the 2013 NFL season. Of course that lead to frustration from all over the Cowboys universe, including the inevitable "I'm through with this team" statement that we all seem to utter once a season. In other words, it was the typical reaction of the worlds most emotional fanbase. When the Cowboys lose a heartbreaker in the final seconds, it can seem like things are falling apart.
Yes, I know it is frustrating to see the Cowboys, who were up by ten points at two separate times during the final stanza, lose the game in the final handful of seconds. Naturally there is going to be some frustration any time that the team blows a lead as time runs down, even more so when the team is presented with a chance to break out of the cesspool of mediocrity that has plagued the Cowboys for the better part of two decades. I don't blame anyone out there for expressing their frustration, God knows I have on many occasions. On the other hand, take a few deep breaths and take a look at the bigger picture. Sometimes when you don't have a big victory to hang your Stetson on; it helps to take a moment and reflect on some of the smaller victories that you might have over looked.
For starters, in spite of the loss, the Dallas Cowboys remain in sole possession of first place in the NFC. The New York Giants stepped up and helped the Cowboys out by handing the Philadelphia Eagles with their tenth straight loss at home. Think about that one for a minute. The Eagles, who are the Cowboys closest competitor in the division, have not won a game in their own house since September 30, 2013. While, at least from our point of view, it could not happen to a nicer group of people, imagine how frustrating it must be to know that your team cannot even hold serve in their own house.
Dallas also leads the division by being 3-0 in the division and 4-1 in the NFC conference. Those are pretty good numbers to have on their side as the season moves along and playoff spots are determined.
The Cowboys should be adding back in a couple of important pieces very soon. DeMarcus Ware should be able to help Jason Hatcher and the "no-name" line get some pressure on quarterbacks. DeMarco Murray should return and give Dallas a little more punch in the running game. Safety J.J. Wilcox will also be back at some point.
Speaking of Wilcox, take a moment and look at UDFA Jeff Heath. Here is a kid who came into camp as something of a flesh and blood version of a tackling dummy, but half way through his first NFL season, Jeff made his first NFL start in from of 80 or so of his closest friends from back home. Sure he was pressed into action due to injury, but Heath had earned the opportunity to be in position to benefit from JJ Wilcox' injury. More than that, in his first start, the young rookie from Saginaw Valley State University held his own on the football field. He finished tied for second on the team in tackles and forced a fumble, from Reggie Bush, that was ultimately recovered by teammate Justin Durant.
The life of a fan is often frustrating, especially when you are a fan of America's Team; our standards are high. Sometimes we need to step back and look at the big picture. Right now the biggest focus of the team is to win the NFC East and develop some additional talent along the way. The Cowboys are still on the path to do just that. I just stepped outside for a moment and took a quick look upward. The sky is still in place (at least for another week).