This is the reality of the Dallas Cowboys right now. They're a good enough team to keep you interested, to keep you believing they might have something, but they never come through and prove it. This isn't even about one game, or one season, or one coach. This is about an organization that is basically stuck in neutral from a big picture, even though looking at the smaller picture sometimes reveals a team stepping on the gas while at other times they're moving in reverse. They just can't break out of this malaise.
Yesterday's game is the perfect example. Going into the game almost no one gave the Cowboys a chance. Yet as they do sometimes, they rose up to the occasion. Tony Romo was mind-blowing for about 58 minutes. It was arguably his finest game as a quarterback. 506 yards, 5 TDs, and acts of magic in avoiding the rush and finding receivers on his third and fourth reads. He made temporary stars out of rookie Terrance Williams and diminutive slot-man Cole Beasley. It was fascinating to watch and a possible blueprint for the future. This is how the Cowboys can win games, they can become the Green Bay Packers of past seasons and say the heck with a running game, we'll just sling it all over the field. Sounds good when you can eat up the yards and put up the points like they did on Sunday.
But then comes the counter-point. The Cowboys don't have a reliable defense and they couldn't stick with any semblance of a running game in this wild shootout, they had to keep slinging the rock. Eventually, that can catch up with you. And it seems to catch up with Dallas on a regular basis, more than other teams that are trying to be, or already are, contenders. In this case, it was the back-breaking interception. Other times it's a critical sack, or a boneheaded penalty, or a dropped pass. The Cowboys seem to invent ways to lose ball games.
If the Cowboys are reduced to depending on Romo's arm, and magic feet, to win games, then they are never going to rise above where they are today, which is a middling NFL team treading water. As good as Romo is, and man he was good on Sunday, he will make mistakes. It's happened before, it will happen again. The problem is, this team never seems to help him overcome that with any consistency.
I think the real problem is there is no magic formula to get this turned around. Dallas has tried everything it can. They've fired coaches. They've changed defensive schemes. They've retooled the offensive line. They've continually tried to add talent through free agency and the draft. Sure, you could say it's Jerry Jones' fault since he's the one common denominator. But I find that a weak reason, he's not playing the games, he's not making the calls on the field and he's definitely provided the Cowboys with tons of talent.
There's no clean answer here. There's no real point to this rant except to say constantly getting one's hopes up only to have them smashed again is tiring. Following the Cowboys as a fan is tiring right now.
This game was classic Dallas. Good enough to play with the best, but never good enough to be the best. As frustrating as it is for the fanbase it must be doubly-bad for the players. But only they can change it.
Bring on the Redskins.