Wow. What a game. Certainly one of the best games I've ever seen. Dallas' offense went toe-to-toe with the Denver/Manning juggernaut and were so close, so very close to a classic upset victory. Although it was a little closer than I expected it's pretty much what I thought when discussing the game in my last Fanpost:
Can we make a game of it? Yes, I believe so, you just won't catch me putting much money down on that though :) I think that under Garrett's leadership the team has always played hard and always fought till the end. I think we'll see a better overall performance than we did against the Chargers but it will probably come up short. Peyton and all his weapons will just be too much for the D.
On FITAT's prediction Fanpost three people predicted Denver to score over 40 points. Myself and Nichomachus picked 41 but Accidental Innuendo got the closest with 45. Congrats on being the most accurate predictor of our defensive woes AI!! I hope FITAT can devise another interesting prediction Fanpost for this weeks game too and I hope more people join in this time.
Of course the biggest debate about the Denver game became the Interception. Let's cut the waffle and get straight to it from the guy who knows best, Jason Garrett:
After game press conference.
Garrett: I thought Tony was brilliant today. I thought he played as good a football game as I'd ever seen him play. And unfortunately it didn't end the right way. They did a good job making a play at the end of the ball game. That was the critical play of the game and allowed them to ice the game at the end and we didn't do what was necessary to win the game.
After film viewing press conference 10/7:
Question: On the interception that he threw to Escobar was that the right, when you watch the tape over again, did he make the right read on going to Escobar on that particular play.
Garrett: I think when you evaluate that he probably should have come down and thrown the ball to the running-back. And that's a play that we know, we've seen him make throws like that between defenders in the zone a lot, he made a few of them in this ballgame but I think when you reflect back on it you say, when you felt that little bit of pressure on the left hand side kinda slide in the pocket find Demarco Murray it was second and 16 at the time, cut the distance in half, make it a manageable third down and then go from there. And those plays happen in split seconds, he saw something he liked, he cut it loose, their defender made a good play. It was the difference making play in the game.
After reading through the post game Front Page articles and threads and seeing the reaction I guess many commentators would conclude that Garrett is "nonsensical" and that he's a "biased idiot" and a "hater" because that's pretty much how anyone who saw it like Garrett did got spoken to in those threads.
I'm not trying to get into a debate about Tony's career in "big games" or "pressure situations" because it always goes the same way anyway: there's a group that's overly harsh and there's an even larger group who are overly protective and they pretty much go round in circles dismissing each other. Tony played a fantastic game. Tony also made a poor decision at a critical time. That play was certainly a key factor in the loss.
Having said that, clearly Romo is not to take the brunt of blame for this loss. When you're Qb goes 25 of 36 (69.4%) for 506 yards (14.1 average!), 5 Td's and only 1 Int (no fumbles) and helps the offense to an amazing 48 points you should win and win comfortably. The reason we didn't win comfortably was not the interception, it was because the defense got crushed for 51 points.
After 5 Weeks Romo is ranked 2nd in the NFL with a 114.3 QB rating and 2nd by PFF with a 14.8 Grade. He's got 13 Td's and just 2 Int's after 5 weeks. These are terrific numbers and clearly Romo is off to the best start in his career. The offense shows a lot of promise moving forward and it's a damn shame the defense has fallen apart.
Sean Lee Post Game:
Defensively we were just terrible. No way around it, we were just terrible across the board. 51 points, unbelievable. We need to take a look at ourselves individually and collectively and find a way because we're letting the team down.
Pretty much sums it up. We've been simply butchered that last two weeks and a realistic look at the roster clearly shows why. There's no need for the ritual coach burning here folks. Dallas' current personnel is simply not good enough. There's likely little we can do to rectify it for this season.
The good news is that we won't face Rivers or Manning every week. Over the next month Dallas faces Griffin, Vick, Stafford and Ponder. While those guys present some challenges in their own ways they're clearly not in the Rivers/Manning class. I don't expect us to hold them scoreless or anything but I also don't expect to give up 51 points a game to those guys either. With continued strong offensive showings we have a chance to win all four games. How's that for optimism?
The 1-3 Redskins are coming to Dallas and frankly we should win this game. The Redskins NY/A (Net Yards Gained Per Pass Attempt) ranks them 15th in the league. The Cowboys NY/A ranks them 6th in the league. The Redskins Defensive NY/A (Net Yards Allowed Per Pass Attempt) ranks them 31st in the league. The Cowboys Defensive NY/A ranks them 25th in the league. I think the only real danger comes from the Redskins running game (averaging 4.8 yards per attempt, 3rd overall in the league) but we've actually been pretty solid against the run (12th in rushing yards allowed per attempt). I think we have a clearly superior Offense we have a slightly less worse Defense! Throw in the fact we're playing at home and victory should be ours.
For a decisive victory I think it'd be very helpful to get off to a fast start and keep the Redskins chasing points. Griffin is no Rivers/Manning and if he's forced into 35+ throws it's good for us. In their lone victory Griffin threw 31 passes, 0 Int's and 0 fumbles. In the Redskins 3 losses Griffin threw 49, 40 and 50 passes. He had 5 Td's (5 passing, 0 rushing) during those 3 games but also 4 Int's plus 4 fumbles (only 1 lost though). Our D will likely give up some big plays but there should also be opportunities for our D to make a few big plays too. If our D can make a few plays I expect our offense to capitalize against the Redskins underwhelming Defense. A 34-24 type victory should be on the cards.