Who Is Going To Make The Key Plays For The Cowboys Down The Stretch?

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

For the Cowboys to have any kind of chance at the playoffs, they'll need their star players to step up.

Did you know that the Cowboys have held the lead at one point in the game in every single one of the 13 games they've played this year?

Even in the two blowout losses to the Saints and Bears, the Cowboys held a lead, albeit briefly. And they also held the lead in their other four losses: Fourth-quarter leads against the Broncos and Lions, halftime leads against the Chiefs and the Chargers. They were in a position to win against the Broncos, Lions, Chiefs and Chargers. But they found ways to lose all of those games.

And here's the thing: The issue with the Cowboys is not that a guy like B.W. Webb is "playing too young this year", that UDFA Jeff Heath has struggled in pass coverage, that Nick Hayden isn't getting any tackles, or that Terrance Williams is running some shaky routes. Those are young guys or role players; you expect them to make the occasional bad play, that's just how things work in the salary cap era.

But where are the superstars on this team when it counts?

Why does Dez Bryant have the 7th most dropped passes (9) among all wide receivers, and why is he allowed to disappear for long stretches in games? Why does Jason Witten have the fourth most dropped passes (5) among all tight ends in the league? Why does Tony Romo regularly fail to see the open downfield receiver and throw an underneath pass instead? Why has Brandon Carr allowed the eighth most receptions (55) among all corners? Where is DeMarcus Ware? Who decided it's okay for Miles Austin to catch only 9 passes on 26 targets (35%) since Week 2?

The Cowboys were in a position to win 11 of 13 games this year. But they didn't. If they want to make the playoffs, they'll have to find ways to finish games. And they'll need to be able to lean on their star players for that.

Somebody has got to make a play.

Because if the stars on this team don't step up, there's no way a 7-6 team suddenly wins three games in a row.

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