A game that probably could have been won if just one of a handful of plays had gone our way deserves a random thoughts post. One twitter follower took offense to me titling yesterday's game recap "Cowboys Give One Away". There's no question that's the case in my mind. Are the Chiefs a good football team? Of course they are. I warned this loss (along with Joey, Rabble and Bob Sturm on last week's podcast) was a possibility. Andy Reid is a damn good coach; the Chiefs were talented last year with incompetent quarterback play and incompetent coaching.This was not a trap game in the least.
However, make no mistake the Cowboys blew this opportunity. They weren't beaten by a better team (as I was told in the process of being called the worst kind of Dallas fan. I <3 Twitter). They were beaten by their failure to do certain things when necessary. So, in honor of the randomness of some of the occurrences, here are my random thoughts.
- Tony Romo's ribs were a problem. When things started to go awry in the fourth quarter, I tweeted out that fans should be open to the possibility that Romo's pain-killing injection had worn off. Romo had only five incompletions through the first three quarters of the game; 22 for 27. His accuracy throughout the game was a little bit off. A little. His deep balls definitely had more air under them than we're used to, and yes there were a couple of pass attempts that did travel further than my ribbon-winning (6th grade summer camp) long jump. But in the fourth, Romo's accuracy completely evaporated. I haven't had a chance to look at the tape, but when Romo did that slow-motion scramble, I believe he fell on the ball. I'll be interested to see if that is when he really started to get errant.
- I've cautioned already that one game is too small a sample size to make sweeping judgements. Two games is still too soon. However, I am definitely keeping a closer eye on the Cowboys downfield targets moving forward. As I mentioned above, the few downfield attempts I saw were tear drops. We know the rib issue can affect the deep ball, as witnessed by the Darkwing Duck that Romo threw to Bryant immediately after the injury last week. Romo's 2012 deep passing accuracy was pretty bad. PFF defines this as balls that travel more than 20 yards in the air (no, this is not a grade, it's an actual stat, PFF haters). Romo ranked 20th of 33 QBs and the list of guys behind him is a veritable who's not who of pro QBs: Henne, Freeman, Cassel, Sanchez, Foles, Gabbert, Vick, Dalton, Big Ben, Palmer, Weeden, Fitzpatrick, Weeden and Ponder. Romo was only better than those guys? Yikes.He was 17th in 2010, 20th in 2009. The outlier seems to be his incredibly accurate 2011 when he ranked second behind only Aaron Rodgers.
- For the most part, Chiefs fans that visited BTB last week and on Twitter were awesome guests, but I admit I didn't tread into the FanPost articles or comments in threads not of my own. I was a little disappointed in how some of our folks were doing the entire "let's be dismissive as if we have recent championships" attitude. I hope those that were doing it learned a lesson.
- So we have this problem running the ball. I really don't know what it is. Is it a failure to catch onto the ZBS that Callahan wants to run? I don't know, but this is another week of failed running. Last week DeMarco Murray had a nice average, but that was a bit deceiving. The line got absolutely no push in the running game and most of Murray's yardage he earned despite the line, not because of it. I'm assuming the adjusted line yards (will be released after Week 2 is completed) that Football Outsiders tabulates will mirror what PFF showed after Week One. The Cowboys have yet to fix their blocking of the running game.
- The Chiefs co-MVP for me was punter Dustin Colquitt... man did he break our hearts with those punts in the fourth quarter. The first one was with 9 minutes left, where he boomed a 65-yarder that would have pinned us at the one if there wasn't a penalty for going out of bounds that made it a touchback. The second one effectively killed the game; 42 yards to the Dallas 4 with no chance of a return. He's a pro bowl punter, and that's what it means to have one.
- Even with all of our warts, the Cowboys look like the best team in the NFC East. It might be the equivalent to the smartest rock, but in this case, that rock gets an invitation to the prom.
- I've taken to assigning nicknames to Cowboys players over the years that since I handle the Twitter account, have a chance to spread around Cowboys Nation. Tyronasaurus was cool, calling Sean Lee Chuck Norris was nice... but I am so proud of Dan "Split'Em" Bailey. Over the offseason, the disgustingly accurate Bailey mentioned that he had been working on his strength and I stated on a couple of occasions that this would result in him solidifying himself the best kicker in the game with regular accuracy beyond 50 yards.His 51-yarder was right down the middle. His 53-yarder wasn't off-center by more than a couple yards. Bailey = money.
- Cowboys Cheerleaders >. Glad we cleared that up.
- I've seen it argued that turnover differential could be misleading because often times teams that are trailing tend to throw more interceptions in them passing more to make up a gap. It sure doesn't seem to be the case for Dallas in this admitted tiny sample size. One of the plays that could have changed the face of the game was Bruce Carter's dropped pick six. I love Carter and wouldn't dog him for not securing the catch in the midst of a great game otherwise, but that thing was a gift you have to capitalize on. The Lance Dunbar fumble directly gave Kansas City their final score and the deciding points in the game. I think I'll stick with the time-tested edict on this one; turnover opportunities are everything in this league.
- I liked Andy Reid better when he was getting stabbed by LeSean McCoy in a gif. He's now 18-12 against us in his career. I don't really think he did anything spectacular coaching wise... I'm just hoping someone in the comment section posts the altered gif.
- Dwayne Harris is such an unsung weapon and I truly believe we'll be making a mistake if we don't evolve his role in the team. Last week he was a special teams demon, earning NFC Player of the Week honors for tackling. Tackling! This week, he had a big 22-yard punt return and then a 35-yard kickoff return.The dude just boogies with the ball. Get it to him!
- Demarcus Ware is now just one sack behind Harvey Martin for the Cowboys all-time unofficial sack mark of 114. He would have tied it if not for a delay of game penalty that the refs actually decided to call on Kansas City in the fourth quarter. Which was funny, considering the clock ran out on the Chiefs twice earlier in the game and the refs "allowed" them to get a timeout called.
- I try to alter what I do in the game recaps. Yesterday's game was not available for most Cowboys fans outside of the DFW, so I did my best to recap each and every drive, to give folks a full sense of how everything unfolded, with as little added commentary as possible. But I often wonder, do folks read the immediate recaps or are they just looking for a new post to comment in?
- Read-option? Still fooling our DE's! Yay!
- Game Balls Go To: Dez Bryant's First Quarter, Dan Bailey's Plant Foot, Jason Hatcher's Inspiration. Game No Balls Goes To: 3rd and goal screen passes to outsmart a blitz that didn't come when Mega-Dez was one-on-one.