I’ll suffer the trials and tribulations, the utter heartbreak and the complete sense of loss, these things I’ll do if you tell me that this is all leading somewhere. Tell me there’s an end game that has new Lombardi trophies residing at Valley Ranch in the very near future. Football Gods, give me some kind of sign. Give me something to pin my faith on no matter how slight because for two straight seasons, I’ve been blindsided at the end. That quickly, it all turned to ash.
This year I truly believed in this team.
What can you say when things go so wrong so quickly? Who’s to blame? That’s a game we’ll play over the next couple of weeks as the time passes and we are left with nothing but performing autopsies. This was supposed to be our glorious season. We were 13-3, the #1 seed in the NFC, the door was wide open. As the game ended I was stunned, it just couldn’t be happening. I had flash backs to everything we had gone through since the Romo Bobble last year. I mean surely, Football Gods, that game was enough of a penance for this team and for these fans. But while that one had the feel of divine intervention for the Seahawks, this year’s loss can be pinned squarely on our own failings. Across the board, this team and this organization were not ready to grab the prize. This was a game that was there for the taking on numerous occasions and they failed to capitalize every time.
The failure to drive a stake into the Giants when the time came was a lack of killer instinct, a lack of finishing the job, something this organization has specialized in recently. We were so good for so long during the season, then imploded when things really started to mean something. Last year we had a lot of excuses. This year we’ll have a lot of excuses, or explanations or talking points for what went wrong.
The fact is the team buckled under the pressure and it was a team-wide phenomenon. You could isolate some players or areas that weren’t bad and statistically we dominated the game in almost every way - except on the scoreboard where it really counts. This team wasn’t primetime ready and their show was cancelled. Bad tackling, poor special teams play, penalties, dropped passes, frustration at the QB position, pass blocking that fell apart, the list is unbelievably long for how a team totally blows a game. And the coaching staff has to answer a few questions, too.
But don’t be fooled either, the Giants took that game. When they marched for a TD in under a minute to close the half they served notice they were here to play. In the second half, they just outplayed us, all with a bum secondary, another reminder of last year’s playoff failure. The Giants wanted it more and they weren’t the ones getting tight and playing scared football. They were better than us today and they proved it. They finished the game, they ripped the prize from our hands and maybe there’s a lesson to be learned in that. Forget the Football Gods, take your own destiny into your own hands.
Now we get to sift through the wreckage. Over the next week or so theories will be formed and solutions will be offered, I’m sure I’ll be doing a lot of that myself. Right now, I just feel lost. It wasn’t supposed to be like this but we don’t always get what we want. Believe me; nobody wanted it more than the Cowboys players and coaches. The problem is, when presented with the opportunity to turn dreams into realities, this team turns realities into nightmares.
There’s no easy way out for us fans. As bad as things seem right now, sometime in the near future I’ll start thinking about free agents who could help us. I’ll be mixing that in with thoughts about the draft and re-signing our own free agents. Because that’s the nature of devoting so much of yourself to your team. There’s always going to be next year. And I know this, the further we get away from this loss the more optimistic about our team we’ll get. We’ll start thinking that we went 13-3, that we had 12 Pro-Bowlers, that we have this player or we have that player. We'll start thinking about next season.
Later today, I’m sure I’ll talk in detail about the game and why we lost. But right now, all I know is that we lost. And it feels like crap.