What's a fan supposed to make out of a win like the Dallas Cowboys victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime? It's a win, but the team had some problems along the way. The offense might have found a new weapon, but the same mistakes and penalties continue to dog this squad. The quarterback looked sharp, but the defense only played 55 minutes again (although they did get a BIG stop in OT).
So how do you approach the aftermath of a game like that?
I turn to the all-wise and knowing sports sage, Ebby Calvin ‘Nuke' LaLoosh, from Bull Durham. Ebby has the secret knowledge you need to judge this game when he said, "I love winning ... It's like, you know, better than losing!"
Couldn't have said it better myself.
We sure didn't scare anybody else in the league with our performance on Sunday, except for a few opposing defensive coordinators that might have an unpleasant moment or two watching Miles Austin on tape. Other than that, the Cowboys lapsed into the same old self-inflicted wounds that keep them from truly finding out how good they could be.
You can make the argument that maybe this is the kind of win that can get something started, a near-disaster against an inferior opponent that slaps a team in the face, waking them up from a slumber. You can say the team showed heart and guts to come back and win even though they were the ones that put themselves behind. You can say that Romo found some of his mojo, and he found a new, fun toy to throw the ball to. You could say all these things and more.
But the only reason you can say it is because we won. In the NFL, it's not about winning pretty. Sure, we'd love for the Cowboys to blow teams out, but they're not playing for votes and rankings - in the pros it's all about W's and L's. Winning 26-20 in overtime counts the exact same for your playoff hopes as a 44-7 blowout.
The very simplistic point is they might not have done it the way we'd all like to see, but they did it. Win and move on. It's not quite one-and-done at this stage of the season, but banking wins in the NFL, on the road, is paramount. The Cowboys now have two on the road. Against bad teams? Yes. But at the end of the year, they don't note how you won, just if you won.
For every good someone can find with this team, you can find a bad. Tony Romo had a great day. The offensive line still gets too many penalties, at the worst times. Miles Austin played the Felix Jones role to perfection - home-run hitter. The defense gave up points late in the game, again. Keith Brooking is a long-toothed vet still knocking heads. Flozell Adams is a long-toothed vet teetering on the precipice. Tashard Choice runs with bad intentions. The defensive line hasn't figured out the definition of offsides. You could play this game for hours with this team. You could also drive yourself crazy!
At 3-2, the Cowboys have managed to keep themselves in the hunt. That's what this win does. It moves the ball forward on the ultimate goal, getting to the playoffs. Dallas is one of eight teams in the NFC with a winning record. We're in the hunt.
Forget about homers and haters - most of us are just trying to grab hold and hang on for the ride. Heading into a bye week is coming at the right time; getting Felix Jones and Marion Barber healthy will certainly be a bonus on offense. Roy Williams can also heal. Flozell can try to gather up a second-wind and at least return to reasonable form. The Cowboys can hopefully get on a roll. Then again, things could go the other way, too.
But for the moment, after a game like Sunday, just say to yourself, "I love winning ... It's like, you know, better than losing!"