The Dallas Cowboys are playing better football, but just not good enough to keep up with a team like the Philadelphia Eagles. Philly has the full complement of offensive weapons from quarterback, to receiver, to running back; they're instant offense. No one was more impressive on Sunday night than DeSean Jackson. He had four catches, and owned the Cowboys. Averaging 50+ yards per catch, Jackson's tie-breaking 91-yard touchdown sprint broke the Cowboys back. Mike Jenkins made a play for the ball instead of making a play on Jackson. Big mistake.
"When I turned around, I saw the ball coming. My first instinct was to go get the ball," Jenkins said. "I went for the ball, just being aggressive. I probably should have secured the tackle. That's it - just small things."
That's the kind of small things that turn into big things when you have the speed of Jackson. It's the kind of small things that were getting the Cowboys beat early in the year. You have to be smart, gambling too much as a corner will eventually make you pay. Jenkins play is clearly off this year, here's his explanation.
"I let all of the pass interference penalties get to me," said Jenkins, who led the league in interference penalties at one point this season. "I've looked at film, and that's what it is.
"I have to be aggressive and physical to be good. I was trying to play without getting penalties, and it's not working. I'm not going to change anymore. I'm going to be aggressive the rest of my career."
I like aggressive corners, but you have be intelligent. You have to recognize that with a guy like Jackson, you try to cover him, but you make sure you tackle him.
As for Jackson's celebration taunt? That generated plenty of comment. Orlando Scandrick, who ran Jackson down on the play only to be undone by a poor angle, isn't particularly upset.
"We’re good friends and hang out in the offseason," Scandrick said. "He’s just being himself. Some people might say a showboat. But we all play this game. It’s fun, and what goes on between those lines gets left out there. Is it disrespectful? Possibly."
Mike Jenkins was a little more direct:
"It was disrespectful," Dallas CB Mike Jenkins said, via the Dallas Morning News. "He knew he was going to score. That's him. We beat him three times in a row last year, so he was going to come back and try to everything he could."
"I think if (sic) was unnecessary but that's him having fun," Vick said. "It hurt us in the end. But I guess if you run a 91-yard touchdown, you have the liberty to do whatever you want to do."
"I liked the 91," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "The fall, I wish that didn't happen. That's a little bit of the Hollywood left in him."
I was hoping we could get a little revenge on Jackson for that. Not even in a physical way (although I wouldn't have minded that), but by taking advantage of the penalty with field position on the ensuing kick. Alas, we only got to the 23-yard line on it, then promptly threw an interception. A better way to deal with the showboating?
"Don’t let him get in the end zone, and he can’t dance," Scandrick said.
Truer words were never spoken.
The Dallas defense did a fairly good job in limiting Michael Vick. He obviously deserves credit for some of the big plays in the game, but only as an assist guy, it was DeSean and LeSean who really hurt us.
"It was a huge emphasis for us to try to keep [Vick] in the pocket and minimize the plays he was able to make with his feet," Garrett said. "Minimize his opportunities extending plays and force him over and over again to throw with people around him in a rough environment."
People around him in a rough environment. Nice euphemism for trying to knock the crap out of him. Which the Cowboys actually did. Credit Vick with hanging in there and continuing to lead his team.
And credit DeSean Jackson for one great play, just when the Eagles needed it.