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13 Things I’m Thinking About Dallas Cowboys Type Things

I think that ... hmmm ... what was I thinking again?
I think that ... hmmm ... what was I thinking again?

Here are 13 random thoughts that have crossed my mind - or have crossed other people's minds, and I found interesting - over the weekend as the Cowboys notched a much needed win against the Seahawks.

- - For Jason Garrett, the Seahawks game was his 16th game as a head coach. His record is now 9-7. In the previous 16 games, the Cowboys were 6-10 (excluding playoffs). That's a three-point swing already, let's hope the full 2011 season looks a little better.

- - Norv Turner is coming under increasing scrutiny in San Diego, with the Chargers stumbling to a 4-4 record. Jason Garrett could certainly use an OC. Is it too early to start

- - Before the draft in April, I thought even the seventh round would be too high to take a running back. Boy, was I ever wrong. DeMarco Murray has the most rushing yards in a three-game span (466) of any back in Cowboys history. Murray has more rushing yards this season (539) than any of the 13 running backs taken ahead of his spot in the 2011 and 2010 drafts. And Murray has two 100-yard efforts in his last three games. Felix Jones has three in his four-year career. Tony Dorsett's take on Murray: "Cowboy fans this Murray kid is the truth".

- - In separate but related news, Garrett says DeMarco Murray is a complete back but declines to name him the starter.

"We felt great about drafting DeMarco. We felt like he was a complete back and I think he's shown us in the last three weeks what kind of football player he is. One of the things showing up a lot is he is breaking tackles. I think he's making some people miss but I think he's also physical at the end of runs and making after contract which is really an important trait for a runner."

I don't think it's a coincidence that Murray had his breakout performances when Holland and Fiammetta were both starting, so I'd like to see what Felix could do with the opportunities Murray had. At the same time, I think the argument that Murray was simply afforded more holes by the blockers is a little bogus; Murray was clearly seeing holes where other backs would have run into a pile and he was routinely getting large chunks of yardage after contact, often breaking two or more tackles. At this point it's hard to argue against Murray getting the start against Buffalo.

- - Do you know how many quarterbacks have more interceptions than Romo's seven? 13. The top three QBs by INTs: Rivers, Brees, Brady. Also ahead of Romo: Ryan, Roethlisberger and Vick. Yet everybody keeps harping on and on about the "Romocoaster." Philip Rivers leads the league with 14 interceptions so far this year. Last week, a writer at the Nationalfootballpost suggested that Rivers was having a "Tony Romo moment".  Puuhhleeease. When I saw Rivers throwing his two pick sixes last night I dug out one of my all-time favorite albums, River Runs Red by Life Of Agony, and listened to the title track. Repeatedly.

- - No team in the NFL has a softer schedule over the next four weeks than the Cowboys (.344, 11-21 opponent W/L). Better make the most of that opportunity.

- - The last time the Cowboys were more than one game above .500 was in 2009. The Cowboys need to get a winning streak started. And not just two a two-game winning "streak". We need a lot more to make the playoffs. Can you imagine that's it's been almost two years since the Cowboys last won three games in a row? As a reminder, here are the longest recent winning streaks and when they happened.

Two in a row: week 2 & 3, 2011, week 10 & 11, 2010
Three in a row: week 15 -17, 2009
Four in a row: week 5 -9, 2009
Five or more in a row: week 7-14, 2007 (7 consec. wins)

- - Prior to playing the Cowboys, the Patriots had scored 30 or more points in 13 straight games. It began with the final eight games of 2010 and continued with the first five games of 2011. Then the Cowboys held the Patriots to 20 points to stop that streak. Since then, the Steelers (17) and Giants (20) have also held the Patriots below 30 points. Is it too presumptuous to assume that the Steelers and Giants took a hard look at the Cowboys' gameplan in preparation for their games against the Patriots?

- - With 548 receiving yards after eight games, Jason Witten is on pace for his third consecutive 1,000-yard receiving season. He needs 474 more yards to move into second place on the Cowboys' all-time receiving yards chart:

Player Rec. Yards
Michael Irvin
11,904 88-99
Tony Hill
7,988 77-86
Drew Pearson 7,822 73-83
Jason Witten 7,515 03-11
Bob Hayes 7,295 65-74

- - So far this season, Kicker Dan Bailey has gone 20-of-21 (.952) on field goal tries and is perfect on all 17 PAT tries. Bailey's lone miss was on his second career field goal attempt, and since then he has converted 19 consecutive, thereby further extending the NFL record for rookies. Two weeks ago, Bailey broke the mark of 14 straight set by Ali Haji-Sheikh of the Giants in 1983 and matched by Dan Carpenter of the Dolphins three years ago. His 19 consecutive are also the third-longest streak in Cowboys history:

Kicker Consec. FGM Season
Chris Boniol 27 1996
Chris Boniol 26 1995
Dan Bailey 19 2011
Richie Cunningham 18 1997
Nick Folk 16 08-10

- -One record that also looks to fall soon is the Cowboys' official sack record, currently held by Jim Jeffcoat with 94.5 sacks. DeMarcus Ware is at 92.5 right now. Overall, that's good for number eight on the Cowboys all-time record list, as sent to me by a faithful BTB-reader:

Unofficial Cowboys Sack Leaders
(to the best of my knowledge, unofficial sack numbers are hard to come by)
1. Harvey Martin - 114.0
2. Randy White - 111.0
3. Ed "Too Tall" Jones - 106.0
4. George Andrie - 97.0
5. Jethro Pugh - 95.5
6. Jim Jeffcoat - 94.5 (official record holder)
7. Bob Lilly - 94.0
8. DeMarcus Ware - 92.5
9. Greg Ellis - 77.0
10. Larry Cole - 60.0

Here's what our anonymous BTB-friend commented about these numbers:

I think it's farfetched to project Ware at his current year's pace (1.7 sacks per game) for the rest of 2011, so I'll estimate 1 sack per game for the remaining 8 games on the schedule (still very, very good). That would put Ware at 100.5 (4th place) at the end of the season, and an average season (by Ware's standards) in 2012 would easily give him the top spot late next year. 

- -  One more reason to like Bob Sturm, this tweet from late last night: "Next time I see JJ Taylor, remind me to ask him if anyone mistakes him for T Dog from the Walking Dead." I'll enjoy The Walking Dead so much more now.

- - On Sunday, the away teams were 9-for-13. Let's hope week nine turns into the week of the away teams, and the away teams go 10-for-14. Go Bears.

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