The loss to the Chicago Bears was another miserable overall performance from the Dallas Cowboys. Because the Cowboys are now on their bye week, the next two weeks will be a tough time for the players and fans of the team. The time off should help Dallas and their search of figuring out how to get back on the winning track, but the long layoff is also going to have a dark cloud circling around the team.
This was a game that the Cowboys really needed to win because of the way their schedule lines up. Four of the next five games will be played on the road, and the Cowboys blow an opportunity to settle in at 3-1. The next four games are going to define the 2012 Dallas Cowboys. They are either going to find the answers to their costly mistakes and start playing better football, or they are going to continue to struggle on offense.
If they don't figure it out, then this could be a team lucky to win seven games, at best.
While Tony Romo is probably going to be the scapegoat for the loss, he isn't totally to blame. After the win against the New York Giants I said that Romo cannot be perfect every week, it's nearly impossible to play perfect football week in and week out. Guys around him are going to have to step up, but so far we haven't seen that.
Romo knows how costly the mistakes and turnovers were against the Bears. Tony talked about the turnovers after the game, and he knows that he must work on not turning the football over.
"You have to get over it," Romo said. "It’s going to suck for a few days now. Obviously it’s going to sit there in your stomach and just eat at you. ... In different situations out there, I just tried to do too much and help out different areas. That’s going to catch up to you in the National Football League. I’m going to have to re-assess a couple of things that are happening and make sure they don’t happen again. It’s been like this at a time where we had a game where we had turnovers last year. I just have to make a conscious effort to make sure to control that aspect. In saying that, I can’t try to do too much. I think I tried to do that too much. Going forward, I’m just going to have to do my job. And I will."
Some may suggest that Romo is trying to do too much, but that is just how he plays the game. His ability to extend plays is what makes him so good, but there are times where Romo is going to completely mess up because he is trying to do too much.
All I know is that Romo cannot carry this team on his shoulders every week. The players around him need to start stepping up and elevating their game.
One player who definitely needs to start playing like an elite talent is Dez Bryant. Does he have the physical and raw ability to become an elite wide receiver? He sure does, but his miscues cost the team last night. Dez opened up to the media and talked about his performance after the game.
"Very, very, very, very average," Bryant said. "Me, personally, I could have played better. I feel like each and every week it’s going to get better. I’ve just got to keep fighting through adversity. I can make plays, and I know that, and I know my teammates believe in me."
Dez was well on his way to having his breakout performance of 2012, but his inability to run the correct hot route (which is still up for debate if that was on Tony Romo) and his case of the butterfingers take away all of the good that he did do last night.
The drops were troubling because Bryant isn't known for having bad hands. I have witnessed Dez make some tremendous catches in his brief career, so it was definitely out of character for him to be dropping passes the way he did against the Bears.
If the Cowboys are ever going to get out of this funk on offense, then Dez will need to come back in two weeks against the Baltimore Ravens and have a great game. I believe in his talent, and I am not worried about him breaking out of his funk.
The offensive line also needs to step up and start playing better football. While the offensive line looked like they improved in pass protection, there were some terrible plays by offensive guard Mackenzy Bernadeau. Romo continues to see pressure from the interior of the offensive line, and for the most part it can be blamed on Bernadeau. The Cowboys need to get better play from him, if not it may be time for them to look at another option.
DeMarco Murray is an extremely talented running back. Murray has the skills to become one of the best running backs in the NFL, but he is receiving no blocking up front from the offensive line. The lack of a running game is starting to have an overall effect on the entire offense. Opposing teams are having no trouble with our running game, and our offensive line is getting no push at the line of scrimmage.
Right now there is no balance on the Cowboys' offense. I don't know how Jason Garrett is going to do it, but he needs to get his running game going. A good running game can open up the passing game and elevate Tony Romo's game.
Bryan Broaddus pointed out that the missed opportunities cost the Cowboys the game, which I strongly agree with, but he also blamed the failure of the running game as a major reason for the loss.
"While we focus on those missed opportunities, we also need to take note that for the second straight week, this team lacked a running game. Sure, people will blame this solely on the offensive line, but it’s more than that. It was a collective effort. There is really a struggle to get any type of push at the point of attack, but this is a tight end and fullback problem as well. Give the Bears credit for their run defense tonight but going forward, something has to be done."
I won't lie to you, it's going to be a long two weeks, but it's too early to count this team out. That doesn't mean that I am not deeply concerned about our beloved Dallas Cowboys, but it does mean that I still believe in the talent we have on this team. We just need the talent on this team to step up and start playing better football. If the Cowboys can do that, then they still have a shot of contending in the NFC East.