Yeah, the Cowboys opened up flat on Thanksgiving, in fact they seemed determined once again to give the fans an ulcer. I had made the statement in a prior post that if the Dallas Cowboys did not come out ready to play some serious football, that the team from Oakland was just good enough to ensure that they paid the piper for their failure. Until the final two minutes of the first half, the events of the annual Thanksgiving game were proving me correct. It was at that point that something that I have been hoping for seemed to materialize.
When Tony Romo and the offense came out for the two-minute offense, they brought something special with them; something that has been lacking in Dallas for quite some time. It wasn't a fighting mentality, the Cowboys developed that during last season's version of injury-fest. On Thursday, I saw something more. Jason Garrett's charges came out with some football attitude. You know what I mean: there was a touch of the determination for domination that we used to see from the dynasty teams. The Cowboys, even being down by 14 points, played with the confidence that they were going to punish the Oakland Raiders for having the audacity to jump out to such a lead. It was the same attitude that we saw during the closing drive against the New York Giants.
It is one thing for the team to have that mentality during a single drive; what divides the men from the boys in the National Football League is the ability to maintain that approach for an extended period of time. Would the Cowboys be able to take that next step? That question was, of course, answered in the affirmative on Thursday afternoon. Coming out for the second half, Dallas once again brought their dominating attitude. On both sides of the ball, the Cowboys started imposing their will on the silver-and-black clad opposition. The defense started getting off the field early into each possession, and the offense began to completely dominate the Raiders and wore down the Oakland defense. The Cowboys started punching Dennis Allen's team in the mouth and dared them to do something about it. That was something that the opposition was unable to do. Even when the Raiders threatened to regain momentum, Dallas was able to smack them back down. That is one thing that makes the better teams what they are; it is something the Dallas Cowboys will have to develop if they want to return to their rightful place among the NFL's elite franchises.
Have they found the answer that they are looking for, perhaps the "secret sauce" that Stephen Jones talked about in Oxnard? Perhaps not yet, but they are on the right track. Still to be determined is how far have they progressed. The Cowboys will still have to prove that they are going to bring that attitude and confidence to the remaining games on their schedule; Chicago, Green Bay, Washington, and Philadelphia all need to feel the determination for domination that the Cowboys displayed in the closing half of the game against the Raiders. If the team can bring that to the remaining slate of contests, then, perhaps, the swagger will have returned to Dallas.
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