It's frustrating being a Dallas Cowboys fan. Just when they give you some hope that they may be turning the corner, that they might become a serious playoff contender, they let you down. Heading into the game with the Chargers there were some very compelling reasons to believe that Dallas could leave California a 3-1 team and stake their claim to being the dominant team in the NFC East. The Chargers offensive line was banged up and the Cowboys defensive line was turning into a special group. The Chargers defense had put up awful numbers all year. This was a game Dallas could win.
And for a while, it looked like they would. They started slow and that could have been a warning sign (maybe it was), but the Cowboys soon recovered and raced out to a 21-10 lead. Last week when Dallas got a sizable lead they didn't let up. They pummeled the Rams into submission. Not so this week. The defense immediately gave up a very easy 2-minute drive for a field goal. Besides giving up the three points, they gave San Diego momentum going into the second half. It also looked like they showed San Diego how to beat them. Using a mix of runs and passes over the middle, they threw in an occasional deeper shot down field and the Cowboys defense was helpless to stop them.
Yesterday Tom Ryle asked us to contribute to an article about what most worried us concerning the Cowboys. My answered center on the Cowboys front-four suddenly not getting to the passer thereby exposing a pass defense that has yet to prove it is a shutdown defense. I didn't think it would be this game when it happened, not with the Chargers offensive line banged up as it was, but it turned out that is what happened. Besides a few moments of harassment, Philip Rivers was very comfortable in the pocket and spent most of the game playing pitch-and-catch with his receivers. The Cowboys never really adjusted so it became Groundhog Day out there. When a QB goes 35 of 42 for 401 yards and 3 TDs, you got a serious problem with your pass defense. Without a pass rush disrupting things for the opposing QB, the Cowboys defense looked like it did the first week against the Giants and that's not a good thing.
So here we are again, the inconsistent Cowboys are back to 2-2, back to mediocrity, the same place they've been for a decade or more. Presented with a golden opportunity to make a change, to become a serious force, they coughed up an 11-point lead with very little resistance.
Hamsters spinning on a wheel, never getting anywhere.