The Dallas Cowboys came out on the losing end of a 28-17 score Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals, giving the team their first losing streak of the season. For a team that had been breezing through the year on a six-game winning streak, the current two-game losing streak provides their first major obstacle of the season. They stumbled out of the gate against the San Francisco 49ers, but recovered next week and it was still early, the pressure of being a contender wasn't on them yet. Once they hit 6-1 on the year, there was plenty of talk about them being contenders, but there were also still whispers that they were overrated, that they had been winning with smoke and mirrors. Lose two in a row and that wondering is magnified. Are the Cowboys one of the better teams in the NFC like we all thought a few weeks ago? Or are they showing true colors and regressing to their true nature?
That's the question that is now presented to the Cowboys, and it basically revolves around a healthy Tony Romo. Today, we say what Brandon Weeden could do against a very good defense and it wasn't pretty. The Cardinals had no problem stacking the box with just about every player on their defense and daring Weeden to beat them. He didn't even come close. The fact that DeMarco Murray actually got 79 yards against that defense was a testament to the Cowboys running game even though it was their lowest total of the year (92 total rushing yards). The Cardinals, already a beastly run defense, decided that their corners could beat the Cowboys wide receivers and Weeden. They did.
With Tony Romo at the helm, you have to think things would have been a little different for Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams. It's hard to say if Dallas would have won had Romo played, we don't really know how well he could have functioned today, but a healthy Romo could have certainly won that game. The Cowboys defense had a bounce back performance and limited the Cardinals to 14 points for most of the game. They finally broke in the fourth quarter, but they basically got zero help from the offense. They provided seven of the Cowboys points, and the other touchdown came in garbage time. So Brandon Weeden and company provided a grand total of three points. Surely Romo could have accomplished more.
Dallas now has to travel to London to play the Jacksonville Jaguars, and in some respects it's almost a must-win. Losing a third straight game to the lowly Jaguars would surely shake the Cowboys' confidence to the core. Whether it is Weeden or Romo next week, the Cowboys desperately need a victory under their belt.
They say your season doesn't really begin until you hit your first real patch of adversity. The Cowboys are now there, how they respond next week is critical.