Seven seconds. In the normal measuring of time, that qualifies as a blip, a moment, something that comes and goes in a few blinks of the eye. In the NFL, for a pass play to last over seven seconds, especially late in the fourth quarter with the game on the line, is an eternity. For it to happen twice on the same drive is insane.
What the offensive line accomplished on the Cowboys last drive of the game is the under-the-radar equivalent of the Odell Beckham, Jr. catch. Okay, Beckham's catch was a singularly brilliant moment, hard to say anything is equivalent to that, but the Cowboys pass-blocking for two plays was amazing in itself. Last night, on the final drive when Dallas had to have it, on two different plays, the line gave Romo over seven seconds to find a target. One of those plays was the game winner to Dez Bryant. Two pass plays, one series, game on the line, over 15 seconds combined.
The offensive line is the Cowboys real MVP this season. It's hard to say otherwise.
First, let's observe the two plays discussed.
Now that you've had your offensive line porn for the day, let's talk the Cowboys MVP this season.
Everything the Cowboys are this season seems to emanate from this offensive line.
DeMarco Murray is killing the league, but he also leads the league in most yards before contact. How many plays have we watched this year, a stretch play to either side, where Murray glides to the edge, cuts it 45 degrees upfield, and is free and clear for five yards? It's ridiculous. Last night Murray ran for 121 yards and a 5 YPC average, and yet we speak of it like it's just another day at the office. That's special, but with Dallas this year, it is just another day at the office. Let's take one moment to praise Murray and the phenomenal job he's done with being patient, finding the holes, then running angry. Salute. But the offensive line paves the road that Murray travels on.
Tony Romo is benefiting, too. As has been noted by JSM8th last night, Romo is in the midst of a tremendous season. Again, we should all praise Romo, he's doing everything you can ask of a QB at this point. If he continues this way, 2014 will go down as one of the best, if not the best, season he's ever had. And you can also credit the line for some of that. Romo isn't running for his life every game now and he doesn't have to do it all himself because he now has a running game to lean on.
Even the defense is being helped by the offensive line. Last night was an exception, but for much of this season the Cowboys defense has been on the field the fewest number of plays of any team in the league. Teams just don't get as many cracks at breaking this defense as they normally do because the Cowboys can run the ball and control the clock. Praise the defense and the job Rod Marinelli has done. He's coaxed a team with average talent into a gritty, functional bunch that play with extreme effort. And part of that's because they are fresh, not exhausted, thanks to a mauling offensive line.
This past offseason the New York Giants decided to draft Odell Beckham, Jr. instead of Zack Martin. You can't blame them after you see Beckham's play over the last few weeks capped by last night's extravaganza. But Dallas isn't regretting the Giants decision at all, it allowed the Cowboys to draft Martin, inserting the last piece into the puzzle that is an offensive line. For all of Beckham's internet-breaking flash last night, Martin's in-the-trenches contribution to those 15 seconds and more helped win the day.
- "All sizzle no steak."
- "Only care about the skill players."
- "Would rather look flashy than win."
That's how people used to describe the Cowboys.
This offensive line has changed that.
They are the MVP so far.