One week ago Dallas Cowboys fans were treated to one of the most ludicrous first-quarter performances in recent memory when the San Francisco 49ers came to Texas and delivered an old-fashioned spanking to the home team. One week later the same team went on the road and delivered a similar lesson to the Tennessee Titans. The drastic difference leaves fans wondering what to expect when Jason Garrett and Company pay a visit to the St. Louis Rams next week.
Make no mistake about it, the 2014 Dallas team is not as bad as they looked during the opening game. Despite the overreaction that follows every loss, I suspect that many of us knew that the squad that took the field at AT&T Stadium on September 7th was not what we should expect during the course of the season. We should also keep in mind that the team we saw in Tennessee is probably not what we should expect either. The truth is, the 2014 Cowboys are most likely to be found somewhere in between the two.
The most important thing to come out of Sunday's dominating performance is that we are learning what the team is capable of being. The offense is every bit as potent as we suspected it would be (when they are not shooting themselves in the foot) and the defense is not as bad as the experts believed. When the Cowboys play up to their abilities they are not half bad. They are not championship caliber yet, but you can see that they have some potential. If they can play relatively mistake free football and generate their own breaks, then this team will have something to say about who represents the NFC East in the NFL's post-season party. It will not be easy, nothing ever is for the Cowboys but neither is it out of the realm of possibility. They took an urgently needed first step in Music City.
"I think that's why we all have a smile on our face. Not just because we got a win. We needed a win. But the way we did it. You talk about being physical in the way you play, but to go and do it is another thing. Our team did that, both offensively and defensively." - Jason Witten
Witten is correct, Dallas got exactly what they needed on Sunday. The next question is will they be able to build on the foundation that they have laid? In recent seasons past the team has not been able to do so. If the Cowboys are to prove that they are not the same old team that they have been they will have to start stacking one good performance on top of another. If the team can do that, I will be inclined to concur with the Cowboys quarterback and his assessment of the direction the franchise is headed.
"I like the way our team is heading.'' - Tony Romo
Many of you know that I have been known to indulge in the kool-aid from time to time, but right now I am uncertain. I am not sure we have seen the real Dallas Cowboys yet. After St. Louis and the New Orleans Saints we will know more. For now I am still reserving judgement.