The postseason continues for the Dallas Cowboys as they take Monday off before starting their preparations for the Divisional Round game against the Green Bay Packers. Here is a sampling of the news after the thrilling (perhaps a little too thrilling) 24-20 win over the Detroit Lions.
This is the story that will not go away. Sadly, this is overshadowing the gutsy, daring win over the Lions. Hopefully time will allow a little perspective about just what Jason Garrett and his team have accomplished. I love this one response Pete Morelli had.
Archer: What did you see?
Morelli: It's not my responsibility. I'm a hundred miles away.
The pass interference call had some arguments both ways about it, but the foul that was missed earlier was more clear cut.
According to Blandino, the clear penalty Hitchens got away with was defensive holding: Hitchens grabbed Pettigrew's jersey while Pettigrew was running his route, and Blandino said that should have been called. If it had been, it would have given the Lions an automatic first down.
This is a fantastic take from someone who has been there as a referee (albeit at a much lower level).
What people don't seem to want to talk about is the fact that the receiver beat his man on the play...and quarterback Matthew Stafford made a bad throw. Why didn't he lead the receiver? Why did he look at the defender's backside and throw it there? Because he was looking to get bailed out by the referees. He had nowhere else to go and knew if he threw it at the defender, he could get a lucky pass interference call. And he got it...before he didn't.
The officials are not there to bail you out of a bad play. They are there to administer the game and maintain fairness.
I just love big, bad Ndamukong Suh getting in touch with his feelings. The article is mostly links, so I'll just include my reaction to it at the time as my comment.
@jonmachota My sympathy for the sobbing Suh knows few if any bounds. I mean, he got his suspension overturned just for this. Poor baby.— Tom Ryle (@TomRyleBTB) January 5, 2015
One of the great things about being in the playoffs is that everyone is writing about the Cowboys. No, make that writing about the Cowboys winning.
The Cowboys rocketed back to the top tier of the NFL on Sunday and it was typical Cowboys-there were mistakes, but they were so entertaining and brilliant that America can't get enough. In a palace of excess they call a stadium, it was like they never left the top of the sport: Michael Irvin gave a pregame speech on the video board, Emmitt Smith celebrated in a private box. You haven't seen a team win until you've seen them win here. This stadium seems to turn people away unless they are properly crazed about football and dressed in an oversize novelty hat. They gasp in unison when an opponent sneaks away from a defender. They get loud when they are supposed to and eerily quiet when they are forced to. If aliens landed and wanted to see American sports, we'd take them here.
As usual, Sturm's article is chock full of football savvy goodness. None better than this, the first of two key themes for the post.
1) - This team possesses a mental resolve and an intestinal fortitude that has seemed to be non-existent for many years by too many rosters in Dallas. When this group of guys are asked to dig a little deeper and fight a little harder, it often seems they are quite capable of doing just that.
Most of us see more parallels with the legendary Tom Landry, but this is something that also bodes well for the future. Michael Irvin had this to say after an interview with Dez Bryant before the game.
"It was Jimmy Johnson type stuff," Irvin said last week. "And he's been real true to form. The guys on our network I say, ‘Listen man, he's true to form to Jimmy Johnson type stuff right now.' These are the things that he experienced as a player and he knows how to press and keep it pressed. You know, like last week, he really played the guys. Now Jimmy may have pulled us out just a little earlier but Jimmy he wouldn't have told you. ... But ya'll know Jimmy would've said that previous Monday, ‘We're playing,' because he wouldn't want to lose the week of work and the intensity and the sharpness going into it. And it's smart to do it. It's smart to do it."
Never underestimate the power of the deep pocket.
"The goal of ours is to keep this group together," Jones said. "It's one of the best staffs, if not the best staff, we've had since we've owned the team when you look at the overall staff.
"Obviously we'd like to keep everybody here, but at the same time, we also respect if people get an opportunity to get a head coaching job. You obviously have to let those guys have their chance. If not, certainly our goal is to keep everybody."
One coach getting some mention for a possible head coaching gig, Scott Linehan, doesn't want to think about that now.
"I told Mr. Jones if there's any types of that type of stuff, I'm obviously humbled, but ... I'm doing nothing until our season is over," Linehan said. "I just love being with the Dallas Cowboys. Any of that stuff isn't going to be something we're talking about or even discussing until the season is over."
I love the smell of memes getting destroyed in the morning.
This is the fifth time Romo has led the Cowboys to a game-winning drive this season, and it is the fourth fourth-quarter comeback he's had. Though it's popular for folks to criticize Romo, the numbers don't lie. In regular-season games during his career, Romo has accounted for 24 fourth-quarter comebacks and 28 game-winning drives. Seventeen of those have occurred in the past four years.
Jason Garrett and his process are not getting nearly as many laughs now.
The consistency, and the persistence of his message over the last four years is paying off now, as is Jerry Jones' patience in a leader he's invested most of the last two decades developing. All of that combined explains why a team that acted like a beheaded chicken in big spots in the past has suddenly become so steady.
But no matter what, there will always be naysayers.
"I hope they see that he's made some pretty impressive plays and had big games," Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. "The only thing that will ever get them off his back totally would be to get that Super Bowl win. And I can tell him firsthand you can have Super Bowl wins and they'll still get back on your back."
This looks at all four of the playoff games. Here is part of the take on the Dallas win.
I've been one of the only people to criticize this Lions defense as not as great as people think. Against any good offense, such as NE or GB, this defense gave up great performances to opposing QBs and allowed those teams to gain about 4 yds/carry on the ground as well. Tony Romo's 114 passer rating was a brilliant performance, especially when you consider what he did on crucial 3rd and 4th downs: Romo was 8/12 for 195 yds and 2 TDs on 3rd and 4th down vs the Lions. That is remarkable. On just 19 completions, Romo almost had 300 yards. Also, DeMarco Murray ran for 3.9 ypc, and while not nearly as strong as his YTD performance, it was enough to keep this Lions defense guessing.
I'll let David Helman at the mothership provide the last word here with the head coach's explanation of what the team did to maintain composure after the terrible start to the game, going down 14-0.
"Put a smile on your face and just go play. I think our guys understood that and I do think some of the plays that we did make right at the end of the first half helped our guys do that," Garrett said. "We went out there and certainly played with the right mentality, mindset and demeanor in that second half."