This has been a hard post to sit down and write between all the broohaha over flags and penalties, some real-world issues, and just a general feeling of elation over the win. So, apologies for the lateness.
1. On Raglan Road On An Autumn Day I Met Her First and Knew: For all the younger Dallas fans. It didn't happen in August, or on Raglan road, but for many fans this is their first real taste of playoff success. Soak it up young 'uns, this is what being a fan of the Dallas Cowboys is supposed to feel like. For too long we've had players we could be proud of, but a team that just didn't live up to its legacy. Over the last several years management has built this team the right way; with players it's easy to root for, and poised for long-term success. So for the younger fans, welcome to winning football. For those of us a bit older, it's been a long wait, but worth every second of it.
2. That Her Dark Hair Would Weave a Snare That I Would One Day Rue: For years Dallas has fallen prey to the snare of free agency, and have come to rue it. Over the past three or four years we have started to move away from the big free agents, building the team internally and targeting mid-level and project free agents. And Sundays win was a testament to that ideology.
Who made the biggest impacts on Sunday's game? Jeremy Mincey, the epitome of mid-level free agent. Cole Beasley, UDFA. Terrance Williams, third-round draft pick. Homegrown mid-round pick, Jason Witten.
Really think about it. Outside of Tony Romo and Jason Witten did any high-priced player stand out? Brandon Carr made a good play, but he certainly wasn't the turning point of this game. Dez Bryant is going to get paid, but for right now he's on his rookie contract, just like most of the offensive line. Anthony Spencer came up big; but he's both home grown, and here on a two million dollar deal. It was young players and smart free agents that won this game. Let the years of over the hill and overpaid free agents finally be gone. Goodbye stars and scrubs.
3. I Saw the Danger Yet I Walked Along the Enchanted Way: Dallas is going to pay Dez Bryant, and they should. He's the most dangerous playmaker on the team, and one of the most dangerous in the NFL. This game was a perfect example of that. His final stats don't show much, just three catches for 48 yards. But it was his electric catch and run that jump-started the Cowboys passing offense in the third quarter. More importantly, Bryant affects the game even when he's not catching the ball. Detroit was shading coverage his way all night, opening things up for Cole Beasley and Terrance Williams. Dez has also emerged as a vocal leader on the team.
4. And I Said Let Grief Be a Falling Leaf at the Dawning of the Day: Our very own Tom Ryle nailed it in this article, when he compared the difference in coaching of the Lions and Cowboys. When push came to shove Jason Garrett played to win, and Jim Caldwell froze. That was ultimately the difference in this game.
I talked about how halftime adjustments helped our offense get on track in the third. That in itself is a remarkable thing. How often in the past have we talked about an inability to adjust? Well that didn't happen in this game. Coming in the Lions defense had a better gameplan than the Cowboys. But ultimately it was our coaches who made the winning adjustments, and their coaches who choked under pressure. And that made all the difference.
5. How Bout Them Cowboys!!! The truth is, I have too many thoughts about this game. I can't even remember, let alone talk about, all the big plays. The mental fortitude of this team, especially Tony Romo, was incredible. A couple of times I thought the defense looked done, but they ultimately refused to give up. It's a testament to the team, to the coaches, and to the organization as a whole. I don't care what the media says, I don't care what the memes are. I'm proud of this team. I'm proud of Cowboys Nation. And not to get too sappy, but I'm proud to call BTB home. No matter what happens next week, this has been one hell of a year. So there's really only one thing to say; How Bout Them Cowboys!