Another week, another loss. The time is ticking on a Cowboys season that had so much promise but through attrition has been brought low. Hope is what every Cowboys fan will hang on to but the reality of these losses are wearing the fanbase thin. The Cowboys are on the verge of losing every single game without their two biggest stars and that reality hits hard.
The Cowboys needed a win yesterday in the worst way and it seems this is the same thing we say every week but they just can't get it done. Despite a running game that revitalized under an offensive line that found it's groove during the bye week and a once-heralded running back in Darren McFadden; they simply can't get out of their own way. Is this really what this team is? If so, it's not certain that Dez Bryant and Tony Romo's returning to the field is going to be in time to matter. The ever-optimist would always point to the silver linings and there are a few to mention, but the schedule gets harder for the Cowboys at the time it gets easier for the rest of the division. Dallas has to do anything they can to win some games because as of right now they have an almost impossible climb to make. Here's a reflection on the game but also a dissection of what they need to do over the next few weeks:
That was the Darren McFadden that people were excited to see but don't forget to give credit where it's due. The offensive line really showed improvement from the bye week and Darren McFadden broke out of nowhere for 152 yards and a score. The Cowboys collectively ran the ball for 233 yards which is over 100 yards better than their best rushing game of the season. The Cowboys found ways to run this ball against the seventh-best rushing defense in the league, that shows that a light bulb went off somewhere. The reverses that went to Lucky Whitehead were equally impressive and as desperate as this team is, we need to see a lot more of this type of football from Dallas. McFadden had eight rushing first downs in this game as the offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage from the word go. Their performance has got to inspire the coaches to keeps pounding the ball.
Not King Of The Cassel
Matt Cassel threw three interceptions, I get it, but don't hang him in the streets of Dallas just yet. He opened up the playbook that was stale and frankly didn't work over the past few weeks. The first pick was a poor decision but Terrance Williams has to step up and either deflect the pass or at least try to make the catch. Cassel is not Romo and never will be but he still gives this team a better chance than Brandon Weeden. The deep pick that he threw was just a bad pass. He knows that he should have put heat on that ball instead of lobbing it because that just gave the defense time to get there and make a play. His first-down throw to "Toe-drag" Williams was remarkable but not better than the same throw made to Devin Street for the touchdown. It was remarkable how he put that ball where only Street could get it and Devin made a heck of a play. Going forward, he needs to settle down a little but remember that he's not only new to this offense but also hasn't started a game since week three of 2014. It was nice to see some chances go downfield, it was not fun watching them go to the other team. They have to clean it up.
Special Teams Blunders Continue
They got better field positioning in most cases yesterday but is this unit tough to watch or what? Cole Beasley is better utilized on offense and though his hands are usually good he muffed one yesterday to seal the loss. It's time for Lucky Whitehead to take the duties in both punts and kickoffs. They had a really terrible day at making blocks and the Giants bullied them pretty good. Dwayne Harris also let the Cowboys know what they were missing with his kick return score. Greg Hardy got visibly upset after that return and made a mistake but that's just the emotions of a very frustrating game. He was 'reportedly' inconsolable after that point and now the media is running wild with an attack campaign on Hardy and the Cowboys. The truth is that Rich Bisaccia's unit has been underwhelming dating back to the preseason. Just about the only people that are omit from criticism is Dan Bailey, Chris Jones and L.P. Ladouceur. They have got to get a clue and figure it out because the coverage has just not been there.
Dead Last In Takeaways
When you give up four turnovers chances are you're going to lose. When you give up turnovers and don't get any for yourself, you most definitely are going to lose and lose a lot in this league. That is the reality of this team. The pass rush has been solid but they cannot force a takeaway if their live's depended on it. That simply will not do for this team moving forward. They are not in position to where they can play mistake-free football, meaning they cannot keep missing fumble and interception opportunities. It's killing them game by game and it has to end. That's the go-of-it though, you get better in one category and extremely lacking in the other. They were second in the league in takeaways last season and now they are dead last. This is practically the same team with improvements on the defense. What is it going to take for them to get their heads out of their rears and make it happen? They couldn't force Eli Manning of all quarterbacks into making a mistake. He's thrown double-digit picks ten years in a row and two last week but Dallas couldn't get one for crying out loud. Defense? Do you play it?
This division is starting to look like the first to 9-10 wins in going to get it but the confidence that it's going to be the current cellar-dwellers of the NFC East is low. This team is 2-4 and fading fast, they must get back on track in the next few weeks or they risk an early end. The way they are playing right now is not going to cut the mustard and though there are some positives to take away, the biggest problem facing this team is execution. They haven't executed but they've been without the two entities that make this team tick. Any team in the league would have a tall task facing the same injuries this team has. However, the Cowboys would like to think they have good depth but that is certainly being tested right now. Can the Cowboys find a way to win the next three or even two of the three? They sure hope so because asking Romo and Dez to go undefeated is unrealistic.