The Dallas Cowboys loss to the New Orleans Saints is just the latest stomach punch for fans of the team from Texas. Cowboys fans went from jubilation to despair, back to jubilation, then ultimately devastation when the Saints closed it out quickly in overtime. The 26-20 loss came on a play when one final Cowboy came up injured, and substitutions had to be made. Confusion reigned on the final play, as it had on many of the plays in the second half as the Cowboys healthy bodies rapidly dwindled.
It would be easy to dissect this game and pin blame on different players, coaches or even the refs (I'll never blame the refs, but they were horrible). What it really came down to is the Cowboys can only absorb so many injuries and still field a team that can win. Along with the already long list of players missing, Dallas lost two of its biggest playmakers this season. Sean Lee went out early with a concussion, and Lance Dunbar was lost after halftime. Sprinkled in among that were injuries to other lesser players, resulting in a final play where little used Keith Smith had to come in and play linebacker.
Like most fans, I feel cheated by the Football Gods. Dallas came into the season with such promise, but they have been cursed. No one wants to hear about injuries as a reason for losing games in the NFL, but at some point there is just no getting around it. Dallas finished this game without a handful of their very best players, and they have lost others along the way who play important roles. The defense didn't even know how to line up half the time because players were shuffling in and out. The Cowboys coaches could have done a better job of keeping things organized, but it's hard to blame anyone in particular.
Will the Cowboys be able to survive once they get Greg Hardy and Rolando McClain next week? Can an early return of Dez Bryant in the upcoming month spark the Cowboys? Is there hope of staying afloat long enough to make a run at the playoffs when Tony Romo returns? There is no sure answer. As a fan though, sometimes you just have to ride out a season like this. Nobody could have foreseen this kind of carnage, except the Football Gods.