The NFL is a game of roulette to some extent, and it just seems the Cowboys have not have much of anything bounce their way in 2015. Such is life, so don't expect anyone to throw a sympathy party for us Cowboys fans. Dallas had a lot of things go there way last season except for the final game in Green Bay. However, this year just seems like a bad dream and the football gods have brought the 2015 Cowboys to the brink of ruin. So with that said, why can't we give up on them this season with their 2-6 record?
As Jeremy Mincey exited the locker room last night, he said something to the tune of the Cowboys just have to meet together as a team and figure out what our problems are, and correct them. So much of last season was finding that inner-warrior within themselves and never giving up on that. Even when they faced adversity like Tony Romo's two broken bones in his back that cost him a game. Even without their best linebacker in Sean Lee, who went down much earlier in OTA's. The 2014 Cowboys had a lot of grit and fight in them and I for one don't believe that's suddenly dead.
This team has had some struggles with playing what Bryan Broaddus would call a perfect game. There are no real perfect games in football but they struggle to find each other collectively in all phases of the game and it has really hurt their abilities to execute. Last night was the proof. Finally, the Cowboys get a really nice game by Matt Cassel(minus one horrible decision) but as soon as the rhythm on offense began to flow, the defense got decimated and gassed. The secondary completely lost their legs and couldn't stop a nose bleed. The game of takeaway also stayed as far away from the defense as possible and made Sam Bradford look like an NFL quarterback, though he is second to last in total QBR. Despite all of this, I still have hope. I mean, if you don't have hope, what do you really have?
Perhaps the reason to believe is all centered around Tony Romo making his return in two weeks. Perhaps it's because this division does not have a clear cut "best of the bunch." Either way, it will be the steepest of mountains for the Cowboys to climb to have any shot at salvaging a season that had so much promise. Romo would likely have to win seven games in a row to pull off such a feat. It's definitely pretty damn optimistic of a thought and is highly unrealistic. Still, I refuse to throw in the towel. Miracles can happen, right?
Maybe one of those 'come to Jesus' moments that the New York Giants used in their Super Bowl runs could happen again to this team that is filled with talent on both sides of the ball. Silver linings are never fun because we all know it comes from losing efforts but the offense looked normal yesterday. The defense had a terribly performance later in the game, but we know they are capable of better play than that. The 'come to Jesus' thought will hopefully click with this team when they finally have their trusted leader back in the fold.
Yes, never has a 2-6 team made the playoffs in the modern playoff era, when they went to 16 games in the regular season. But a 1-6 team did make the playoffs in the 14-game era. Last week, I wrote a column and mentioned those 1970 Cincinnati Bengals:
However, the most unlikeliest of all were the 1970 Cincinnati Bengals who fell five games below .500 at 1-6 after blowing multiple fourth quarter leads. Just the year prior, the Bengals had optimism oozing out of their young team that had only been in the league since 1968. Led by rookie quarterback Greg Cook, the Bengals had improved to a 4-6-1 record. 1970 started as a very promising year before their hopes were dashed when Cook was found to have a torn rotator cuff ending his career prematurely and the Bengals hopes at building their team. Assistant Coach Bill Walsh then was faced with the task of tailor-making a passing game that was more precise and horizontal to go with the style of their very accurate but weak-armed backup in Virgil Carter, The style has since been re-named the West Coast Offense and has been around ever since. Carter only averaging 3.7 yards per attempt in the first six losses improved to seven yards per attempt the rest of the journey as the Bengals finished the year on a seven-game winning streak. The Bengals would make the playoffs but lose to the Baltimore Colts in the divisional round. Carter though led the league the next season in completion percentage but would be remembered mainly as the signal-caller on the most unlikely playoff team in NFL history.
Where there is a will, there is certainly a way. Once you look at the schedules of the Eagles and Giants, you really begin to think. Sure, it hasn't been done since 1970 but there are always exceptions to the rule. Though I could be delusional, I'm not ready to move on to the draft. I'm not ready to lose faith, not when number nine is on his way back. Not when Matt Cassel showed some poise last night and could have put the game away in OT if he were given a chance to touch the ball. Not when there are still eight games to play and this team only needs one victory to gain some momentum.
So process this as you will, the Dallas Cowboys have not lost their will to compete and I trust that there's a way out of this doom. Strong teams never lose sight of their goals and can sometimes do miraculous things when faced with adversity. Strong teams don't tank the rest of the season and they certainly don't quit. It's been a tough season but the Cowboys are 2-0 with Romo. Who is to say that when he returns to this team, that can't help them flip the script and change the conversation?