The Cowboys finished things off with their fourth straight loss, falling to the Washington Redskins 34-23. Alas, it's over. So before we put on our forward faces, here are five quick observations from Sunday's action.
1. The perfect script
Moral victories are for losers, but I was really hoping the Cowboys would string together as much good football as they could that would just be enough to come up short in winning the game. After all, they've been putting together those types of games all year, so how about one for the road?
The Cowboys would oblige as the offense would orchestrate some really impressive drives only to come away empty a couple times. Usually the team settles for field goals, but today, they just gave the ball away. Kellen Moore would throw a pick at the two-yard line and Darren McFadden would cap off a nice run by fumbling the ball out of the end zone. It was a perfect way to almost score.
The offense would make a lot of good plays. Terrance Williams would have 173 yards receiving which is a career high for him. Cole Beasley would catch two touchdowns. And Darren McFadden would rush for 92 yards eclipsing the 1,000 yard mark for only the second time in his career. Kellen Moore would have a Jeckyl and Hyde game as he'd throw two interceptions and fumble a snap exchange, but then he also would throw for 435 yards and three touchdowns. Things were a little frustrating for him early...
2. The wacky world of the turnover differential
The Cowboys went from 6th in the league last year at the turnover margin to dead last this season. The team is one of the worst at protecting the ball and is the absolutely worst at taking it away. While it is no laughing matter, you can't control the hysterical laughter that possesses your body when you see some of the plays that take place. I mean how many times are we going to see a Cowboys defender almost make an interception? The ball will be right there in front of them and they will throw their arms at it as if they're wearing a blindfold. And the fumble by Darren McFadden is just poetic. After a good run that should have resulted in a touchdown, the ball is popped loose and sure enough - it bounces out of the end zone for a touchback. It's not even surprising anymore.
3. The run defense suffers without Sean Lee
One of the big questions coming into the game was whether or not Sean Lee would play in this game as he had a $2 million bonus at stake. That question was answered early when he was seen on the sideline in street clothes.
The Cowboys run defense seems to be night and day based on the how involved they can get Lee. And on Sunday, he wasn't involved at all. The Redskins running back Alfred Morris would rush for 100 yards on 19 carries.
4. The secondary was terrible
Coming into the game, the Cowboys pass defense ranked 5th in the league in yardage. That will no longer be the case. The Redskins lit up the Cowboys secondary with four receiving touchdowns. With Terrance Mitchell and Deji Olatoye out there getting a lot of reps, it's not unreasonable to see some let downs in the secondary, however it wasn't these former practice squad guys that were allowing the big plays. Both Brandon Carr and Byron Jones were caught out of position at times. And if they were expecting any help from J.J. Wilcox, forget it. He was often times taking bad angles and arriving late. Wilcox may be a great player to tackle the running back behind the line of scrimmage for a safety, but when it comes to pass coverage, he continues to struggle.
5. DeMarco Murray throws up the X
I'm not that interested in what goes on in other games, but this was interesting. With Chip Kelly out in Philadelphia, DeMarco Murray would have one of his best plays of the year as he scampered off for a big touchdown run in the first quarter of the game against the New York Giants. When he reached the end zone, he threw up the X.
What was that about? Was he paying tribute to an old friend? Was that some form of taunting? Or has it been so long since he's been in the end zone that he's forgotten what his TD celebration is?