The Dallas Cowboys rode into Sunday night’s game against the New York Giants on a wave of success, but by the time the team departed the Big Apple that wave had crashed into the shore and fizzled into obscurity. In a game that neither team’s offense seemed to be willing to win, the home team was finally forced to accept victory.
Eleven-game win streaks are rare in the National Football League, and let’s not kid ourselves, the Cowboys are not the best team to ever accomplish this feat. Along the way they have gotten lucky more than once. Luck is a good tool to have in your arsenal; it is not a strategy. It also runs out sooner or later.
As we always do, fans overreact. The loss is not the worst possible thing that could have happened to this team. No win streak lasts forever, and it is far better to delay clinching the division crown by a week than it is to have the run brought to a halt in January. Rather than go into panic mode, Jason Garrett and his charges need to use what happened in Met Life Stadium and springboard to the next level.
When you want to win a game, you have to teach. When you lose a game, you have to learn. - Tom Landry
The Dallas Cowboys have been given an opportunity to learn. Mistakes were made against the New York Giants. Just as the squad took what they learned from the opening-night loss against the same opponent and was able to reel off eleven straight victories, so must they draw from the bitter second lesson and figure out how to complete the task at hand.
We all knew that eventually the win streak would come to a close. While none of us wanted to see it end, and we would have preferred that it come from a non-division rival when it happened, the only thing stopping this from being a beneficial (I refuse to say good) loss will be if the team is not able to learn the lessons that have been laid out for them.
Be it next week or the week after, the Dallas Cowboys still have the power to control their own playoff future. After the ugly output of the past several weeks, and the many bullets dodged, a remedial lesson was in order. The one that was given was harsh, but it is not something that cannot be overcome. Champions are forged in the crucible of adversity. The best take defeat and turn it into a longer-term positive. That is the next challenge facing the Cowboys.