The players and coaches can say this game didn't have anything to do with last season all they want. We all know that when something like the 44-6 season finale happens to you it is a big deal. I guarantee part of the reason there was so much excitement after the win last night was because the team felt like they finally got past the disaster last season. I know it felt better than any win they have had in a long time to me. I'm going to enjoy this one just a little bit more this week because it came against the Eagles and it shut up their obnoxious fans for at least a few weeks.
It was a hard fought game by both teams. Romo finally got things going with Roy Williams so that storyline can die down for a while and hopefully forever. Miles Austin made the big play to win the game again on a perfectly thrown ball in crunch time in the 4th quarter. The defense contained the big playmakers of the Eagles all night with the exception of a long gain on a screen pass to LeRon McCoy. Special teams never let DeSean Jackson get anything going on punt returns and kick returns were minimal with the exception of a return for a touchdown called back thanks to a holding penalty.
What went right: The defense was in McNabb's face for the majority of the game and definitely had a hand in his subpar play. The two interceptions were huge and they lead to 10 points for the Cowboys. Tony Romo did a great job choosing his moments and he took the sack a few times rather than risk a turnover. He threw for over 300 yards and made a perfect throw on a double move to Miles Austin late in the game for a touchdown. Roy Williams looked good for the first time since the season opener against Tampa Bay. Jay Ratliff was a beast in the middle stopping the run in the second half and coming up with 2 sacks. Don't discount the job that Matt McBriar did preventing DeSean Jackson from getting any big punt returns.
What went wrong: I'm sure Tony Romo would like to have the ball back that was intended for Jason Witten that got intercepted. It was a bad read and a bad pass. The penalties were still a challenge for the offense to overcome. They had to overcome a lot of their own mistakes. The officials stunk all night long. They made bad calls against both teams but a few really stood out for me. The Eagle's touchdown pass came after Brent Celek clearly pushed off from Gerald Sensabaugh to get open in the back of the endzone but there was no call. Jason Witten was called for offensive pass interference for doing basically nothing. And the kicker was the Asante Samuel play in the end zone at the end of the half when he held the arm of Roy Williams on a sure touchdown pass. I think the calls evened out overall with the exception of the Asante Samuel play. David Beuhler didn't have his best night on kickoffs as he struggled to get the depth on his kicks we have come to expect.
Overall, going on the road against a division opponent and getting a win in a high pressure game was huge for the team going forward. This year's version of the team has found the formula for making the plays when it counts. They struggled early in the season in the big moments but they have now won a couple of games when the chips were down in the fourth quarter. 6-2 is a great record at the halfway point, but it is only the halfway point. But the Cowboys are in a great position heading into the second half of the season to not only make the playoffs but compete for a division title.
Next up is Green Bay on Sunday. They are only 4-4 but their offense is dangerous. I hope the players aren't going to buy into the media hype that is sure to build this week now that the team has proven that it is a force to be reckoned with. I don't want to look too far ahead, but a seven game streak is a real possibility if the Cowboys can take care of business this week.