Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Cowboys Are Rolling Now

After watching the Cowboys stumble to a 1-7 start it sure is fun to watch them put things together and start winning again. They beat Peyton Manning and the Colts Sunday night on an overtime field goal by David Buehler. And what made the win really impressive is that the game was on the road and the Colts were in desperation mode. Sure, Peyton Manning was the best player the Cowboys had but the Cowboys made the big plays in the big moments to win the game.

If you aren't sold on Jason Garrett as the head coach I'm not quite sure what it is going to take to convince you that he is the real deal. We just saw the team that lost to Green Bay 45-7 just four weeks ago beat the Colts on the road without Tony Romo running the offense. And they have now won three out of four games since Garrett took over with two of those wins coming against probable playoff teams. And it isn't like the Saints beat them by much either in Garrett's only loss as a head coach.

The most impressive part of the game to me was the play of Sean Lee. His two interceptions were game changers and he was all over the field making tackles. His development has been a little slow but he stepped up when the defense needed him the most with Brooking hobbled by a sprained foot. Now that Lee has finally established himself on defense he needs to stay healthy a put a few good games together to prove to the team that he can be counted on as a long term answer on defense.

Peyton Manning did throw for 365 yards but the secondary did a pretty good job throughout the game considering that Manning threw the ball 48 times. You can take a guy throwing for 365 yards if you can get four interceptions and return two for touchdowns against him. Mike Jenkins did get beat for a touchdown but he played pretty well overall. He contested most of the throws to Reggie Wayne and he made the biggest play of the game when he tipped the pass to Sean Lee in overtime. Reggie Wayne did pile up some pretty impressive stats against Jenkins, but it wasn't like Jenkins was getting burned all over the field. Orlando Scandrick made a great play to intercept a pass and return it for a touchdown early in the game but he missed the second half of the game after suffering a concussion. Even Alan Ball did a nice job intercepting a deep pass intended for Reggie Wayne.

The run defense was very good but I think part of that was due to the poor offensive line play of the Colts offense. Holding an offense to under 50 rushing yards impressive regardless of the circumstances though. You have to give them credit for stuffing the run enough that the Colts gave up on it.

On offense the Cowboys were inconsistent just as they have been with Kitna running the offense. But you have to give Kitna credit for making the plays that had to be made to win the game. The touchdown pass to Witten late in the game appeared to be his third read on the play and he made a great throw to keep the ball away from the defender trailing Witten. The pass to Roy Williams for the two point conversion was huge as well.

The running game was great during the first quarter and on the drive for the lead in the fourth quarter. You have to be impressed by the play of Tashard Choice now that he finally got his shot to play this year. But keep in mind he does have fresh legs compared to the rest of the guys out there so hopefully this game isn't a mirage like Julius Jones' second half of his rookie season. You have to wonder if Marion Barber has played his last down as a Dallas Cowboy after watching Choice rack up over 100 yards.

The special teams won the game but almost lost it at the same time. The Colts blocked a punt a recovered it for a touchdown in the 4th quarter. Four weeks ago this team would have folded. But Buehler made the big kick to win the game in overtime. He was 3 for 4 for the day. And you have to give Buehler credit for hitting the pressure kick with the game on the line. He has a long way to go if he wants to come back as the kicker next season but he is improving.

A win is always nice but it was bittersweet on many levels. Dez Bryant is out for the year after breaking his ankle on a kick return. And even winning 3 out of the last 4 games has only improved the Cowboys record to a less embarrassing 4-8. And really 4-8 is still horrible but a huge improvement after a 1-7 start. But even with a 4-8 record the world just seems like a better place when the Cowboys win.

5 comments:

  1. I don't want to play spoiler of debby-downer, but as I mentioned before, our problems were not necessarily of talent but motivation. Jason Garrett has fixed this issue and has this team playing with heart, which is something you could not have said weeks one through nine. As more and more information is being put together, we see that Jason Garrett has changed his demeanor as a HC. As we've heard, he gives some of the most inspiring speeches (coming from Troy Aikman, Joe Buck, Kitna, Romo, and the list goes on), has a no-nonsense approach (like Jimmy Johnson, which is not surprising because they speak on a weekly basis), and he has the potential to stand up for J.J. because he has been in the organization for almost 20 years and he has been hand-picked (and J.J. can't see him fail).

    My problem with Garrett is as an O.C. I won't regurgitate this information, but he should not be doing both duties. (Norv Turner may be getting fired this year if the Chiefs win the division, could be promising; also consider Reeves wanting some role in the organization (management) that was almost finalized last year). If we can play this the right way (again, my perfect but somewhat realistic scenario), we could be much better with Garrett as the head coach.

    I think this will be one of the more interesting off-seasons in years for the Cowboys, especially with the CBA looming. The way we handle the draft, free agents, retention, and coaching staff will really impact the Cowboys for the next decade I believe. Window of opportunity is closing and it is imperative that Jerry and Jason make the rights moves, and not get complacent because a few wins at the end of the season. It would be alarming, at least to me, for all of us to forget how absolutely sickening the first half of the season was. These victories are important and they showcase the level of talent we have, but we should not get overly excited and buy into this team again to win it all next year just yet.

    A.S.K.

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  2. Great game. It was the intense battle it was supposed to be. Don't really want to go into too much detail on what needs to improve and etc. etc. Just bask in the glory of the cowboys over the colts.

    I honestly hate D. Buehler. But if we can get a good draft for another position then that is fine. Like a couple of good linemen. Or a great running back like wes welker.

    And a thought to fellow fans. Romo vs. Kitna. Kitna is the past and Romo is the future. Quit rooting for Kitna to take over main QB position. He's a good back up but he's too old to be the future of this team like Romo.

    WBF

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  3. There is one hell of a kicker out of Nebraska that I think is coming out this next draft. He is probably one of the best kickers I've seen in college football. I wouldn't be surprised if he picked up as early as the third round.

    Peterson LSU CB/Amukamara (both will probably be taken before we get around to pick)

    Doesn't look like any stellar FS are coming out.

    DT is a need in the later rounds to relieve Ratliff. OL obviously.

    I know it's a little too soon to look forward to April, but I think as fans we have to start pressing action. I admire this blog because few are as successful and most do not offer as much insight as you do.

    Also, if you have time, check out:
    http://www.footballsfuture.com/2011/fa/ol.html

    It gives a list of upcoming free agents/draft.

    Keep doing what you're doing, and I have to admit it is quite nice not being laughed out of a bar. I live in D.C. (unfortunately, trying to move back to Dallas) and it's been brutal this season.

    WBF- I agree completely with what you said about Kitna, but I think you meant Woodhead as RB and I think we have that in Choice. I'm a huge OU fan and I was upset when he left to play in the SEC, but he is a beast. Have Barber bulk up again and restrict him to the fourth quarter when we have leads (if we still want to keep him). Let Felix and Choice tear it up the first 3/4ths of the game.

    A.S.K.

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  4. Great Blog, keep it up!

    To add to what other have said about the future; I hope we use our great draft position and make the most of this unqiue opportunity. Most teams with this level of talent don't get to draft inside the top 15, which is where we will most likely pick. We need to spend either a 1st rounder or a 2nd rounder on the OL. We are very lucky with Free playing like a franchise left tackle, but we need to draft either a guard or right tackle for the future. Our current line can work for next year but we need a guy, like Free, who can come in for an injured Colombo or Kosier and play not only well but good enough to take the starting job.

    I wish the safeties of last year's draft were coming out this year. Think about how good our Defense would be if we had a ball hawking safety. Ball and Sensebaugh are good, but Ball should be a backup, not a starter. It doesn't appear that there will be any elite safeties coming out of the draft so if we have a chance to get one of the top 2 corners in the first round that would be ideal, if not we should use it on a lineman. Then in the later rounds we can try and strike gold with a safety.

    We need to get rid of barber, I have been saying that since Choice made his rookie debut against the Steelers. We need to use Felix like they are starting to use him in recent weeks and use Choice as they did against the Colts. Then as for a 3rd RB we can just use a young guy, we don't need to waste cap room with barber as a number 3 RB. With Barber's current contract and age I'm not sure what trade value he has but I would gladly see him go for a 3rd or early 4th round pick. Or sometimes you can get great value if you trade a player for a pick in the next year's draft. So for example maybe we could get a 2nd round pick in the 2012 draft for Barber, doesn't help the team next year but we are already stacked at RB.

    Anyway, just some of my thoughts. Again, great blog!

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  5. ASK Good post as well and appreciate the confirmation. I also enjoy chatting back and forth with you on here. I know you disagree with the F.Jones point i'm going to make in a minute :D.

    I've gotta say I don't want to see Barber go. He's too beasty on short gains. But his injuries do concern me so here I sit on the fence. If he goes then I would like for a draft to not be wasted replacing him. A very rookie RB will work for polish.

    I have to say I really really don't like F. Jones. He is good on the outside but he never makes it through the pockets. Especially when it counts.

    I think we should keep all 3 of them for now though.

    I mean f. Jones and Buehler have something in common. You can't count on them to make the play. You want to see more running plays (i like passes personally I say play your strengths again and again on here) then get someone that can consistently pull the yards off and not pull -1 yard in a game.

    WBF

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