Sunday, November 20, 2011

3 In A Row

For the second time this season the Cowboys won a game against the Redskins that felt a little like stealing. Dan Bailey squeaked his game winner just inside the right upright to win the game in overtime this time around. The Redskins had their shot to win in just a few minutes earlier in overtime but Graham Gano missed wide right by about 2 feet.

This game could have easily resulted in a tough loss. But thanks to a missed field goal they come away with a win and a shot at a first place in the NFC East if the Giants lose to the Eagles. So the Cowboys come out of the game at 6-4 and on a bit of a roll.

There was a lot to be happy about in the game. But there was a lot to be concerned about as well. Considering the game was a win you would think there would be more good than bad but really not so much.

Tony Romo played another good game. He wasn't perfect. But I'll take 3 TD's and no interceptions any day of the week. And he made a few plays during the game that only Tony Romo makes. The touchdown to Laurent Robinson that tied the score at 17 was an improv play by Romo. And the touchdown to Witten for 59 yards and a 24-17 lead was another improv special. And finally, the big gain to Dez Bryant to set up the game winning field goal was all Romo.

Dan Bailey just continues to make field goals. I thought he had missed the game winner and I wasn't convinced he actually made the kick until after FOX came back from commercial and showed the replay. He has been a great addition to the team. I wonder how many games the Cowboys have won that they would have lost if Buehler was still the kicker.

The defense played very well for about a quarter and a half. And then the wheels fell off. They allowed Rex Grossman to look like a pro bowl quarterback from the 2nd quarter through the end of the game. There wasn't enough pressure on Grossman and the secondary allowed a bunch of no name receivers to rack up big play after big play. I'm concerned about the play of the defense because I expected them to be rounding into shape at this point in the season. Hopefully this game was just a blip on the radar.

The running game for the Cowboys struggled all game long. Jason Garrett stayed committed to running the ball even though the Redskins kept DeMarco Murray in check all game long. At least the Cowboys were able to convert on 3rd and short by running to extend one of their drives. I don't know if Tony Fiammetta's absence hurt the running game that much or if the Redskins just played that well against the run.

There was good and bad with Dez Bryant. He made a great play on his first quarter touchdown and another great play to get open in overtime. But he disappeared for a big stretch of the game again. Until his route running improves I don't think we'll see a full 4 quarter of dominating play from him.

Jason Witten is a beast. The Redskins doubled him all game long. But he still came up with 3 receptions for 85 yards and, of course, the huge scoring play in the 4th quarter. He is just a great player.

The Cowboys nearly lost the game in large part due to bad punting and bad punt coverage. Matt McBriar shanked a punt to set up one of the Redskin scores. And a big punt return set up another score. Joe DeCamillis needs to get his punt team going. And the Cowboys kick and punt returns were awful as usual. I hope we see Felix Jones on kick returns against Miami because Akwasi Owusu-Ansah just can't get it done.

What originally looked like it would be an easy Thanksgiving day game against Miami is now looking like it will be a tough test. Miami has won three straight coming into the game and they are playing good football. The Cowboys will have to play better all around if they expect to make it a happy Thanksgiving for Cowboys fans.


  1. Improv...not improve.
    Good article. I still think you see this team trhough rose colored glasses, but thats OK. A little optimism is better than all the pessimism...from me especially, lol.

  2. Thanks for the catch on my spelling error.

    I don't see how I have rose colored glasses on when I pointed out so many problems with the team in that game. I'm not convinced yet that this team can be more than a one and done in the playoffs but they are improving week by week.

  3. Yep, it was obvious we need Fiametta back...from whatever illness he has.

    When I say you see the team through rose colored glasses, I didn't mean just from this article, but with this whole season. Nothing wrong with it though!!

    I hope the Cowboys are peaking soon, especially with three division games in such a short time span...

    I am actually taking the family to see them play the Eagles on the 24th. My kids have never seen them play live, so I am hoping for a complete decimation of the Eagles, lol.