It wasn't pretty. It wasn't easy. And they Cowboys get no style points for their 20-19 escape act victory. But it was a win. And that is now four in a row.
My thoughts during the game kept drifting to where this team would be this season without Dan Bailey. As he lined up the game winner it was money in the bank. But if that had been David Buehler lining up that kick there is no telling where the ball would have gone. The Cowboys could easily be 3-8 this year with a bad kicker. He has scored the winning points in the fourth quarter of 4 of the 7 Cowboy wins this season.
Tony Romo started off slowly but he was at his best when the Cowboys needed him most. The touchdown drive that gave the Cowboys a 17-16 lead wouldn't have happened with any quarterback in the NFL except Tony Romo. He made four plays on the drive that should have been sacks or throwaways but he turned them into positive plays. And his touchdown to Laurent Robinson was a perfect throw after he escaped pressure and rolled left.
The defense continues to be a concern. For the second straight week they made a marginal quarterback look like a pro bowler. You can blame the secondary but the pass rush seems to disappear at critical moments in the game as well. And Rob Ryan has a tendency to go to the three man rush in critical situations that usually results in the opposing quarterback having all day to pick apart the defense. The defense has to improve or the Cowboys won't go anywhere if they manage to get into the playoffs. Hopefully the return of Mike Jenkins will help.
I'm still very disappointed in the return game of the Cowboys. Felix Jones didn't do anything of note with his kick returns. But at least Dez Bryant gave the team a spark with his 20 yard punt return to start the final possession of the game. The Cowboys have to be one of the worst return teams in the league.
I'd like to say that there are a lot of signs of improvement from this team but that wouldn't be accurate. The one big improvement I can see is that the Cowboys are finding a way to win close games instead of losing them like they did early in the season.
I don't want to sound like I'm complaining about a win. I'm thrilled the Cowboys found a way to pull out a fourth straight victory. But looking at the team long term this season it is pretty obvious that there needs to be improvement in all phases of the game if the Cowboys want to make any noise in the playoffs. It was nice to finish off a great Thanksgiving day with a win by the Cowboys.