"I thought us experts on football were the only ones who could see that," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said when asked about the Giants faking injuries, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "I didn’t know everybody could. It was so obvious it was funny. It wasn’t humorous because we really wanted the advantage and knew we could get it if we could get the ball snapped.
Bottom line — there’s not really an easy fix in a sport where players actually do often go down with cramps or miscellaneous minor injuries that sideline them for a play or two.
Linebacker Kyle Bosworth, one of the more surprising cuts by the Giants on Saturday, will get a chance to face his former team on Opening Night after he was claimed off waivers on Sunday by the Dallas Cowboys.
Bosworth, nephew of “The Boz” (Brian Bosworth), excelled on special teams for the Giants over the summer and was in a battle with veteran Aaron Curry for the sixth linebacker spot. In the end, though, the Giants elected to go with only five linebackers on their 53-man roster.
There was a point in this game where it seemed like the Cowboys would handle business.
Did I? (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
There was also a point where all hope was lost. At that point, anyone who has paid attention to this team this year knew what would happen next. Moving with urgency, Tony Romo would orchestrate a comeback because this offense has the tools to put up points when it isn’t thinking too hard. But again, anyone who has paid close attention to this team knew that, once again, this team had allowed itself to fall into a hole that would make the margin for error razor thin and a victory unlikely.
Even after forcing overtime and winning the coin toss to get possession first against a defense that had to be gassed following the relentless comeback at the end of regulation, Dallas couldn’t seal the deal at home – this with Dez Bryant emerging as a reliable beast, posting his first career 200-yard receiving game.
That says a lot about what the 2012 Cowboys are. They’re a pretty good team that can kick it into gear when they’re desperate, but often times they come up short.
Despite everything, it’s win and get in. Beating the Redskins means the 2012 Cowboys will be NFC East champs. How insane is that?
No matter what happens, one thing that we’ve learned this season, however, is that Tony Romo is by no means the problem. In a season in which he surpassed Troy Aikman in TDs thrown as a Cowboy and set the franchise record for passing yardage in a single season, Romo has been the one thing consistently keeping this team in games. Maybe Romo still has another gear we haven’t seen yet that can lead this team of misfits into the playoffs and beyond.
Cowboys Stadium was half filled with terrible towels. Many in attendance described it as a bowl game atmosphere and the game certainly had major playoff implications for not just the two competing teams, but for about six other teams as well. Still, neither team seemed to want it.
Shit! (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
When the game dragged into an overtime period, sudden death seemed like nothing more than a foregone conclusion for two teams that have performed just above mediocrity all season. It became more about which teams was going to be the one to make the big mistake than which team would ascend to lay claim to being a playoff contender. But that assessment takes away from the big play that was Brandon Carr’s near-pick 6 at the start of the overtime period. Carr may have made the biggest play of the season when he read a lazy out route and nearly took it to the house, setting up Dan Bailey for yet another game-winning kick.
Other than Carr’s big play, there’s not much more to say about this team right now, as week after week they find themselves in games determined by the thinnest of margins. It’s a three-way tie for first in the NFC East, but there’s nothing to indicate that just as hard as this team has fought to stay in the hunt over the last couple weeks, they could just as easily drop the next two games against New Orleans and Washington.
We’ll only find out what the 2012 Cowboys are about when it’s win or go home.
Very typically of the 2012 Dallas Cowboys, this was a game that could’ve gone either way once it came down to the final drive and the foot of Dan Bailey. A lot will be said of how this team had to perform with heavy hearts after the passing of Jerry Brown and arrest of Josh Brent, but the team played no differently than it has any other game this season.
RIP Jerry Brown. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
The offensive line had its breakdowns which forced Tony Romo to improvise on numerous occassions. Miraculously, he finished the game with only one interception (a desperation heave at the end of the first half that probably should’ve been fought for harder by Dwayne Harris) after a few of his throws hit the hands of Bengals defenders (Hi, Terrence Newman). The running game was surprisingly stagnant, with DeMarco Murray only recording 53 yards, which put pressure on the passing game. Only Dez Bryant came up big with a late touchdown to cut into the Cincinnati’s two-score lead.
The defense, which arguably would be playing most with its emotions on its sleeves, did just enough throughout the game to keep victory within reach. After Bryant’s touchdown, they came up with a big stop to give the ball back to the offense only down by 2.
The difference betwen this week and others, maybe, was that when the game was on the line, this team played mistake-free football. There will need to be a lot more of that with the playoff race in the NFC East getting tighter.
It seems like each week we’re either reeling from a devastating loss or letting out a slight, unimpressed cough after an unconvincing victory. The Eagles are competing only to avoid the distinction of worst team in the league right now, and possibly to save their coach’s job. A 5-point win at home? How disappointing.
Exciting. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
On a night when Tony Romo surpassed Troy Aikman as the Cowboys’ all-time leader in TD passes, and a night in which he had a flawless second half (10/10, 169 yards and 3 TDs), this game felt less like a triumph and more like a lucky break.
Nick Foles had a 96.6 passer rating against the Dallas defense, and Bryce Brown added 169 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground. Against a fading team that was 3-8, that is unacceptable.
Some things to be optimistic about — DeMarco Murray put up 83 yards and a touchdown in his return to the lineup. The last few weeks have made it very clear how crucial is style of running is to balancing the offense.
Dez Bryant has been on a tear with 29 catches, 475 yards and 6 touchdowns over the last four games. But it hasn’t just been statistical. His big plays against Philadelphia were timely and game-changing. Miles Austin also came up big on his two receptions in the game, one of them being a touchdown.
It’s hard to know where the Cowboys really stand right now until the Giants and Redskins face off tonight, but it’s going to take way more than the struggling performance they put up against the Eagles to make the playoffs… especially with the Bengals, Steelers, Saints and Redskins remaining on the schedule.
It was the battle of the shit versus the poop. Though the Cowboys should celebrate any victory at this point (especially a divisional game), this one should be tempered with 1. The Eagles came into this game in much worse shape than the Cowboys, and 2. Much of the game was played without Michael Vick.
See? Much worse off than Dallas. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)
The Eagles offense was already a turnover machine before Nick Foles took over at quarterback. There was no ‘breakthrough’ for the Cowboys defense in this game where they will suddenly now have a couple takeaways a game. Philly was prone to give up the ball, and the defense was often in the right place at the right time, which should always be the case. So… good for them.
The Cowboys are a full game back of the Giants in the NFC East, which definitely puts them in striking distance with a cakewalk of a schedule the rest of the way. But do we really believe at this point that this team won’t play down to its competition and find ways to lose? Maybe having DeMarco Murray back will get this team back on track since it’s largely been the offense that’s held this team back this year.
It’s also encouraging that Morris Claiborne reportedly stood up in front of the locker room after this game and vowed that he will never have such a poor performance again, after committing a number of penalties and generally looking lost. A Cowboys rookie holding himself accountable? What sorcery is this?
Well… OK. It certainly was a tale of two halves in Arlington yesterday.
And while I know you can’t expect to win a game with 6 turnovers… Dallas should’ve won! (I’m not griping about the overturned TD. It was the correct call.)
Fingers. I hate them. (AP Photo/Sharon Ellman)
It says a lot about this team that despite all of the mistakes that they were that close to sweeping their division-leading rival for the season. Or maybe it just says that the NFC East is pure shit this year.
The only thing that can really redeem this team at this point is if they take down Atlanta next week and streak through the second half of the season like the Giants did last year.
So, the Cowboys beat a 1-4 team — rather unconvincingly.
Yup. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
This game was won on defense, and as much as I think we hate giving Jerry credit for any sort of personnel decisions, going out this offseason and shoring up the secondary seems to be keeping this team in games. Coming into this game, Dallas had the number one pass defense in the league, but it was anticipated that Cam Newton’s threat on the ground might pose the first real challenge this year. It was the secondary that stepped up big with Sean Lee out of the game and the game on the line, as well as pressure from the return of Jay Ratliff to the lineup.
The offense has been in a funk, having to make do with Felix Jones as the starting back, which is something nobody wants. As a result, the passing game has suffered a bit. Witten is still a little less than his old self, Dez Bryant is beginning to turn into Terrell Owens Lite, and Kevin Ogletree has yet to recapture the magic of Week 1.
This is very much a .500 team right now. Nothing yet indicates this team can be anything more than that. Next week probably won’t do much to give us a better idea, as the Giants can be just as inconsistent.
A win is a win, right? That had to be the most loss-like win I’ve ever watched. I can only imagine how Tampa must feel right now after being on the losing end of that coldly-contested matchup. It was like watching two old men fight over a stale dinner roll — only much less entertaining.
Flippin’ ugly. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
So there are some major concerns to go over.
1. Jason Witten No Cowboys fan has any right to pile onto Jason Witten. EVER. He’s obviously playing through injury and would never admit it. But that begs the question whether his being on the field could become a liability. The team has barely scraped by when Witten has been his normal consistent self, but with him contributing penalities, dropped passes and missing blocking assignments, maybe John Phillips should get some more snaps.
2. Defensive Depth With Gerald Sensabaugh already out, Brandon Carr was forced out of his natural corner position to play free safety. Then, Barry Church suffered a ruptured Achilles (season-ending), and for the second game in a row, both starting safeties were absent in crunch time.
3. The O-line There’s no polite way to say it. The offensive line is showing less discipline than if I grabbed a random Texas high school offensive line and let them play a game in Cowboys Stadium against an NFL defense. False starts are still a major problem and Romo is constantly at risk of literally having his head taken off (ASIDE: Where was that fucking flag for helmet-to-helmet?!!?!?).
4. Punting If not for a poor angle taken by a Tampa defender, Dez Bryant’s 45-yard punt return in the 4th quarter to set up the game-clinching score would’ve never happened and the Cowboys would’ve had their second punt blocked in as many weeks.
But what did we do right? Well, Tony Romo and Miles Austin finally started to get into a rhythm together in the second half, and despite injury issues the defense held together and had the Bucs offense under 100 total yards until they went into hurry-up mode late in the game.
“It’s disappointing and we need to get better as a football team. We need to do those little things that move the chains, stop them, punt and kickoff return, there’s a million things. You look out there today and I can literally think of 10 things that are like, ‘Well, you can’t do that and win football games,’ and we had them all in one game. That’s tough to overcome.”—Tony Romo
Holy hell… What was THAT?! OK, Felix Jones shitting the bed isn’t all that shocking, but… 184 yards of offense after the first quarter and no points in the second half is pretty embarrassing after fumbling, giving up a blocked punt and throwing a pick.
At least our punter has his name tatted on his bicep. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
When Jason Witten is dropping passes, you know it’s just not going to be your day. DeMarco Murray had a pedestrian 44 yards in a game where we were always playing uphill to make up for the mistakes in the first quarter. Dez Bryant was a non-factor, and Ogletree followed up his breakout performance with just one reception.
Probably the worst part of this whole game was getting a glimpse into just how precarious our depth is on defense. Sean Lee had to go out for most of a series and everything went to crap. At one point, both Gerald Sensabaugh and Barry Church were on the bench in the fourth quarter. Our starting safeties are already nothing to write home about… so yeah.
Here’s hoping that this week was just a bad day. See you next week for the home opener against the Bucs.
“He’s had a year that was a Come-to-Jesus year for him. He’s had to get in and look at what he could do better and what we could do better with the context of his philosophy, and he’s made adjustments and he’s done the things that great coaches do.”—Jerry Jones: Rob Ryan has made some changes.