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?
The Cowboys Blog is taking the day off, much like the team did versus the Eagles.
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
All I’ll say is the the one good thing to come out of this game is now all the fans who call for Stephen McGee any time Romo’s performance dips can shut up for ever and ever.
Merry Christmas, everyone.
What was THAT?!
Before we get into it, I’d just like to say I’ve absolutely seen enough from these players: Keith Brooking, Martellus Bennett, Montrae Holland and Bradie James. Addition by subtraction has worked very well so far under Jason Garrett.
(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
I truly believe that Sean Lee being out of the game hurt us as far as what we expected to be able to do on defense. The secondary was preventing short routes, but the middle of the field was wide open because of Sean Lee’s absence. Bradie James and Keith Brooking looked lost out there. LeSean McCoy was breaking runs off the edge because Keith Brooking couldn’t get there and was so out of position on every play that he couldn’t even see where “in position” was. Brent Celek had a field day with James and Brooking manning the middle, as did Jeremy Maclin and McCoy. You just can’t expect to execute your gameplan when your leading tackler and only cover ILB gets knocked out of the game.
Offensively, we just fell into too big of a hole too quickly. Murray looked like he would’ve had a great game if we hadn’t had to abandon the running game with 74 yards on just 8 carries (9.3 average per carry). That Eagles secondary we tried to downplay after we didn’t sign Nnamdi Asomugha gave Romo nowhere to throw the ball except Laurent Robinson or 2-yard passes to Witten. Martellus Bennett gave up a turnover at probably the worst possible time and we never recovered.
There’s not much else to say, really. For how bad a loss this was, we’re tied with the team that just destroyed us in the division. We’ll see you again on Christmas Eve, Philly. It’ll probably be a football game then.