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?