Hello Dallas Cowboys Nation. It’s been some time since we’ve all been so proud and full of celebratory bliss but the time now is nice. The Cowboys knocked the Eagles off the top of the NFC East to claim sole possession of it themselves, and did so not by simply being the team to make the fewest mistakes on the field, but the team that dominated the game just enough to prevail the victors.
105.3 FM “The Fan” aired the word “substance” often Monday morning. They weren’t talking about drugs or media coverage though, well they did but we’ll get to that later. They remarked that the Cowboys won that game with substance, meaning they had a plan and executed it. They saw the obstacles and overcame them. They played good and sound football to win the game.
Sure, the running game was a little weak until the fourth quarter, and you wouldn’t really expect that from the triple threat combo of Marion Barber, Tashard Choice, and Felix Jones, but it happened. In the fourth quarter though, Barber came out and did exactly what he is best at doing – dominating and punishing a worn out defense in the final 15 minutes to control the clock. That’s the role he is most suited for, the closer, and the coaches should be more mindful of that the next time he takes a first quarter handoff and runs into the dozen players waiting for him up the middle. Getting knocked on his butt isn’t really the ideal way to win games.
Miles Austin was rather absent for much of the game as well. He was thrown to maybe 4 times and had but one catch, albeit for a touchdown over 30 yards. And keep in mind that his touchdown was the game winner … again.
But perhaps the biggest story of the game as far as the players go comes down to Tony Romo and Roy Williams finally showing some signs of meshing, of finding that elusive same page, and making something happen with it.
Just as Wade Phillips said, and others … It did appear that many of the passes to Williams before Sunday were either too high, thrown behind, or simply not where he was. Most of us would likely agree, regardless of any personal feelings against Romo, that an experienced quarterback is going to know pretty well where the route goes, so does that mean that Williams has been to blame? Maybe.
Williams caught something like 5 of 7 balls for 75 yards Sunday night in Philly and while it wasn’t a spectacular performance by any means, unless you’re the Browns, it was solid and that is what we’ve needed more of from our number 1 receiver – solid play.
If he plays solid and runs good routes and even catches half of the passes directed toward him, he’ll likely continue to see enough double coverage’s to help Witten, Bennett, Crayton, Austin, Hurd, and even Ogletree. Not to mention the benefits for the running game. So while it again was nothing worthy of praise, it was a long overdue spark to the chemistry that he and Romo must develop for this team to achieve anything beyond a divisional title this year.
And let’s face it, the Cowboys only winning the NFC East this year will be considered a bust for the season, and rightly so. We’ve won the division a few times since 1996 – the last time we won a playoff game. So doing so this year wouldn’t amount to anything more than the same and maintaining status quo this year will be the only sure fire way to lose Wade Phillips his title of Head Coach.
Which brings me to a brief mention of The Fan’s topic on firing Wade. The local press around here has been calling for Wade’s dismissal as recently as the week following the Kansas City game. Granted, that game should have been a blow out, an easy win for us, even if the team was supposed to view it as anything but that – easy.
We struggled in all aspects of that game including making the fourth quarter stop to put the game away, sending it into overtime. But the one great thing that came out of that game was that in our times of trouble, Miles Austin was given a real shot to make a play, and did he ever accomplish that.
He played so good in that game, setting a franchise record or two in the process, that he booted Crayton as the #2 guy immediately. Funny thing about that though, this team has been lacking so much of what makes a team a team. But as soon as Crayton is relegated to the third spot, he didn’t just sulk and make snide comments to the media like he and others have done before when unhappy. No, he went out instead and made the most of his remaining duties.
Two weeks in a row, Mr. Consistent who usually averages only 10 yards on punt returns goes and breaks one for six. Who would have ever saw that coming? That’s a teammate right there. Basically in the dog house and he just works harder and ends up making two huge plays in an area of the game that has been seriously raunchy up until this year – special teams.
So I’m pretty happy about this team right now. So much so that I’ve had to watch myself so that I don’t get too excited. I really think we’re playing like a Team that’s ready to compete for the Lombardi Trophy. And a game into November I don’t expect anything to change right away, not until after the Thanksgiving game against Oakland – not until we hit December.
It’s time to see if this team finding some of its identity and unity is enough to not only win games, but win in December and beyond. Let us hope.