The Dallas Cowboys will not win the NFC East division this year or make the playoffs. Yet another disappointing season seems all but certain.
This season, like every season, was going to be the year the Cowboys figured it all out and put together a Super Bowl season. It has been fun, from my prospective, to watch this dream slowly shatter and see fans lose hope as 11 weeks of football have played out.
“America’s Team” improved to 4-3 and sat atop a weak NFC East as they destroyed the Eagles 17-3. They fell to 3-5 and the Giants looked like one of the worst teams in the NFL at 2-6. The cowboys looked like a team finally putting it all together, on both sides of the ball. The division was pretty much handed to them and seemed all but sealed at this point in the season. Then they had to travel to Detroit, which would be the start of the power shift in the East.
Romo lead his team to what seemed to be a third straight win to build a larger lead in the division as he threw a touchdown to take a 10-point lead with six minutes left in the game. The defense then allowed an 80-yard drive and the offense was held to a field goal with one minute left after a holding penalty that killed the clock. So, with one minute left and no timeouts, Stafford made two huge throws of 17 yards and 40 yards. At the one-yard line with time running out, down six, Stafford runs a QB sneak and they steal a victory for the Cowboys leaving them at 4-4.
It is easy to place blame on the QB, especially Tony Romo, but he has been exceptional, throwing 2,681 yards and 21 touchdowns compared to six interceptions. That’s good enough for a 98.3 rating, which would be the second highest of his career. This season is on the defense and offensive play calling. A defense that is on pace to allow more yard than any other team in NFL history and have already allowed four 400 yard passers through 10 games. A defense that allowed an NFL record 40 first downs to the Saints. They have been pathetic and without Sean Lee for 3-4 weeks things could get even worse.
On the other side of the ball, there is no consistency. One week, they give the ball to Murray 26 times and he runs for 175 yards, then the next week he only gets 14 touches for 70 yards. When healthy Murray needs 20 or more carries per week because he is averaging 4.9 yards per carry. Jason Garrett must love watching Romo throw the football, but that is no recipe for victory.
The Cowboys are 132-133 over their last 265 games, they have two playoff wins since 1996, making them tied for the second fewest, and haven’t had a record above .500 in three seasons. Why is greatness expected when they have been average, at best, for so long?
After the Lions game was when I realized the Cowboys were the same ole ‘Boys. When opportunity knocks, they slam the door shut. Now at 5-5 they have allowed the Eagles to claim the top spot in the division and the rejuvenated Giants are one game back after a four-game winning streak at 4-6. How big is that game next week against the G-Men? In a must-win game for each team, give me the Eli and the Giants.