DIFFERENT DAY, SAME OLE TONY
By mark rogers
October 4, 2011
It's taken a few days for me to settle down after the Cowboys latest huge embarrassing failure. Blowing a 14-point 4th quarter lead is frustrating. Blowing a 24 point 3rd quarter lead is downright horrendous and might lead a Cowboys fanatic to go do something crazy like hold a bunch of people hostage at a bank or drive their car into oncoming traffic.
Tony Romo was 34 for 47 for 331 yards and 3 touchdowns. That's really good, it's better than good. We rushed for 113 yards and held the Lions to just 63 rushing yards. Again...better than good. We gained 43% more total yards than Detriot...a HUGE advantage.
We only had 33 yards in penalties (a drastic change from a Wade Phillips' coached team). We held the ball for 13 more minutes than the Lions. A quick look at Sunday's box score would lead an educated box-score reader to believe that Dallas won the game quite soundly.
But there's one small number that causes the whole façade of victory to come crashing down in a huge heap of embarrassment, frustration and anger: 3.
3 interceptions - two of which were returned for scores. THAT. CAN'T. HAPPEN.
But it did. And was anyone surprise? No. Frustrated, mad, stupefied, outraged, betrayed? Yes. Surprised? No.
So here's a rough outlook for the rest of the season: the Cowboys have a bye week, then play a beatable Patriots team. Actually, the combined record for Dallas' remaining opponents is 21-26, which is good.
The Cowboys still have a great shot at winning the division or getting into the playoffs via a wild card berth. But here's where it gets tricky.
In any other year, I would say that a trip to the playoffs would be meaningless because the Dallas Cowboys are not a championship team. A championship team doesn't blow 2nd half leads...ESPECIALLY A 24 POINT LEAD AT HOME AGAINST AN UNDEFEATED TEAM!!!!!!
But this year? I'm not ready to say that. Why?
Because I'm not convinced there are enough super dominant teams that are the outright favorites to win the title. Sure, the Packers are good, and Detroit is turning some heads (those are the last two undefeated teams by the way). But unless you have five or six teams in that championship caliber group, a "non-championship caliber team", like our insanely maddening Cowboys, can get through one or two games en route to the top.
And that's where we stand.
Look at the Eagles...the Dream Team is 1-3. The Patriots don't have a defense. The Steelers are 2-2. And on and on.
So while I'm ready to give up on the Cowboys because of how frustrating they are. I'm not ready to say that we have no shot at the championship. Is it likely? No. But I'm not giving up yet.
If we can somehow squeeze into the playoffs and get the Saints or 49ers in the wild-card, I like our chances. Then we get a rematch with the Lions, a team we KNOW we can beat. And the next thing you know, we're playing Green Bay in the NFC Championship.
And, yeah, Green Bay is good. But it's not out of the question to think the Cowboys have a shot at winning a single game at Lambeau. Likely? No. But I'm not ruling it out completely.
Then we get into the Super Bowl and beat some lowly team like the Texans or Bills and we've got ourselves a title with a sub-championship caliber team.
Likely? No. Completely out of the question? No.
So before you put all your lofty expectation-eggs in the Rangers basket, don't give up on Dallas yet. While it's true that our QB is, at the same time, the best and worst QB in NFL history, he is still surrounded by players and coaches that can get the job done. They just couldn't overcome 2 pick-sixes on Sunday.
It's almost as if Romo dares his team to win despite his huge mistakes. Like, I don't have to do this, but I'm going to just to see if you can still win. He's like Andy Kauffman or something. I can't figure it out, so I'm going to stop trying, enjoy not having to have a near heart attack this weekend, and prepare my brain for a 3-2 start through five after we beat the Patriots.