Sunday, October 26, 2008
It's wasn't pretty but a win's a win
With the Redskins, Eagles, and Giants all victorious today, you had to know that the Cowboys somehow someway were going to get a win because they had to. Didn't know exactly how but that they would. And how? The defense. With the offense stuck in a much lower gear with Brad Johnson's checkdown approach (but no mistakes to hurt his team at least) the defense bended often but would not break. The Bucs were forced to settle for four field goal attempts, making three (a 51 yarder late in the first half was long enough but way off target) in the game, two in the first quarter from 36 yards out each. In the second quarter, the Cowboys offense, came somewhat alive enough to score 10 points including the game's only TD with six seconds to go in the half from 2 yards out on a pass up top from Brad Johnson to Roy Williams. Williams had both of his catches on a drive that also saw the Bucs penalized four times. The first penalty occured at midfield when the Cowboys were bailed out on third down when Ronde Barber (no relation to the Cowboys Marion) was flagged for a personal foul Horsecollar tackle on Marion Barber. The Cowboys were at the Bucs 2 and instead of kicking a chip shot fieldgoal to tie the score at 6, Johnson threw up a jump ball that Williams caught that put Dallas up 10-6 at the half. In the second half, it was an exchange of field goals, first a 45 yarder by Nick Folk, for a 13-6 lead midway thru the third and then Tampa's Matt Bryant nailed a 41 yarder to narrow the margen to 13-9 late in the third quarter to complete the scoring. The Bucs final drive stalled at the Cowboys' 18 when Garcia, pressured and hurried all game, was forced out of the pocked and threw incomplete with 13 seconds left. I don't know how we're going to pull off one next wk at the Meadowlands because clearly we're not the same team right now with the aforementioned guys out until after the Bye Week. Sure would be nice to have the BYE week now when you consider most teams have already had theirs, many of them long since. And our Cowboys finally get one on Nov. 9. But we'll just see what happens. If we lose next Sunday, it can be blamed a lot on the injuries, namely Romo. With Romo on the field alone next week, I'd like our chances but we have to go once more without him. No matter what, we'll be more like our normal team next time we play the Giants at home and down the stretch. As I mentioned earlier, the other divisional rivals all won today as well. The Eagles outpointed the Falcons at home. The Redskins came from behind to dump the winless Detroit Lions on the road. The eight point margin of victory is the Redskins' largest this year. They are 6-2, and like the Cowboys, are getting a late bye week on Nov. 9 as well. The Eagles are 4-3 and the Giants came from behind on Steelers miscues to win at Pittsburgh 21-14. It looked for awhile like the Steelers were in control of that game. Unfortunately, when they had chances to put it away, they failed and the Giants did what they almost always do when an opponent has them down but fails to put them away: they make you pay for allowing them to hang around. They aren't awesome or flashy and they can look bad at times. But here they were again losing in the fourth and the Steelers had a couple of opportunities to extend the lead and they didn't and New York found a way to win. All things considered, had the Cowboys lost this one today, they'd be staring at 4-5 after next week at the Meadowlands. They will need more of an offensive output to win next week. And the defense will have to step up again. I know some turnovers would go a long ways towards something. Suprisingly, the Giants are only seven point favorites next wk considering they're at home, and relatively healthy while the Cowboys are like this track star forced to go on crutches. It wasn't pretty today but we'll take it.