Saturday, November 29, 2008

Cowboys move to 8-4

Well, for the third straight year, the Cowboys blew out an opponent on Thanksgiving. And for the third straight year, it was a normally respectable opponent that's having a bad year. Two years ago, the Tampa Bucs came into Big D on Turkey Day and were massacred 38-10 when Rom threw five TDs in making only his 5th NFL Start. Last year the Cowboys got the 2-8 Jets, and had NO trouble at all, winning 34-3. It's funny how the Bucs and Jets this year have 8-3 records. And this time, the Seattle Seahawks, who are having an unfortunate year as far as injuries are concerned, came in at 2-9, with Matt Hasselback in the lineup, albeit too late to save their season. The Seahawks beat the Cowboys two years ago in the playoffs on that botched snap from Romo but were no match for the Cowboys this time. The Cowboys D sacked Hasselback seven times and Tony Romo had another big day as the offense looks more and more like they could be getting in sync. And what a vintage day for Jason Witten who has been bothered by a broken rib but still continued to play through it. His production naturally has fallen off the past few weeks with him being far less than 100%. And he looked banged up just four days before against the 49ers but in this game he caught nine passes and a TD. T.O. also caught a TD (third straight Thanksgiving Game he got into the end zone) and for the third straight game, Martilus Bennett, the hero of the Washington game, caught a TD pass. Roy Williams also caught a few passes and ran an end around reverse for a 13 yard first down gain early on. So now it looks like we have a pass rush and the offense, is coming on. I'll be the first however to cautiously say that we're not quite there yet. Still getting better by the game. And fortunately, the MRI results on Marion Barber, who rushed for a first quarter TD, and Defensive End DeMarcus Ware, three sacks against Seattle, are negative and that the Pittsburgh game isn't until Dec. 7. They should be able to go against the rough and tough Steelers, a team a like except for when they play Dallas. An interesting developement happening in Giants land: WR Plaxico Burress, already out for Sunday's game against the Redskins with a pulled hamstring, received an accidental gunshot wound at a club on Friday Morning or Night. Nothing good happens in the middle of the night or wee hours of the morning. Let's hope that he's okay though. Pretty shocking news. It brings back memories from a year ago with the Redskins Sean Taylor, who was shot during a botched robbery attempt in his own home while he happened to be out injured already for his team. He didnt make it as we know. It doesn't sound like Burress' deal is that serious. Let's hope not.

And also back into Cowboys land, PacMan will be in the lineup against Pittsburgh. Good, we'll need him. Romo can't afford mistakes against the Steeler D, which might be the best in the NFL. Also, our pass rush, the way it has been, could very well get to Big Ben. This game could be a stalemate of a contest. The Cowboys have a tough December starting at Pittsburgh and then home against the Giants and Baltimore before their regular season finale at Philly. Games that we can win ? Absolutely. But with the Calendar about to flip over to December, will the team forget how to play again? I don't think so. Not this time. For the first time since I guess you can say, 1993, the Cowboys might play their best football of the year in the month of December. I might be putting myself out there by saying that but I really believe that this time, they will be peaking at the right time. It IS set up for them to do it for sure. I mean the opportunity is there. They HAVE to this time. Or they won't be going to the postseason. And they are well aware of that. And just think how battle tested they will be in January if they indeed make it to that point. Definitely not working against them for sure. Getting hot at the right time. I vaguely remember mentioning how maybe it would be best for them to hit some rough patches, maybe have to really turn it on in November and December to be playing their best football when it matters. And that maybe sacrificing a division title for a Super Bowl might be the recipe for this team to get it done this time around like the Steelers of 2005 and last years Giants. Even the Colts of 2006 were not the number one seed in their conference in the playoffs. They just went out and manned up. The 2005 Steelers did that. And last year's Giants, the most unheralded bunch ever probably, did it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

NFL Power Rankings

I haven't bothered looking at them for weeks ever since the Cowboys briefly grabbed the top spot after week three. But it's interesting to peek and see after a couple of months. The Giants are where they belong, at the top. No dispute there right now. Ofcourse that can change. First off Cris Collingsworth was right on when the topic of who the second best team in the NFC is. He said Dallas. He said that they are dangerous, and that they have the most talent in the NFL still. He said that they are the only team in the NFC with a chance to take down the Giants should they meet in the playoffs. Agreed. The latest poll that I looked at has the Cowboys at number 5. I know that the Bucs have a one game better record than the Cowboys do, thanks to their mishaps. But they DID beat the Bucs without Romo, without Newman, and without Kosier, as well as Felix Jones. HELLO?!?! And I know that the Jets are playing well and Brett Favre, I just love but putting them at number two is a bit of a stretch. Afterall, they DID lose to the Raiders. And no, not last year, this year. The Cowboys did lose to the Rams but we know that they weren't ready to play, missing KEY elements. Plus the Rams actually played decent football for a three week stretch (winning at Washington, beating Dallas(not the REAL Dallas) and almost winning at New England) before they went back to stinking it up. And they HAVE been downright dreadful. Honestly, before Denver fell flat as flat gets AT HOME against Oakland, I actually said that the Raiders were worse than the Lions, even though they had won a couple and Detroit is winless. OH, and the Lions roared out to a 17-0 first quarter lead against the Bucs and it all evaporated before halftime. Bucs won going away 38-20. I have to say that the Lions are the WORST TEAM IN FOOTBALL and that they WILL NOT WIN A GAME in 2008. Don't sweat it! Lions ranked 32 out of 32, and headed for the Toilet Bowl against Kansas City. The Chiefs one win: DENVER. How are the Broncos 6-5? They have looked like THEY could be the worst in the NFL in games against KC, New England, and the Raiders. Plus they have lost THREE IN A ROW AT HOME. More perplexing, How in HELL did Denver beat Atlanta (7-4) on the road and then get HUMILIATED at home by the Raiders? I know I've gotten off of the original topic (Power Rankings) but all of the stuff I mentioned I guess just goes to show everyone that the Rankings don't mean shit. Nothing.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Getting better by the game

The Cowboys finally broke out of their scoring slump by beating San Francisco 35-22 in a game that wasn't that close. After sleepwalking throught the first quarter, and trailing 6-0, the Cowboys got untracked when Romo fired a 75 yard bomb to T.O. to give them the lead at 7-6. From there the defense and special teams dominated and Romo hit another TD to Bennett just before the half for a commanding 22-6 lead. The 49ers deserve some credit for not packing it in, making the Cowboys keep playing at least. But all and all the Cowboys looked a little better in all phases of the game and look to keep on improving with each contest. It's a tough stretch ahead still but winning at Washington last week and not overlooking San Francisco this week, and the Cowboys are now 7-4 and facing another team they should beat this coming Thursday, Thanksgiving. So now let's not overlook Seattle. One unfortunate bit of news ofcourse is that Felix Jones won't return this year because of a broken toe. He had season ending surgery on it and now another talented Rookie Taschard Choice will probably see increasing playing time as part of a running tandem with Marion Barber. The 49ers keyed on the run yesterday so it wasn't a big rushing day for the Cowboys but Romo went up top for 350 yards, 213 of them to Owens, who had a vintage day against his former team. So now it's Seattle. One step at a time. Getting better by the game.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Will the Lions go 0-16?

The Detroit Lions are that much closer to making history. But History says that it won't happen. Running the table in reverse that is. Last year, the Miami Dolphins were a lock once they fell to 0-12 and were not only losing but rarely even competitive in their games. Although they lost narrowly to the two NFC Wildcard teams of last year, the Giants and Redskins by 3 points each. Other than that, they were pretty much manhandled by everyone else except Baltimore, who must've decided right then and there to get Brian Billick axed. Coming from ahead to choke. The Ravens came close to being the only team to beat New England in the regular season in 2007, and also to being the only team to LOSE to the Dolphins in a span of two weeks. So everyone figured if the Dolphins didn't finish 0-16 last year, that it would never ever happen. Except now the Detroit Lions have fired out 0-10. And their schedule the rest of the season reads like this: Home to 7-3 Tampa Bay, Home to the unbeaten Titans (11-0 vs. 0-11 on Turkey Day?) Then they are home again against Minnesota, who's fighting for a wildcard berth, at INDY, home to the Saints, who are also in the wildcard hunt, and then at Green Bay, another team in the playoff mix. So the Lions DO have 4 more home games. But everyone of these teams has something to play for besides not wanting any part whatsover of losing to the winless Detroit Lions. Jim Rome has stated that he's worried about his dream season of seeing a team go the whole regular season winless go out the window because of their tough as nails coach Rod Marinelli. Every time a team makes it as far as 0-10 the talks of "if it doesn't happen THIS time, it never will" surface from fans and Sports media members who silently want it to happen, for somone to go 0-16. It's not as fun watching someone go 16-0, especially when the Patriots might have been better off if they hadn't done that last year. There were times when someone could have easily gone 0-16. In 1981, the then Baltimore Colts, won their opener by one point over then division rival New England, then proceeded to lose FOURTEEN STRAIGHT, all by lopsided margins, (they gave up a mindboggling 533 points for the year, only scoring 259) and then beat the Patriots by two in the regular season finale to finish 2-14, same as the Patriots. The Colts of 1986 were 0-13, and getting thumped every single week before they rallied to win their last three. That was dissappointing to me. The Colts were a laughingstock back then for sure but not now ofcourse. The 1990 and 1992 Patriots each went 1-15. My Cowboys ofcourse went 1-15 in 1989 but embarrassed the Redskins at RFK on a Sunday Night with Joe Theismann as one of the ESPN commentators and longtime Redskin Season Ticket Holder Paul Tagliabue spending his first day as the new NFL Commissioner at that game as well. That game was at midseason so the talk of Dallas going winless for the year never really surfaced as I recall. The Redskins would go 10-6 on the year but that loss to Dallas would come back to haunt them at the end as they would miss the playoffs. The 1991 Colts finished 1-15 on the year and scored a record low 143 points. Chip Loemiller, the PK of the Redskins, would outscore the Colts all by himself with 149 points to his credit. The Colts one win in 1991, as I recall, was by ONE point over the Jets, who actually made to the playoffs that year. Then the 2001 Lions might have been worse than this years bunch but they wound up with a couple of wins at the end. They were still winless, I believe as late as Thanksgiving. Last year's Dolphins were about to run the table in reverse the same year as their `1972 unbeaten season was about to be matched by the Patriots. The Patriots might have finished it had the season still been 14 games like it was in 1972 and not been as worn out come Super Bowl Sunday. But the biggest draw has got to be when a team is close to running the table in reverse. The Lions, looking at their remaining schedule, should do it. But be prepared to be let down too if that's what a lot of us are hoping happens. I hope it happens but I've seen this before when someone should have finished winless but somehow didn't

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Still Alive

Baby Steps. They looked like a team who needed a win but wasn't quite in sync enough to do it comfortably. But character was evident most definitely for Dallas in a hard earned 14-10 win over the Redskins at a hostile Fed Ex field. The Cowboys came from behind in the 4th quarter in what turned into a chess match of a game on Marion Barber's running and Romo's field general leadership. The winning points came with about 10 minutes left on a 25 yard pass from Romo (19-27 198 yds 1 td 2 int) to rookie TE Martellus Bennett. Then the Redskins got the ball for what turned out to be their last sniff and marched to the Cowboys 39 bringing up a fourh down and four around the six minute mark of the fourth quarter. Washington opted to go for it and Newman broke up a pass intended for Santana Moss right in front of a cheering Cowboys sideline and you knew right then that it was theirs. And then it was Marion Barber time. He ran for 9 times for 38 yards and caught the one pass on the drive on a third and eight from Romo for 10 yards and a first down at the Redskin 24. The Redskins burned all of their timeouts on the drive and with 1:08 left on the clock and facing a fourth and two at the Washington 17. Opting to go for it instead of kicking a field goal to push the margin to 17-10, Barber got three yards and turned out the lights for good on the Redskins. Romo then went into victory formation with a pair of kneel downs and Dallas had gutted out a much needed win in Washington, their first win there since 2004. And the Cowboys improved to 6-4 on the year, tied with the Redskins and ahead of the 5-4-1 Eagles, who were in a rare tie earlier today against Cincinnati. The Cowboys ended up winning the battle in overall statistics and the defense came to play tonight, and harrassed Campbell in key situations. Romo's two interceptions came on back to back first half drives where the Cowboys were on the march, both times right around the Redskins 25 yard line. But the fact of the matter is that Romo spent nearly the first half knocking off some rust, the defense held down the fort and then preserved the game at the end when the offense finally busted ahead in the late going. Dallas isn't firing on all cylinders yet and Felix Jones sat out again tonight. Hopefully he'll be back perhaps next week. But they found a way to get it done against a good team in their building. Their backs were to the wall and they were basically in a must win situation. But THEY DID IT. It's a start at least. There's still a long ways to go. San Francisco might be 3-7 but don't overlook them or else. Great win tonight. Cowboys, still alive.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Thinking back to facing the Redskins at RFK

It's now been twelve years since the Redskins played at RFK, which is amazing when you consider that it's still standing. When the Redskins played there, particularly against the Cowboys, it was deafening. "The fans would stomp or bounce and ENTIRE rows would move up and down in rhythmic waves like an earthquake " to quote Skip Bayless, the respected Sports Journalist who used to cover the Cowboys. He also quoted in a book called THE BOYS written back in the Jimmy Johnson Super Bowl era, "watch too long from the opposite side of the stadium and you could get dizzy". He also went on to say how " sometimes the noise itself seemed to be rocking RFK on it's rickety foundation". Pretty good idea coming from someone who had been to an actual game inside there. With only 55,045 capacity, the stadium was described by Bayless and others as having the feel of an oversized minor league ballpark. It was a pretty intimidating place for the most part for the opposition. But I could have the best "DID YOU KNOW?" of all time when it comes to the Cowboys-Redskins rivalry. And it puts in proper perspective what this rivalry has been all about in terms of forgetting the records. Now this year, at least on paper, these are two evenly matched teams. But who can forget 1995 when Dallas lost both games to a Redskin team that went 6-10 on the year yet the Cowboys went on to win the Super Bowl still? Or 1991 when the Redskins were a dominant team for the last time in the Gibbs first era and really to date for that matter? The Redskins would win the Super Bowl that year and were 11-0 when the Cowboys, who were a year away from their dominant run, came in at 6-5, lost Troy Aikman to injury in the third quarter, and Steve Beurlein came on in relief to help preserve the 24-21 Cowboys win and lead them to the playoffs. But the did you know is an amazing overlooked stat. Going back to the abysmal days of Tom Landry's final year of 1988 and Jimmy Johnson's first year of 1989. The Cowboys would lose ten straight in '88 before beating the Redskins in RFK to knock them out of the playoffs. The Cowboy lost the next week to Philly in the regular season finale to finish 3-13. In 1989, the Cowboys then went 1-15 with their only win at RFK, again knocking the Redskins out of the postseason. DID ANYONE KNOW , for that matter, that were it not for those two upsets at RFK, games that that Cowboys group had no business winning, Dallas would have lost 28 straight games?! The all time NFL losing streak record would belong to the Dallas Cowboys without those two upsets. Think about that. And ofcourse, the dubious honor of going 0-16 in 1989. And somehow, the Cowboys avoided all of that by winning back to back games at RFK against what was then one of the better teams in the NFL. The losing streak would have gone, without those two wins, from October 1988 until the opener of 1990, when Dallas beat San Diego

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

winning at Fed Ex Field

Well the Redskins have lost twice here this season despite their 6-3 record and the fact that they did Dallas on the road. The Rams somehow won here. And the Redskins weren't missing any significant players like when the Cowboys got embarrassed the following week in St. Louis. The Steelers came in and made the Redskins look somewhat bad. And that game was sandwiched between two Pittsburgh home losses. The only thing keeping the Steelers from a suffering a three game skid was their 23-6 win at Fed Ex Field. The Cowboys haven't won here since a Monday Nighter in September of 2004. And aside from a young Jason Witten, I don't know if any of the current Cowboys were even on that 2004 squad. That 2004 wasn't very good. The Redskins weren't good that year either, which was Joe Gibbs' first year in his return stint with the team. That year Philadelphia was a power at 13-3 on their way to the Super Bowl while the rest of the NFC East all went 6-10. Eli Manning was a rookie for the Giants, who were bad too. Now every team in the NFC East is above .500. It's funny how the Cowboys were in this stretch where they beat Washington thirteen of fourteen from 1997-2004, including nine straight at one point. And the Cowboys record in that eight year span was 55-73, with three playoff visits and no playoff wins ofcourse. Since 2005, however, the Cowboys have gone 36-21 but only 2-5 against the Redskins. And twice in that time, Washington has managed to win in Dallas. The Cowboys dropped a meaningless regular season finale last year at Fed Ex field when they were resting players and had the NFC's number one seed locked up. Two years ago, the Cowboys blew out the Redskins in week 2 in Texas, and then blew the game in Fed Ex field in November of that year. The going against the Redskins has been tough these last few years. The Cowboys probably should have won three of those games that they lost to Washington since 2005 but what's done is done. Winning this Sunday will atone for the earlier setback against the Skins and also put the Cowboys firmly in control of their own destiny, which they control. Winning this week will is priority number one. Forget everything else. This team will be locked in and focused. They are due, due to win in Washington for the first time in four years, due to bust out with a couple of game changing big plays, due to have Romo, Felix Jones, Terrence Newman, and Kyle Kosier back, and due to finally resemble at least somewhat, the team that everyone billed them as at the beginning of the year and after their first three games. It's up to them to decide if this can still be the year. Could they get it going and be that team? Maybe like the 2005 Steelers? Or last year's Giants? I know what ended up happening last year, noone saw coming. And in 2005, the talk was about the Colts going unbeaten and for good measure, they soundly defeated a Pittsburgh team that fell to 7-5 and made the Colts 12-0. And a month or so later, the Steelers knocked off the Colts and Broncos and were headed to the Super Bowl. Last year the Giants ofcourse lost twice to the Cowboys who won the NFC East going away. New York only went 3-5 at home. I don't think anyone's ever done that and made the playoffs much less win the whole flippin' thing. The Cowboys have the talent but do they have the leadership? If the Redskins play like they did against Pittsburgh sure Dallas ought to win. But it's an important game for the Redskins too. So they'll be up obviously. And I expect Portis to play. Dallas needs to take away the run. And for hell's sakes, somebody get on Santana Moss and Jam Chris Cooley. And Romo needs to be Romo. Oh, and the Cowboys need to run the ball more than eight times like last time these teams met. Big game. Might as well be a playoff game for Dallas.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A big game this Sunday

This Sunday, the Cowboys, who trail the Redskins by a game, go into FedEx Field where they haven't won since 2004, the last time they swept the two annual meetings with the Redskins. The Cowboys know that if they lose, they will fall to 5-5, and be two games behind the Redskins, and essentially three games behind them for one of the wild-card slots. The Redskins will have swept the season meetings with the Cowboys and therefore own the tiebreaker if the two teams were to still SOMEHOW finish with identical records. A loss would leave the Cowboys fighting for a final wildcard-spot most likely with suprising Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Philly, Green Bay, Chicago, and Minnesota. Whoa! No Thanks! In other words, I predict that a loss on Sunday will almost put them out of contention. Forget the division title for now, it's about making the playoffs. Make the playoffs, it's anybody's game. But if you don't get there................well no excuses. Romo, Felix Jones, Terrence Newman, and Kyle Kosier will be back on Sunday. Lots of shoring up. But the team can't wait for a half to get going. And don't buy the 50-50 thing on Clinton Portis' status. I think he'll play, albeit not 100% but I would be suprised not to see him at least take a whack at it. Win Sunday, and it's a huge step in the start of the playoff chase. But a loss could really prove to be too much to overcome. Nobody expected the Cowboys to be in the middle of the pack at this point of the season. Nobody. But it is what it is and the time is now or else it's on to next year.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I'm ready for next week already

Well, it was a much needed week off for the Cowboys as the lick their wounds. But I'm probably like most Cowboys fans in that I'm ready already for next week. A win next week puts them at 6-4 with the lowly 49ers and almost equally hapless Seahawks back to back at home. The latter game against Seattle is on Turkey Day, with extra time to get ready for the December 7 clash against Pittsburgh. Speaking of the Steelers, how about two games at home that they let slip away, to the Giants and Colts(today) sandwiching an impressive road win against the Redskins last Monday Night? By the time the Cowboys play the Steelers, they could be about as healthy and fully strengthed as they've been all season, ESPECIALLY if they go into that contest 8-4. But it's one game at a time for Dallas. Washington is a must win game considering that the Redskins stole one in Dallas in late September. It seems that since that game EVERYTHING has fallen apart for the Cowboys. Every bad break. You name it. Namely the injuries. Losing Romo hurt the most, obviously. That was resoundingly proven. The Cowboys just need to remember that they control their own destiny for the playoffs. PLAYOFFS!? Anyways, they can't worry about anyone else. They just need to beat Washington and then look ahead to the next opponent. That simple. They need to get back the swagger that they had. The one that they had before the first Redskins game. And the Redskins may be 6-3 but their offense has struggled too. Whatever break that Dallas can get in catching them right, they'll take and they need to score early and often. 28 points will definitly win this game. That's the only prediction that I'm making. If Dallas scores 28 they will win for sure. 24 might be enough too, the way the Skins offense has struggled as of late. If Dallas gets up in this one early, they could very well be back on track.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The BYE week and the good news

The Good news is that the BYE week is finally here and the Cowboys therefore don't have to play another game this week without Romo namely who wouldn't necessarily be ready if there was one this Sunday. But because there isn't a game this Sunday, he'll be that much better come Sunday Night the 16th. The Cowboys ever since the Sunday Night Football in America telecast started at the beginning of 2006, have been on it seven times winning six of those times. The lone defeat was against New Orleans back on December 10, 2006 at home. That was a game that saw the Cowboys make a few mistakes early on, get behind the eight ball and then getting carved up by Drew Brees. It was also only Tony Romo's seventh start. The other games on Sunday Night with Romo at the helm were his first start against Carolina on Oct. 29, 2006, a 35-14 win. The 2007 opener on Sept. 9 against the Giants, a 45-35 win. Then again three weeks later at Soldier Field, a 34-10 rout of the Bears. On November 4, 2007, on Sunday Night, this time in Philadelphia, Romo and the Cowboys ransacked the Eagles 38-17. And on Sept. 25 of this year, in Green Bay, the Cowboys won, believe it or not, their first ever game at Lambeau, and again in convicing fashion, 27-16. So that's good news, playing at Washington, who lost Monday Night at home to Pittsburgh, on Sunday Night. Romo returns. So does Felix Jones, Offensive guard Kyle Kosier, and in the secondary, Terrence Newman. Could Pac Man maybe not be too far behind that? Also, could the Cowboys be signing CB DeAngelo Hall, cut today by the Raiders. I'll say one thing, if we think that the Cowboys are a train wreck, they are still 5-4 with key players, namely one of the five best QBs in the game, coming back. But nothing compares to the Raiders. Al Davis is scenile. Period. I've talked to some Raider Fans, asking them if they think that Al Davis needs to sell the team. Their response: He just needs to Die! Hope we're not saying that someday about Jerry Jones. I don't think so. He's not as bad as he used to be. The guy wants to win and he's far more willing to swallow his Texas-sized Ego at least to some degree. There was a time early in this decade where I really thought that Jones should sell the team. But he's got a little bit more self-restraint than he used to so let's give him some credit. I sure got off on a tangient.

Well, I just kind of got frustrated on Sunday because of the fact that our defense had three takeaways against the Giants. The only problem was, as we GAVE IT AWAY four times. We were going into that game with a hand tied behind our back arguably. If we don't turn it over, we would have been in it. That said, our team didn't just roll over. But, wow, I thought our offense would still be able to do some of the things with Brad Johnson, not like Romo, but more than 14 points a game. I feel really bad for Brad. I think that he deserved better but he's still a part of this team, and he's been around and I think he's been a big help as the holder for place kicks and field goals as well as with the coaching staff. He's just not what he once was. He wasn't ever the most mobile but more than this. And he used to have a quite an arm and just doesn't anymore. I think he did what he could. He did lead us to a win over Tampa Bay, which was the very least that the team needed to be able to do. I think he could've beaten the Rams, but the whole team was just not ready to play that one. But enough said. Romo is back, as are the other aforementioned. And beat the Redskins on Nov. 16, and we're at least in second place. The division title might be out of reach, however, remember this: We play the Giants again in December, where we'll look more like ourselves again. The Giants only have three more home games. They have to go to Washington, play Philly twice still, go to Dallas where the Cowboys definitely will be pumped up, they have a tough Ravens team to play. They have to go to Phoenix. The Cards have proven that they can play with anyone, at least at home. So the Giants could still lose a few of their remaining eight games. Easily. But the Cowboys first and foremost, want to get into the playoffs. The rest will take care of the rest. The Dallas Cowboys goal is to make the Playoffs at this point. They control their own destiny. And in the thirty two starts by Romo, Dallas has averaged 28 a game. That fact alone is encouraging. When you average 28 a game, you have a chance to win almost each time out. 23-9 record in those games. Good to have him back. Hopefully, he won't have much rust to knock off.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Obituary on the three game disaster stretch

The Bye week didn't come nearly soon enough. Dallas is losing badly in the second half, thanks mainly to four turnovers in their own side of the field and the ineffective play of Brad Johnson and with Brooks Bollinger going even worse. Down 28-7 in the third, it's painful to even watch so I've bailed off of the Titanic at this point. The three game stretch was a disaster. A disaster. Yes, I know they won one, luckily, but today renders it almost meaningless. No fight. No heart. Nothing. And the Bye week will be a time for them to evaluate the season, as far as do they even want to salvage it.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

My Favorite win against the Giants

My favorite win against the Giants was one that I didn't even get to see, an extreme rarity. I was in the Midwest on a cold Sunday the second day of 1994. This year was actually the first time that the NFL regular season had spilled over into the New Year. I was living in Utah then like now but visiting my then Fiancee' in her hometown of Geneseo, Illinois. I would marry her the following Labor Day Weekend and then we'd split some three years after that (me unscathed NO KIDS!) I had been visiting there over the Holidays while she was living and going to school there and working a waitressing job, saving for the upcoming day of ours. I was out here in Utah doing the same and would be heading back home later that day (early evening) after a two week visit. I was 22 years old and the Cowboys were on their way to their second straight Super Bowl under Jimmy Johnson. The 1993 season had been chaotic for Dallas. Emmitt Smith held out the first two games and Dallas, distracted by the drama of it, started out 0-2. He and owner Jones finally came to an agreement on a deal that made Emmitt the highest paid player in the game at least for the moment. Smith returned and the Cowboys went 12-2 the rest of the way but had to go into the cold windy hostile Meadowlands on the for the regular season finale to face the suprising Giants who still had veterans Phil Simms and Lawerence Taylor. Michael Strahan was a rookie then. The Giants had gotten drilled by the Cowboys in early November at Texas Stadium 31-9 but they had otherwise played stout defense and safe conservative offense and had beaten just about all the teams on their schedule that they were supposed to beat, giving them an 11-4 record heading into this showdown against the mighty Cowboys. The Cowboys had the same record coming in and had been thinned a lot by injuries to key players, most of them playing through it. Plus everyone was out to knock off the Cowboys. And I didn't get to see the game because they showed a game between I think the Rams and Bears, two teams that weren't even going to the playoffs. I couldn't figure that out. The winner of Cowboys-Giants would have the NFC's number one seed and they were showing a game that nobody gave a freaking damn about . And the updates and scores that you see of other games throughout games nowadays didn't happen so much back then, when it was just occassional. So then I finally see them mention, "In overtime, the defending Super Bowl Champion Cowboys defeat the Giants 16-13 to capture another division title and lock up the NFC's Number One seed and homefield throughout" Wow, I remember not even caring about any style points. I knew that Dallas was vastly superior to that overachieving Giants cast but I also didn't care how they'd done it but that they had. And was PO'd that I didn't see it. It was probably on out here. I actually had stayed in Illinois for two days longer than originally planned because of some snow storm rolling in and I remember having to call my employment place back here at the time to arrange for a couple of more days off. The story of that game however that I didn't get to see is legendary ofcourse. Emmitt Smith separating his shoulder right before the half in a game that was close to being a Dallas blowout. It was 13-0 Cowboys at the half and the stats were twice as lopsided. But the Cowboys went conservative in the second half, made a couple of miscues that allowed New York to creep back in it and the game went into overtime. The Giants won the toss and got the ball first but the Dallas Defense stopped them cold, the offense took it down with the injured Emmitt Smith getting most of the touches and they got close enough for the winning Field Goal from 41 yards out by veteran Eddie Murray. And the Cowboys would get their much needed rest before rolling through the playoffs. Emmitt Smith was able to come out of the playoff wins over the Packers and 49ers when the outcomes were each secure by the start of the fourth quarter. He was back to just about 100% by the Super Bowl where he was MVP in defeating Buffalo. That win over the Giants, even though I didn't get to see it, is my favorite one of all time against them to date because had Dallas lost that game, it would have been a much tougher road trying to get back to the Super Bowl. Other considerations ofcourse include the 30-29 Sunday Night Thriller at the Meadowlands in week five of 1985. The win later that year in Dallas against them to clinch Landry's final division title at the helm. The 1986 opener when Herschel Walker scored the winner on a 10 yard draw late in the fourth quarter on Monday Night. Week Two of 2003, another overtime thriller at the Meadowlands where PK Billy Cundiff nailed seven field goals uncluding the game winner for Parcells' first win as Dallas' coach. And the December 2006 showdown at the Meadowlands as well, when Romo hit Witten on a long pass down the sideline to set up PK Gramactica's winner. But I'd take the 1993 season finale because that's the highest the stakes were between the two as far as the ones that Dallas won. Would a win tomorrow for Dallas top the list of the ones mentioned though? Absolutely!