Well, that escalated quickly. After being up 9-7 at halftime, the Cowboys couldn’t add another point to the score and the Eagles scored an additional 30 points to beat the Cowboys 37-7. If there was a game the Cowboys had to have at any point of the season, it was this game. Now, four games down in the division with six left to play puts us in a horrible position. By the time we play the second game against the Eagles, the division title may be settled. At this point, we need to look at wild card options.
Offense: It was a tale of two halves for the Cowboys. The first half there were opportunities but we settled for field goals. While in the second half the team was horrible. The problem with the Cowboys is we are predictable. We mix up the run and pass, but when the down and distance isn’t in our favor we revert to the pass. If we get behind on down and distance that’s it for the drive. Couple this with the fact that our “top receiver” isn’t a top receiver anymore and we get stalled and that’s it.
Offensive Players: I want to take time to talk about a frequent subject in this space: Dez Bryant. Bryant is getting into way too many arguments on the field for a guy who fails to come up with any passes over seven yards. The lack of a deep threat hurts us in that the defense can sag underneath on us and we do not have a player that can burn a team deep. That player is supposed to be Dez, but unfortunately it is not. At 29 years old, it may be safe to say Bryant’s best days are behind him. Dez’s last 100-yard game was in the ninth game of last year against the Steelers. In the 17 games since the Pittsburgh game, Dez has one game in the 90-yard range, three in the 80’s, three in the 70’s, two in the 60’s and two more in the 50’s, one in the 40’s, three in the 30’s, none in the 20-yard range and two in the 10’s. This tells me Dez still produces, just nowhere near to where he has been in the past. In addition, particularly this year Dez isn’t catching a high percentage of the throws that come his way. This year, he has only five games where he has caught more than 60% of his targeted passes. The time has come to take some of the pressure of Dez.
Defense: Again, it was a tale of two halves for the Cowboys. In the first half, the Cowboys held tight. There were a few times the Cowboys had their backs against the wall, but via missed field goals, three-and-outs and just sound defense, the cowboys held the Eagles to only one TD. In the second half, the Cowboys couldn’t stop anything. Out of five second half processions, the Eagles scored touchdown on the first three, the fourth they punted and the fifth they knelt three times to end the game. All of this was without the Eagles having a kicker.
Defensive Players: There were no real standouts on defense. The team, especially, in the second half, really couldn’t stop any one.
Special Teams: The worst part about this lost was the fact that the Cowboys could not take advantage the Eagles lack of a kicker. At the opening kickoff, during the tackle of Ryan Switzer the Eagles kicker saved a touchdown, but got a concussion. During the rest of the game the Eagles had to go for it on fourth downs and go for two-point conversions after touchdowns. The Cowboys couldn’t take advantage of it. I never root for players to get injured, but if a player does, you should take advantage. The Eagles just got the two points instead of a one point.
Bottom Line: The Cowboys are pretty much toast for the division. Our chance at the playoffs is winning a wild card spot. However, with the injuries and suspensions of Sean Lee, Ty Smith and Zeke Elliott will be hard to overcome. But, with an easier team on the horizon on Thanksgiving game against Los Angeles Chargers, we should get on the winning side soon. If we lose against the Thanksgiving contest, we will be in a world of hurt and pretty much find ourselves in an uphill battle to get a playoff birth, but let’s not let it get to that. Let’s win the next one.