There is no joy in Mudville!
Oh wait! This past Sunday, in the eastern quadrant of the sports entertainment complex the Dallas Cowboys share with their baseball brethren, the Texas Rangers, there was plenty of joy being spread around by the 45,772 fans who jubilantly witnessed their home team claim the AL West crown with a 9-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels.
Meanwhile down in the Big Easy, the New Orleans Saints ended an eight-game home skid with a thrilling 26-20 overtime win against the Dallas Cowboys. This Romo-less team is headed toward at least a six-game losing streak after winning its first two. Management and coaches have lost complete faith in their second-string quarterback ever leading them to victory while QB Tony Romo rehabs his shoulder. The 2015 season is slowly washing itself out for Dallas despite the fact they are tied for the division lead. They won’t be after their next opponent, New England Patriots, leave town.
It’s a pretty safe bet that when the injured tandem of Tony Romo and Dez Bryant return to active duty sometime after Thanksgiving, the Cowboys will be a stumbling 3-8 squad, but more than likely 2-9 the way things are headed now. But who’s really counting at this point. The damage to the team’s psyche is done.
No one believes this Brandon Weeden-led offense will ever win a game. The Dallas media is trying to place all the blame on the defense, but that’s not fair. The inept offense continues to sputter settling for field goals instead of touchdowns. Despite the pretty pass Weeden threw to receiver Terrance Williams – who finally held on to a pass to score a touchdown – the Cowboys have no running game to speak of. This is keeping the beleaguered defense on the field to long. Opponents are now figuring out that Dallas will start out fast and fade in the second half of ballgames.
And there is no end in sight to the onslaught the Cowboys are about to face, not with New England, the Giants, Seattle and the Philadelphia Eagles already geared up to face this team. Even games against Tampa Bay and the dysfunctional Miami Dolphins look iffy now. Throw in Carolina, Green Bay, Buffalo and the Jets, and you can see pretty quickly that the Dallas Cowboys will be lucky to get to 4-12 this year before the season mercifully ends.
So much for the playoffs! So much for the promise that was!
Right about now, the Cowboy front office is kicking itself for letting DeMarco Murray go in free agency. They had built a fabulous offensive line tailor-made for the running back. Unfortunately, both sides let money override the greater good. Now both parties are suffering their own slight indignations.
The Saints ran their home record against the Cowboys the last ten years to 6-1. Quarterback Drew Brees, who injured his rotator cuff a couple of weeks ago, willed himself back into the lineup against the Dallas. In the process, he accomplished two incredible milestones with the two TD tosses he made while going 33 of 41 for 359 yards in the air.
A three-yard touchdown toss to tight end Josh Hill in the first quarter marked the 5,000th completion of Brees’ remarkable 15-year career. He ranks third in the record books behind Brett Favre Peyton Manning. His 80-yard toss to C.J. Spiller to win the game in overtime was the QB’s 400th touchdown pass joining an elite group of five other quarterbacks to achieve the milestone. And for good measure, Brees also extended his NFL record of consecutive touchdown passes at home to 48.
To see how far the mighty have fallen, all you need to do is look at what happened to the Cowboys star defensive player, linebacker Sean Lee. He left the game in the first quarter with a concussion. His absence was keenly felt the entire game. Not only did Lee lead the team in tackles, but he calmly called the defensive signals that kept the defense from panicking. In overtime, confusion ran rampant with the Dallas D when linebacker Andrew Gachkar (who in the hell is this guy) hurt his foot on the first play. He hobbled out of the game and was replaced by rookie Damien Wilson. Drew Brees saw the linebackers pointing to each other asking who they should guard. The Saint’s QB quickly had the ball snapped to take advantage of the Keystone Kops situation. The catch and run by C.J. Spiller would end the Cowboys 10-game road winning streak.
Cowboy Notes – Just how bad is the situation with the Dallas Cowboys you ask? Here’s a perfect set of examples of why the 2015 season is going down the drain. Wide receiver Brice Butler caught a 67-yard pass from Weeden – shocking Cowboy fans in the process – only to pull his hamstring on the play. It ended with a field goal. Running back Lance Dunbar tore tears off a 45-yard run to start the game, but that too ends with a field goal. Later on, the running back / receiver would tear his ACL on a kickoff return and is lost for the season. He had proven to be a very effective weapon out of the backfield. The Cowboys were caught with 12 men on the field and penalized 5 yards for the infraction. Instead of punting the ball, the Saints went for the field goal and made it from 51 yards out to tie the game at 10. Last year, Dallas was a takeaway monster on defense. The last two games the defense has done nothing to change the course of a game. Instead of intercepting balls, they drop them now – like Terrance Williams. On third and one, the offense failed to convert on five of six tries. The one attempt they did connect on –the Saints one-yard line – was initially stopped and had to be overturned on review for the Cowboys to get the touchdown in the second quarter. It also landed running back Joseph Randall in the coach’s doghouse for the antics he used to score on the play.
– David Huff
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