The defense has been playing lights out since Sean Lee was listed out for the year, and the no-huddle offense is working.
For all intents and purposes—and before I go on a major rant about Orlando Scandrick—we're going to leave the defense out of this one. They did all they could against Atlanta on Sunday night to give Tony Romo and the offense a chance to win the game.
But once again, the playcalling hasn't been good—I'm putting that as lightly as possible—and the Cowboys are sitting at 3-5, and have missed two golden opportunities to be sitting atop the NFC East right now. That is, if it wasn't for a plethora of things—including Dez Bryant's fingers.
But lost in the drama that is Dallas spinning in a whirlwind into NFL mediocrity, the Cowboys may have found their formula in getting the offense back on track until DeMarco Murray comes back from his injury, which should be relatively soon.
Take the second quarter of the New York game, and the only touchdown drive of the Atlanta game. What was the one constant that got Dallas back into those two games? That no-huddle offense that put those defenses on their heels.
Now, whether or not Jason Garrett is coherent enough to understand the term, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," remains to be seen. He's on the hot seat, that much is certain. If the Cowboys don't at least find some way to get one of the two wild card spots, he's likely gone at the end of the year.
Felix Jones and Lance Dunbar aren't getting anything going on the ground game, and if there's any other way to get Dunbar away from returning kicks, the coaching staff will take it. But running back isn't working for him, and it appears that the rushing party against the Baltimore Ravens was a fluke.
Since that game, the Cowboys haven't cracked 100 yards rushing, putting more pressure on Romo to make plays through the air. Obviously, that hasn't turned out very well for him this season, throwing an absurd amount of interceptions.
Romo, though, has been crisp when the Cowboys have gone with the no-huddle offense, and their offensive style is perfect for that kind of offense. Obviously they're not going to turn into the Indianapolis Colts overnight, but it's been working.
Putting the ball in Romo's hands more often may sound like a crazy idea after the kind of start he's had to his season, but you could obviously see the frustration in his face on Sunday when Garrett called that draw play on second and long late in the fourth quarter.
It wasn't until Dallas got the ball back the very next drive that they went to the no-huddle, and Romo executed perfectly by finding Kevin Ogletree for that touchdown to cut the lead to three.
And who knows what would've happened if Scandrick didn't have the brain farts he did on defense on that final Atlanta drive.
Nonetheless, Romo is still a talented quarterback, and it doesn't seem that Garrett is utilizing him in a way that can make him very effective. He seems to be getting back to the old Romo days of getting away from the pass rush and hitting receivers in stride, which is what made him so great early.
He's even more effective getting out of the pocket when he runs that no-huddle. What does that tell you?
Dallas needs to find ways to get points on the board so that the defense can continue to do what they've been doing for this team to win football games. Rob Ryan has done an amazing job with this defense, and it would be a shame to have their great season go to waste because a head coach has no idea how to operate a gameplan.
At 3-5, don't you think they'd try anything at this point?