Thursday's Thanksgiving Day game was initially a disaster. And that might be an understatement. The Redskins, led by the stellar play of quarterback Robert Griffin III, went up 28-3 after the first half. Somehow, miraculously, the Cowboys actually got within a touchdown.
But in typical Dallas fashion, the comeback was futile and too late. With the Giants looking stagnant at the top of the NFC East (and they have a huge game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday), the Redskins and Cowboys are tied at 5-6.
The Cowboys are technically alive in the NFC East, but they are on life support. And if they have any hope of achieving a playoff spot, they have little room for error. Listless first halves like they’ve shown the last two games are unacceptable. So are the penalties.
Can they do it? If they do have any shot of making an impact in the NFC East, it’ll be because of these players.
It all seems to fall on Romo, doesn’t it? The most scrutinized quarterback in the league has earned that distinction by being massively inconsistent and seemingly collapsing at all the wrong times. Though he threw for over 400 yards against the Redskins, he also had two interceptions. He brought the Cowboys to within one touchdown, but ultimately could not overcome such a massive deficit.
Playing with perhaps his job on the line, Romo is going to need to start playing smarter and establishing better communication with his receivers.
The veteran tight end is Romo’s favorite target, and rightfully so. He’s a workhorse when it comes to getting first downs or hauling in difficult catches. But in addition to all that, he’s also an excellent blocker. With the Cowboys offensive line struggling to protect Romo or block for a runner, Witten should be relied upon more to set up the offense (even when he’s not being targeted).
With Miles Austin leaving the game against the Redskins early with a hamstring injury (something he deals with often), Beasley became a target for Romo. Small in stature, Beasley has the ability to make Wes Welker-like plays.
He had a great one-handed catch against Washington that sparked a little bit of life for Dallas. Romo likes working with him during practice, so going forward this season, especially if Austin is injured for a lengthy amount of time, expect Beasley get some more passes.
He signed a massive deal earlier this season to say with the Cowboys. He’s also been burned many times this season, most notably in that loss to the Chicago Bears. He had a bounce-back game with the Eagles and returned an interception for a touchdown. The following week, however, against Cleveland he was virtually non-existent.
With their defensive star Sean Lee out for the rest of the season, Dallas needs more plays from Carr.
Against the Redskins, Spencer had two sacks against RGIII (not an easy task). That follows one sack and a forced fumble against Cleveland four days earlier. Spencer has always appeared to have the makings of a great linebacker, but he always seems stifled.
With DeMarcus Ware still making his massive contributions to the defense, another elite linebacker could get Dallas over this stretch.