Dallas Cowboys-Washington Redskins: Lessons from a Close Call

Gene StrotherCorrespondent IIINovember 23, 2009

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 22:  Wide receiver Martellus Bennett #80 of the Dallas Cowboys makes a pass reception against Carlos Rogers #22 of the Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys Stadium on November 22, 2009 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Cowboys 7, Redskins 6.

One could almost stop there and declare, "Enough said." But it isn't enough to repeat the shocking score from the Redskins' first ever visit to the new Jerry World (aka, Cowboys' Stadium).

No, we need to dig a little deeper if any lessons are to be learned from a 6-3 Cowboys team barely surviving against a 3-6 Washington squad. So, let us dig.

Lesson One is for Jason Garrett.

Hey, Red! Neither the media, nor the fans, nor a delusional owner are really qualified to hammer out a game plan. We know you took so much flak from all quarters after the Green Bay bit-spitting, that you decided you would show everyone and just run, run, run the ball.

Come on, man. Be a man. Plan your work and work your plan. Tell Jerry that he hired you to do a job and he can either allow you to do it or quit beating around the bush and do what he always dreamed of doing anyway: Namely, put on the headset and call the plays himself.

Granted, the plan Jason Garrett rolled out looked like it might work until the Marion Barber fumble deep in Redskins' territory stalled the maiden drive. Still, Garrett ran and ran and ran some more. He ran so much that the passing game never really got untracked until desperation set in late in the fourth quarter, when it became eminently obvious that an upset was not only possible, but increasingly likely.

Everyone clamoring for more "balance" in the Cowboys' attack might check the numbers from yesterday's game. The running and passing were almost dead even. And the offense managed but seven points against a team that is contending for exactly nothing in 2009.

Lesson Two is for Wade Phillips.

Wade, you physical specimen, you. I cannot tell you how ridiculous you look when, after your defense has allowed the opponent to march into field goal range, only to have their kicker misfire, and you start fist-pumping and high-kicking like your team just accomplished something.

Please note that an unforced error by your opponent is not validation of your team's prowess. Your defense was stellar and gave you plenty of opportunities and reasons to celebrate. Capitalize on those, if you must. Do cartwheels when they sack the quarterback, force a fumble, or get a pick to seal the deal (as they did yesterday).

Just, please, for the sake of dignity, stop waving your pom poms on missed field goals.

Lesson Three is for Roy Williams.

Dear Roy, you are not in Midland anymore. You are not even in Austin. This is the NFL. You will not be able to put yourself on cruise control and rely on your natural talent to elevate you to the heights you envision for yourself. Everyone here is talented. And most of them are determined.

Get yourself some of that determination.

Lesson Four is for the Dallas Cowboys fan.

Your team is good, not great. They are talented, but not singularly talented.

The Dallas Cowboys have enough talent on the field to do some real damage in the playoffs, but the head coach is weak and the owner/general manager is...well, he's Jerry. Enthusiasm for the team's progress must be tempered by the knowledge that a weak head coach winning a Super Bowl title is an extremely rare occurrence in NFL history.

Lesson Five is for all of us.

This is the NFL. There are no Florida Internationals or Tennessee-Chattanoogas on the schedule. A win is a win...and it is precious.

"So, good job everybody...?"