The Dallas Cowboys once again let their mistakes write the story of a game as they lost to the Minnesota Vikings, 24-21. The Cowboys once again committed too many penalties (11 for 91 yards, the second week in a row when the Cowboys have been penalized over 10 times), committed turnovers, didn't force any turnovers, lost the special teams battle and gave the game away to the opposition...again.
Wade Phillips seems to know the problem, but can't figure out how to solve it. "Obviously, it's coaching," Phillips said in his postgame interview. "We're going to keep working on it until we get it right."
The problem is it's too late for Phillips to get it right. With six weeks down in the NFL season, the Cowboys are making the same mistakes most teams make in the second preseason game. Adding insult to undisciplined play, the Eagles and Giants won again, making it that much more realistic that the Cowboys will finish the season at the bottom of the division, something no one thought would happen.
Normally a 1-4 start isn't the end of the world; there have been teams that have bounced back. However, this was supposed to be the easy part of the schedule for the Cowboys. As of today the Cowboys have one game against a team below .500 left on their schedule, the Detroit Lions. (The Packers and Redskins are 3-3.)
In recent seasons most people would say that the Cowboys would at the very least win a few games and make a run at the division title or the Wild Card.
This season the Cowboys have done nothing to make anyone believe in them. Instead they've made even their own fans pessimistic, and from the sound of the players during their postgame interviews, they've all but given up.
The Cowboys are a competitive team and have got a ton of talent, but like most bad teams they do just enough to lose. In all four of their losses, they have been in the game until the last play, but almost counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, not football. Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.
Jerry Jones will not fire Phillips during the season, but you can tell that the idea of a coaching change isn't far away.
"I'm not optimistic, I'm very disappointed. I realize the challenge that we've got, and we're not playing well enough to get it done right now. We're running out of the opportunity to make this season what we meant it to be," Jones said.
Normally I would say the Cowboys need to find a way to pull together and start winning games by practicing hard, eliminating mistakes and finding ways to win, but that's not going to happen. If it were going to, it would've happened already.
It's time to start getting realistic with the Cowboys. Soon the team is going to realize this season is a wash, then they'll win a game or two against a playoff-bound team and everyone will say that for a day the Cowboys played like the team we thought they were, but in the end there will be no postseason run, no division title and most likely no Wade Phillips and Jason Garrett.