In a game that had become known affectionately as the "Desperation Bowl," the Dallas Cowboys demonstrated that they are in fact the NFL's most disappointing team in 2010. They certainly don't look anything like the team that many experts crowned the most talented in the league.
Just like last season, where the Cowboys got demolished by the Vikings 34-3 in the divisional round of the playoffs, this year's trip to the Metrodome resulted in another devastating loss. Only this time it was much closer with a final score of 24-21.
For the fifth time in five games, the Cowboys once again won the battle of the box score by outgaining the Vikings 314-188 on offense. Their offensive line didn't give up a sack. Time of possession, first downs, third down conversion percentage—Dallas outperformed Minnesota in nearly every category.
For a team that going into Sunday's game was ranked in the top five in total offense and total defense, it's too bad that statistics don't equal victories.
Unfortunately, America's team reaffirmed their status as one of the most undisciplined teams in the league by committing 11 penalties for 91 yards. They also committed two turnovers, including a crucial Tony Romo interception in the fourth quarter that led to the field goal that ultimately won the game for the Vikings.
It's not just that the Cowboys commit penalties and turn the ball over. It's the timing of the penalties and the turnovers that are most devastating.
After a Roy Williams touchdown that gave Dallas a 7-0 lead, Miles Austin was flagged for a celebration penalty after he jumped over Roy Williams. Sure, it may have looked impressive, but showing off your athleticism certainly isn't worth the 15-yard penalty. On the very next play, David Buehler kicked the ball out of bounds.
The Vikings took advantage of the short field and quickly tied the game at seven apiece on a Brett Favre touchdown pass to Greg Camarillo.
On the following drive, Miles Austin committed yet another penalty when he was flagged for offensive pass interference on his 68-yard touchdown reception. Six points were taken off the board.
The remainder of the game didn't get much better in terms of discipline.
So what's next for the last-place Dallas Cowboys? The first-place New York Giants. The Cowboys have one of the league's toughest remaining schedules with 10 of their final 11 games coming against opponents with records at or above .500.
Even in an NFC where every team has at least two losses through their first six games, the Cowboys' chances of turning things around and sneaking into the playoffs are very slim. All that's left is for the fat lady to do her thing.
It was only six weeks ago that the Dallas Cowboys were one of the favorites to reach the Super Bowl and become the first team in NFL history to have the opportunity to play the game in their home stadium. It's amazing how much can change in only six games.
Someone call the coroner because the 2010 Dallas Cowboys are officially dead.