The follies of the 2010 Dallas Cowboys continued on Sunday, this time in a win over perhaps the only more dysfunctional team than themselves. Their 33-30 escape against Washington marks the final game at Cowboys Stadium prior to Super Bowl XLV and “upped” Dallas’ record to 5-9. It dropped the Redskins to the same mark.
In a game that saw the first start by quarterback Rex Grossman in over two years, the former Chicago Bears starter and loser of Super Bowl XLI against Indianapolis would tie a career high with four touchdown passes. He was not without his customary interceptions mind you but Grossman actually turned a game that should have been a blowout into an amazing comeback victory.
Anyone surprised by this? Remember that the Dallas defense of 2010 is on a history making goal of giving up the most points and yardage in their decorated 50 year history.
Anything shy of last season’s back-to-back shutouts in the final two regular season games and the Cowboys will easily eclipse points given up. Only nine points stand in the way of their mark of 405 given up in 2004.
Despite the Dallas win, Redskins owner Daniel Snyder may have finally pulled a fast one on Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, even in losing this game between two divisional doormats. Shanahan’s decision to start Grossman really came out of nowhere.
Granted, McNabb has not lived up to the huge extension he received about a month ago or trade that brought him to the Nation’s Capitol in the first place. But Grossman? Washington would have to be thinking towards 2011 to make this decision, something the Cowboys should be doing.
But here’s the difference. One team needs a quarterback for the future and knows that winning games now will only complicate that project. The other is trying to sell a fan base that it’s interim head coach should become some kind of permanent fixture amidst the storm damage.
The Dallas offense moved the ball well throughout the game but still missed numerous opportunities to put this game away in the first half. Consider that the Cowboys had drives that reached the 20, two and three yard lines that produced only field goals. Further, in a sequence that was reminiscent of San Diego’s goal line stand against the Cowboys last season on the same field, Dallas could not score on 4th-and-goal from the one. Turnover.
Jason Garrett has to be among the worst play callers I’ve ever witnessed inside the ten yard line. This is a pattern that has been around for too long and it has a way of keeping lesser opponents in games. Against better opponents, Dallas just gets hammered. This is the sign of a bad offense. Don’t let the yardage or the points fool you. The record speaks for itself and it does so in many creative languages since late 2007.
So much for the Cowboys playing “more disciplined” under Garrett. The Cowboys committed nine penalties totaling 70 yards and those went a long ways towards Grossman’s near comeback in the second half. If not for David Beuhler’s 39 yard field goal with :50 seconds left in the game, this game was going to overtime.
Some will say that a win is a win. It’s not easy to do in the NFL and I realize that. But when a team consistently makes even more difficult than it should be, or has to be, then there are problems.
The Cowboys are not turning any corners under Garrett, Kitna or anyone else. They are just a below average team that unfortunately sees fit to keep trying to win games with the same personnel that has shattered what once was a season of great promise.
With today’s victory the Cowboys probably fall two or three slots in the first round of the NFL Draft. Another win will certainly push them out of the top 10. I agree that this team is better than its record indicates but not by a whole lot. A top-five pick is probably not needed but a top selection would be nice, especially with the possibility of a new coaching regime a possibility. A rebuilding effort isn’t needed but a serious renovation is.
So winning games from this point forward, as most anybody is aware, is nothing more than a progress stopper. As Jason Garrett continues to try to “earn” the permanent head coaching position in Dallas, the franchise continues to sputter. It has already lost any measure of credibility as far as being a contender but now it’s prospects for improving are also held up. It’s a strange place to be as a fan because there seems like no way to win.
According to Dallas Morning News columnist Jean-Jacques Taylor, the standard for this once great franchise has really changed. If a dumbed-down win over the lowly Redskins put’s a smile on your face, great. But while Taylor is not a fan of the Cowboys, I certainly am and today’s game, even at the end, actually left me disappointed.
This is some really ugly football.