Sunday, January 13, 2008

I'm gonna ask directions to the next huge, embarrassing failure.

By now you know. The Cowboys lost.

Well, my thoughts ...

Well, part of me felt that coming on after the Redskins game. It wasn't a shock, but one of the bigger sports disappointments I've experienced in a long time.

The Cowboys were the better team with more time for preparation and more rest. They were playing at home. They should have won.

Fingers will be pointed at the offense, and there's some validity for such, since they only scored 17 points. More were needed, but the did put together 2 90+ yard touchdown drives in the first half, including one that consumed more than 10 minutes over 20 plays. Even their field goal drive was 16 plays. My point being, the offense moved the ball and gave the defense a rest, but they certainly missed opportunities due to lack of execution. The play of the offensive line in the 2nd half was disappointing, especially since that line contains 3 of the 5 starters for the Pro-Bowl.

I'm more disappointed with the defense. The Giants' opening drive demonstrated an offense ready to play and a defense lacking intensity. Poor tackling plagued them on that drive and throughout the game.

Worse still was giving up the touchdown before the half, with less than a minute left. I wasn't surprised they gave up points, I just kind of felt that was going to happen. Giving up the touchdown, however, was inexcusable.

The Cowboys offense played well that first half, very well, and if the defense would have had that same intensity and level of execution, the game would not have been tied at the half.

14-3 is more along the lines of what the score should have been. If that would have been so, then I think you have a much less motivated Giants team in the 3rd quarter. Instead, they were still fired up and started to manhandle the Cowboys offensive line.

Per Giants defensive end Michael Strahan: "That TD was huge . . . we have a chance" he said was their thinking at halftime.

Sloopy tackling, absurd penalties, and dropped passes ... those are the marks of a less intense and/or inadequately coached team.

I know the defense only gave up 7 points in the second half, but that drive further demonstrated the gap between the intensity of the two teams. The Giants were hungrier. They were more physical. They were more intimidating. They were more disciplined. They were more focused.

You can't coach speed and you can't teach hustle. Football is a game of controlled emotion and passion and energy. The inferior team was superior in those areas.
"We played with no emotion – the same way we did in Washington," CB Terence Newman said. "Everybody knows you can't flip the switch."
When you have 12 Pro-Bowlers* and the other team has 1 AND you're playing at home AND you have all your starters healthy AND you've had an extra week of rest AND the other team travels in back to back games AND the other team has spares and practice squad players in the secondary AND their star receiver is hobbled AND their tight end (Shockey) who normally lights you up is injured AND you should be the hungrier team (coach & QB both searching for redemption with their first playoff win and the other QB got his last week) ...

THEN you are expected to win the game and you should.
Thus, I would submit to you that this teams has more to be ashamed of and sad about than last year's. The expectations were higher, but they were realistic expectations.

Last year the better team won and the Cowboys lost on an "oops" play on the road. This year there was much blame to go around and it had nothing to do with Tony Romo going to Mexico for vacation. In fact, he played a pretty good game, and I feel bad for him having to hold the bag for another off-seaon since it ended on an intercepted desperation end zone pass.
As a team, they let themselves down and the fans will feel let down as well.

I was embarrassed to be a Cowboys fan last night, even worse than I was when we got beat in the first round by the Arizona Cardinals at home in 1998 by the score of 20-7. That was a huge, embarrassing failure. But this was worse.

13-3 means nothing, but makes the sting of a loss that much worse. Patrick Crayton said it best, "I would have preferred to have gone 8-8 and won a playoff game."

First the Mavericks, now the Cowboys. Pull the truck over ... I'm gonna ask directions to the next huge, embarrassing failure
.

*12 Pro-Bowlers is a team record, which is impressive, but also makes this seismic loss a 9.8 on the Choke Scale.

Still, congratulations are in order for:
WR Terrell Owens*
OT Flozell Adams*
OG Leonard Davis*
C Andre Gurode*
TE Jason Witten*
QB Tony Romo
RB Marion Barber
OLB DeMarcus Ware*
CB Terence Newman
FS Roy Williams
FS Ken Hamlin
Kicker Nick Folk

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12 Comments:

At 14 January, 2008 05:29, Anonymous mark t said...

I am a Cowboys fan on some level, from my DTS days. They were tough this year, and I had concerns about my team playing them, because they were so good. I think Romo has proven he is good, and that is something they can build on for the future. I know a lot about the frustration of loss, having experienced it for most of my life in New England. But things can change.

 
At 14 January, 2008 07:49, Anonymous Chris said...

I can appreciate your "Doomsday" outlook - - But, think of it this way. You'll always have Pearson's catch against Minnesota - - and the Clint Longley game against the Redskins . . .

 
At 14 January, 2008 08:01, Blogger Lance said...

As a fan of the Sooners and Cowboys, I'll have to say it's been nothing but a sad new year for me.

Thank God for some Pipe and White Castle around the corner.

 
At 14 January, 2008 09:18, Blogger Jade said...

Wow, that's some post-mortem Gunny. If it's any comfort to you, I was surprised by the Giants win. Everyone expected a Dallas win.

It will be very interesting next week at Lambeau Field. The Giants are hot on the road and yet the GB boasts of the home field advantage.

The SD win was also another shocker. But I don't think they will stand against the Patriots.

So what's your new post season prediction in light of the new landscape? :o)

 
At 14 January, 2008 09:24, Blogger GUNNY said...

Mark T,

This reminds me of the 70s Cowboys that were always "Next year's champions," the team that couldn't win the big game.

I think they have an OUTSTANDING team, but as a Patriots fan you know how easy it is to go from winning the Superbowl to not making the playoffs the following year.

There are no guarantees in football. That's why they play the games.


Chris,

That Clint Longley game was greatness. But, for me at least, winning the ones you should have lost never brings as much joy as losing the ones you're supposed to win brings sadness.

;-)


Lance,

Amen, brother. The Ags lost a bowl game they could have, should have won.

The Little Mavericks were a "lock" to make it back to the finals, but got bounced in the first round, after winning 67 games and being the #1 seed (making history).

The Cowboys made history as the first NFC #1 seed to lose its opening game in the divisional round.

This is definitely going to take an extra White Castle or two in order to ease the pain. Perhaps we can get the Pipe to go along with us this year.

 
At 14 January, 2008 09:45, Blogger AJF said...

Aw darn. I sure hate to see the Cowboys lose. Especially to a team from New York....

Since you are so gracious about the Stars cheap win against the Sabres, I'll not say more....

 
At 14 January, 2008 09:55, Blogger GUNNY said...

LOL!

Thanks, Tony. As you know, some losses are more difficult to take than others.

In fact, some can last a lifetime, especially when you get cheated by the officials.

 
At 14 January, 2008 10:44, Blogger Oilcan said...

Tommy Boy

This one really hurts, although I totally saw it coming. Just my thoughts/vents:

1. Multiple failed tackles allowing Giant receiver to escape slew of Cowboys and run for long touchdown.
2. Facemask on receiver clearly going down and out of bounds adding easy 15-yds to Giant minute offense.
3. Defense getting called at least twice for being off sides
4. Called (wasted) timeout before a punt return???
5. Crayton dropped punt return
6. Crayton dropped huge 3rd down conversion and huge gain pass
7. TO dropped pass
8. Crayton stopped running on a streak touchdown route and came just short of the ball in the end zone
9. Fasono dropped catch on goal line
10. Witten catching a pass inside 5-yard line and ran himself out of bounds allowing more time for the Giants before the half
11. Romo taking late huge deep sacks instead of throwing ball away
12. Romo intentionally grounding the ball without being under any pressure
13. With timing running out, 2nd and short, and run a draw play to Barber to pick up the first down which failed and they lost a lot of time?
14. Time running out, 2nd and eleven on 23 or so, and continually forcing ball into the end zone instead of trying to pick up the first down or gain big yards in the middle
15. Special teams giving up huge returns
16. L Davis late hit/block on defensive pass rusher laying on the ground after the ball was passed
17. Romo throwing bad pass over Owen’s head for easy 3rd down conversion and possible touchdown
18. Romo throwing short yardage dump pass to Witten gaining insignificant yards but forward progress lets clock continue to run
19. False starts
20. Gurode’s poor snaps in the shotgun
21. Illegal formation – 6 men on the line – Come On!
22. Glenn falling down nearly giving up a nice gain and an easy interception
23. Wasting another timeout to avoid delay of game
24. Overusing Barber and underusing Julius in the first half so tired Barber had a big bag of nothing in the second half – this opposite their approach all season
25. Failure to pick up desperate Giant pass rush (covering for depleted secondary) and so failure to take advantage of Giant depleted secondary

Obviously, the hugest thing was the touchdown drive before the half – giving that up was just ridiculous and was the difference in the game. Even if they could have just held them to a field goal, Cowboys would have only needed a field goal on those last two drives – starting at midfield. I could not believe we could not drive down and get a touchdown given two short fields and the game on the line. The defense stood up and got 2 straight 3 and outs at the end of the game, but given 70-yards(?) and 0:53 they could not prevent a touchdown. This really broke the backs of the Cowboys.

I am really tender. My sadness is turning to anger.

The #1 reason – Romo offended God with his Jessica Simpson shenanigans.

Another colossal #1 seed meltdown a la Dallas Mavericks.

 
At 15 January, 2008 03:34, Blogger GUNNY said...

Jade,

I'm thinking we're gonna see both of the home teams win on Sunday, pitting the Packers & the Patriots in a Superbowl rematch of 1997.

I'd be picking the Packers in an upset. They looked REALLY good on Saturday night in the snow against the Hawks of the Sea.


Oilcan,

Great assessment of the game.

#13 was huge. It was like they assumed the were going to get the 1st down and had no contingency plan on what to do next.

In fact, look at the difference in closing out halfs.

NY closed out the first half by running 7 plays, going 71 yards in 46 seconds.

The Cowboys closed out the second half by running 7 plays in 1:41, gaining a whole 25 yards.

Incidentally, (per Mark L.) Randy Galloway labeled this "the worse collapse in Cowboys history."

It may be hard to argue otherwise.

 
At 15 January, 2008 06:45, Anonymous Ched said...

A sad day indeed.

Where have all the cowboys gone?

 
At 16 January, 2008 11:24, Blogger GUNNY said...

This was a VERY interesting piece putting this loss into its historical perspective.

I was surprised by some of the harsh realizations regarding this team and the funk the Cowboys have been in since '96. (i.e., the last time they won a playoff game)

 
At 16 January, 2008 20:17, Anonymous NCguy said...

I'm a bit late on this one, but I thought Brad Sham's article was worth reading:
http://www.dallascowboys.com/news.cfm?editorialAuthor=3&id=84F6058C-B46C-8263-802DA3A38C7C647F&page=1&endPoints=4350%2C7396

 

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