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