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Cowboys try to beat themselves again - mistakenly beat Panthers

Tim's picture

When the Dallas Cowboys have their minds set on beating themselves, they are tough to ... beat? But today, with a little perseverance, a few breaks, and an opponent with problems of their own, Dallas came out on top, despite their now-expected failure to score.

It was a win, so I don't want to re-hash everything that went wrong, but I do want to point out a few specific times when key players left points on the field.

On the first scoring drive, with a 1st and goal at the 9, Romo, who ended the day with decent numbers, missed a wide open Miles Austin in the end zone. That's four points that would have made the game's ending a little less suspenseful.

The Miles Austin fumble we remember because it led to Carolina's first of only two scoring drives. But that fumble occurred right at the edge of FG range, so change the scoring swing from 7 to 10, or maybe even 14.

Near the end of the third quarter, on a 3rd and 9, Romo's pass goes right through the hands of Jason Witten. Possibly four points given up, but definitely a first down that would have run more time off the clock in a close game that Dallas led.

Late in the 4th, on the Carolina 15, Romo puts the ball in Bryant's hands running down the right sideline into the end zone. Bryant yelled for a flag. I yelled for a catch. It hit him on the arms.

I have to be honest: when Carolina got the ball with 3:25 on teh game clock, down by two, with all their time-outs remaining, I had very close to zero confidence that the Cowboys could hold on. My confidence in the defense was somewhat restored, though, especially considering they did it without Sean Lee, sidelined with a toe injury.

A nailbiter finish is a lot more fun when your team wins, so this game was a good start to the week, but some problems still linger.

Why is Romo spending so much time at the line yelling and waving people into position? Do they really not know where to line up? Or is it just the worst audible system in the league? I didn't count the number of incomplete passes that hit green turf, followed by more Romo yelling. Somebody out there - maybe everybody out there - needs to hit the film room. Like I said last week, these aren't mental lapses; this is how the Cowboys perform.

Now, you certainly can't say Garrett "gave up on the run" with 34 passes and 31 runs (including three Romo scrambles,) despite having almost no success, ending up with 2.7 per carry. But the team managed to pick up short yardage conversions on the ground and to run the clock. What they didn't do was open up very much down the field. Instead, Romo checked down a lot, ending up with only 6.7 per pass attempt.

Where are the Dallas receivers? Are they just not open? Every gamebreak update I see Aaron Rodgers throwing to a guy in green who has no opponent within five yards of him. What's going on downfield with the Dallas receivers?

Maybe I'm being too critical after a win, but let's face it, Dallas just squeaked past a 1-5 team, scoring only 19 against a defense that gives up 25 on average.

The defense managed an interception, though, and that's progress. I won't even point out it should have been two. Oops. And Anthony Spencer had a really good game again.

There is lots of good to point out, I suppose, but I'll leave that to others. I'm happy for the win, but this still doesn't look like a team that can beat quality opponents.