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Despite what ESPN may say, Dallas is not really "in the hunt" (but I hope the players think they are)

Tim's picture

I said before the game that if the offense didn't show up, it would be anybody's game. Well, they showed up late, but they did show up. I guess this is just how Dallas plays this year. Get down early, make a comeback later.

Four of the team's six wins this season have been fourth quarter comebacks. The other two were one-score wins.

I was at the game, so I got to try to see a few things I can't see at home. Watching on TV, I always wonder whether receivers are getting open down the field. From what I could see last night, the answer is that they don't – at least not in the very limited time they usually have. Often, they are in single coverage, but usually very tight. If Romo had time to look down the field, he could make some of those throws. But do our guys ever run completely free as other teams' receivers seem to do against us every week? Nope.

And, honestly, I know Foles had lots of time last night, and that helps receivers find spots in zones, but you could see at least one Eagles receiver wide open on almost every play.

Romo's second half numbers were pretty spectacular: 10 for 10, 167 yards and 3 TDs. Yes, that's a perfect passer rating. Overall, he completed 12 of his last 12 passes, and ended the game with a career best single game passer rating of 150.5. (As a footnote, I have attended all of his top three passer rating games.)

Dez Bryant (rightly) is getting a lot of attention for another big game, including two touchdown grabs that both required some nifty running after the catch. Miles Austin had two nice grabs which made me wonder why he is not running crossing routes more often – they are really his thing. Jason Witten, though, notched his 17th career 100 yard game, but more importantly gave us some big downfield plays last night – something we have not seen from him this year, which is why his per catch average is well below his career mark. You want him to score more? Me, too, but hey, if he can get tackled with a first down inside the opponents five, I'll take that all night.

Murray's return, along with a (more or less) intact OL including Ryan Cook and Tyron Smith, gave Dallas a little bit of a running game. It seemed to me that on a couple of longer runs, Murray was still not 100%, or he'd have gone even farther, but he was good enough to keep the Philadelphia defense honest. And having a running game allowed play action to get us a touchdown by air last night, too.

Now let's talk about the defense. This was a happy start to the week, but you are delusional if you think this is a playoff team. You can blame the injuries – and yes, they do matter – but they gave up 27 points at home to a rookie starting his third game, a back-up running back, and a wide receiver corps missing it's best deep threat. Letting them score when they start a possession with only 41 seconds left in the first half? That drive was the reason this game never felt wrapped up until the final kneeldown.

And it was not just the replacements getting burned. I thought Ware had a pretty poor game. From where I was sitting it looked like he overpursued a few times and was a little slow getting off blocks. I was hopeful for a few gamechanging plays from him after his game-opening hit on Foles, but it never happened. And that was our $50 million cornerback, Brandon Carr getting burned by Riley Cooper. Credit to Cooper for a spectacular grab? Sure. But when your star defensive back ball hawk has a #4 receiver in tight coverage, it isn't the receiver you are expecting to make a spectacular play. At least that isn't what you're paying for. And the TD was not the only completion against Carr last night that just looked too easy.

Then again, when Bryce Brown is getting seven yards per carry for 169 and two TDs, it's hard to complain too much about a pass defense that gave up 251 and one TD.

And once again Special Teams contributed – giving up a 98 yard punt return for a touchdown in the game's waning minutes. It was just enough to give the Eagles hope and to give me déjà flu. That's when you start to feel sick when you see the same old mistakes about to cost your team the game.

Ah, but Philly's hope was squashed for good when Jason Witten grabbed the onsides kick attempt, and so we wandered off into the night, smiling. Jerryworld is a much happier place after a win.