Members Only

Use chat room, Create your own member column (and earn revenue from that column!), create a photo gallery, create a video gallery, create and vote in polls, post in the forum, create your own friend network, and much, much more!
Click here to join - it's free!

Open the Steel Curtain - let the Star shine in

Tim's picture

Dallas is now 3-0 in December. No matter what happens the next two weeks, they will have a winning record in the final month, so, as Yoda would say, "Up the shut f***"

It would be easy to be disappointed with the many blown plays and penalties (as usual.) But the fact is that these were two inconsistent 7-6 teams with injury issues, both of which had something to play for. Should we have been surprised they went to overtime? No.

I want to start with coaching, because I have been tough on them. Garrett called a really good game. Even the plays that didn't work were good calls. He effectively called around suspect protection (especially in the second half) and used his running back effectively.

Rob Ryan, who I have often doubted, is Houdini. How on earth he patched together those kind of stops from a couch string defense is just absolutely stunning. Brilliant, even. I will rip him again in the future, but today, let's just think about this: top two ILBs on injured reserve, two of top three CBs out, three of top four safeties out, top two NTs out, defensive superstar effectively out (we'll talk about Ware later,) one of your couch string ILBs lost in the first half. What in the hell was left? Plays being made by Coe, Moore, and the guy from Section 43, Row 9? Wow. Just wow.

What about some individual performances? I am usually the Romo defender, but let me change gears. Danny McCray was not that bad. Let's remember who this guy is – he was supposed to be a special teams guy and emergency third string backup safety. Now, he's starting. Even when he got beat, he often had decent coverage and made a tackle. I am not going to blame this guy for any breakdowns. I'm not. Sometimes effort does count, and that guy gave more than anybody could have reasonably expected.

How about Dwayne Harris? He made some clutch catches, some nice moves and effort for critical yardage after the catch, and a great punt return (that was subsequently wasted.) This guy is a keeper.

Dez Bryant is who we hoped he was. Yes, he dropped a few – one which definitely smacked him right on his broken finger. He also fought for yards when he did catch it and made a go-ahead TD catch in the third quarter.

We got contributions from Cole Beasley and James Hanna, too. The youth contingent is contributing, and when is the last time that happened? And add Alex Albright to that list, too.

But who was the defensive MVP? No, not Brandon Carr, though he gets honorable mention. It's Anthony Spencer. This guy has been a beast this year. Ware may be injured, but whatever the case, he was totally ineffective all day. He was only double-teamed on three man rushes. He did next to nothing. Spencer tore the place up. He called the plays, he played in the middle, he rushed the passer, he sacked the QB, he dropped in pass defense. This guy must have played every defensive down. I bow to Spencer. He was an absolute beast.

Do I have to talk about Romo? Believe it or not, I don't want to. He completed 73.2% of his passes to nine receivers for 341 yards, two TDs, a 114.0 passer rating and a franchise record 18th 4th quarter/OT comeback. He had his fourth 4000+ yard season (the only QB to even have one in franchise history,) his 8th 300 yard game in a single season (tying his own franchise record,) broke his own single season attempts record, extended his franchise records for yards per game, and completions in a season. In this, his worst season ever, he's now raised his season passer rating above 90. It's never been lower.

But hey, that's what Romo does. It's all that he does. He plays well and wins most of his games. So I won't comment on that.

Back to the game.

Dallas had something to play for, and they played, and they won. I am beginning to think I need to stop doubting. How in the heck to they keep pulling these games out? And for all of our (my) talk about the team not being prepared, that was not true today. They may not have executed well on a number of plays, but I just did not see the kind of confusion and idiocy I have seen in some games. The defense came out on fire, got robbed of a turnover on the very first drive, and eventually won the game. The offense moved the ball well in the air and on the ground and I do not remember Romo resetting people before the snap. Miles Austin returned to our consciousness and Jason Witten scored a touchdown.

A couple months ago, I was thinking the one-word summary of this Cowboys season should be "almost." I am beginning to think it should be "believe."

I know, I know - these were not the 1975 Steelers. But these were also not the 1975 Cowboys, either.

After all, they won.