Cowboys fans watching the Sunday night matchup between the Cowboys at the NY Jets will likely be emotionally distraught. Many will point to the fumble by Tony Romo, the late interception by Romo, the blocked punt for a Jets touchdown, or the serendipitous twist of fate of Nick Folk kicking the game winner against his former team. Undoubtedly you will hear fans screaming out Romo’s name as a curse word.
By looking at theses specific plays alone and blaming Romo for the bulk of the Cowboys woes, the bigger picture will be missed. The Cowboys lost Dez Bryant for a period of time and when he was on the field he barely appeared able to run; the Cowboys had their top three cornerbacks on the sideline for periods of time throughout the game; finally, the Cowboys had three new members along the offensive line.
With all that being said, the Cowboys still were within a touchdown of beating a participant in the AFC Championship game. The defense appears to embrace the scheme of Rob Ryan. The Cowboys defense was able to turnover the football. Sean Lee appears to be a legitimate player at linebacker. The defense wasn’t pushed around against the running game. The offensive line had few mistakes against a truly formidable defense. Dez Bryant continues to electrify (and simultaneously is injury prone).
The outcome is painful, after all the Cowboys were an unbelievable 241-0-2 when leading in the fourth quarter by 14 or more points. This is a team that can compete. They can play hard and be effective despite losing their top talent. This is a team that can win. There is reason to be optimistic though many will not be willing to see that.