The same metal errors and inconsistent play that has plague the Dallas Cowboys all year reared it’s ugly head again against the New York Giants. But this time, it cost the Cowboys a spot in the playoffs. The Cowboys lost to the Giants on Sunday night, 31-14.
Going into the game, Dallas’ biggest concern was the injury to quarterback Tony Romo’s throwing hand. Romo was unable to take pre-game snaps due to the pain. But Romo “toughed” it out and had a good game. Although, he seemed to hold the ball way too long which resulted in six sacks by the Giants. Romo finished the season going 29 of 37 for 289 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
The Dallas defense looked terrible. Particularly bad was the play of Terence Newman, Alan Ball, Abram Elam and Gerald Sensabaugh. Newman looked old as he was unable to cover any of the Giant’s receivers. Embarrassingly, Newman also got hurdled twice by two different New York tight ends. Ball and Sensabaugh both bumbled possible game changing fumbles. And Elam missed an easy tackle that resulted in a Giants touchdown. The defense played better in the second half, but by then the damage was done.
On the other side of the ball, the New York Giants had an overall stellar game. Eli Manning through for 346 yards and three scores. Victor Cruz killed the Cowboys with six catches for 178 yards and a score. Hakeem Nicks added in five receptions for 76 yards and a touchdown. The Giants defensive line pressured Romo all night. And their secondary kept the Cowboys scoreless in the first half. Romo had a hard time finding open receivers until after Dallas made some half-time adjustments. Too little, too late for the Cowboys though.
The 2011-12 Cowboys’ season was full of promise and let-down. The team who had the talent to win always found themselves on the edge of losing, no matter the situation. Lack of mental toughness was the Cowboys calling card all year, and it started in Week One against the New York Jets. After that come-from-behind loss to the Jets on opening day, Dallas has struggled with the lead in late games. They truly never got over that first loss.
Now the big questions that will linger throughout the offseason for the Cowboys are:
Will Jason Garrett be the Head Coach of the Dallas Cowboys next year?
Will Rob Ryan return as Defensive Coordinator?
Will they finally let Terence Newman and Alan Ball go?
How will the Cowboys help their defensive secondary?
When will the Cowboys find Tony Romo successor?
Will DeMarco Murray be the same player he was after the injury?
It appears we will have plenty of time to discuss and debate these questions and many more in the coming months. Frankly, with the Cowboys going home tonight, there’s just not much else to say.