Where are the Dallas Cowboys that I have known and loved for 40 some odd years? They show up in fits and starts, but on a consistent basis – no, not the Cowboys we all remember. As the players took the field Sunday night against the Atlanta Falcons, suspense and excitement filled the living room, as it does every game. Would this be the night America’s team makes a statement?
Dallas won the coin toss. In the 1st quarter, Dan Bailey, kicker, set the game into motion. Atlanta goes three and out on the first possession. The Cowboys were fired up! The offense played high intensity football in their first possession, driving down the field, but settled for a field goal. The Falcon’s offense took over and the Cowboys defense stopped them from scoring a touchdown, but were penalized three times. Atlanta kicker, Matt Bryant, missed the field goal to tie it up. A blessing in disguise! Cowboys lead 3 – 0. Looking good, or at least, better than other possessions of late, AND despite the repeated mistakes. Cowboys offense takes over and moves fast and furiously, but once again, settle for a field goal. Dallas leads 6 – 0. The first quarter came to uneventful end.
In the 2nd quarter, Atlanta kicks a field goal to make the score 6 – 3. It was shaping up to be a SEC defensive snoozefest. As the nation tried to stay awake, the announcers kept us entertained by talking about Jerry Jones in his 24th year as the owner / GM / President / king of the world. Jones let us know that he is okay with Jason Garrett as head coach and his 16 – 15 record. Back on the field, Tony Romo, Cowboys quarterback, threw an interception, but thankfully it was called back for defensive holding on Atlanta. Not long after the first interception attempt, Romo threw another, but the defensive back dropped it in the endzone. Two lucky breaks!
The good news was that the Cowboys were playing up to their competition, but were not quite able to capitalize. Bailey missed a 54 yarder, so the scoreboard read 6 – 3 with nine minutes left before halftime. Kevin Ogletree, Cowboys wide receiver, dropped more passes; the Cowboy way this season. A positive improvement to celebrate was the penalties were few and far between in the first half. The offense stalled, again, minutes before the break. If Jason Witten, tight end, caught two more passes, he would become the all-time receptions leader. Go Witten! Due to the offensive woes, the defense was worn out in the last minute. They allowed the Falcons to tie it up with a field goal. The first half looked much like the previous seven games, boring and predictable. Missed tackles, red-zone curses, drops, and continued penalties plagued the Cowboys.
The sideline reporter, Michelle, told of the Cowboys plans for the 2nd half:
Get the balls into the hands of the playmakers. Keep banging away!
Isn’t that the goal of every team?