With the disheartening Week 2 loss in Kansas City, the team and its fans again start a season at 1-1. The team has basically been a .500 team for the past 17 seasons, so another 1-1 start continues the team on this same path as the team has only started out 2-0 in three of these 17 seasons. If the team has any hope of breaking out of this 8-8 trajectory, a strong emphasis will need to be put on getting out of September at 3-1.
With October (home against Denver and Washington, road against Philly and Detroit) and December (home against Green Bay & Philly, road against Chicago and Washington) being the most difficult months on this year’s schedule, being successful in September and November will be key if the team hopes to reach the 9 to 10 wins it will need to win the division. As it stands now, most experts would have the 2nd place team in the NFC West (Seahawks or 49ers) and NFC South (Falcons or Saints) as the two teams that will secure the Wild Card berths for the playoffs.
As Jason Witten says in almost every interview, the team “has” to find a way to stack victories on top of each other and get on a winning streak. The team needs to force its will on its opponent instead of playing down to the level of their competition. To lose to a team that was 2-14 just a season ago in 2012 is really unacceptable, and very disappointing when taking into account just how precious and meaningful victories are in this league.
On Sunday, just too many of past season’s issues cropped up again for the Cowboys:
- The team lost the turnover battle 0-2, which was a huge factor in this game
- The team had 16 rushing plays for a total of 37 yards (not even 2.5 per attempt)
- The team again had to settle for field goals, scoring 1 touchdown to 3 field goals
After getting the ball first in the second half and driving down and getting a field goal, the team’s next two possessions ended with fumbles and turnovers by Lance Dunbar and Tony Romo respectively. The team’s fourth possession of the 2nd half was a three and out.
Tony Romo really wasn’t as effective as usual, with this most likely being the result of the injury to his ribs suffered in Week 1. Romo finished 30/42 for 298, but was not effective throwing to his left, which really hurt the team in the fourth quarter as the team tried to rally. Passes to Jason Witten and Miles Austin were either way off, or did not lead the receiver as he should for the catch to be made against tight coverage.
With and early kick on Sunday the Cowboys need to have a bounce back game. The team needs to secure victories in the next two games before heading into a tough October stretch. If success is not had in September, this could end up being a long season for the team and its fans.
Follow Craig Cortemeglia on Twitter at @ccortemegliaTLH