I know it is a long time til Christmas, but after the Cowboys debacle in San Diego Sunday afternoon a quote from “A Charlie Brown Christmas” kept playing in my head. You know…when Charlie Brown is depressed over the holiday season and Linus says,” …You are the only person who can take a wonderful season like Christmas and turn it into a problem…” If you substitute the pick six for “season like Christmas”, it pretty much sums up the way the Cowboys reacted on the field to the interception return for a touchdown that Sean Lee gifted the ‘Boys with in the closing minutes of the first half against the Chargers. Good grief!
Before that great defensive play, Dallas seemed to have found an offensive rhythm that eluded them for much of the first half. As it turned out, that TD was the last change in the scoreboard the Cowboys would be able to muster as the Chargers rallied behind the arm of Phillip Rivers to score 20 unanswered points and hand the Cowboys another loss at the hands of an AFC West opponent.
As if the failure to gain a substantial lead in the NFC East weren’t enough, they have the seemingly unstoppable Denver Broncos heading to AT&T Stadium Sunday afternoon. Adding insult to injury was the Washington Redskins picking up their first win of the season. By the way, the ‘Skins have a bye week to prepare for Dallas before they come to town for a Sunday night match up. If the cards play out as I fear, Dallas will be sporting a 2-3 record at that juncture and the Redskins will have a golden opportunity to snag a tie for first place in the East with a victory.
Add to that disturbing scenario the fact that Dallas has road trips to the Motor City and Philly staring them in the face. If Dallas doesn’t find a way to split their next four games, a record of 2-6 isn’t out of the realm of possibility when the season hits the halfway mark.
For that not to happen, Dallas has a lot of work to do…Beginning with the elimination of some boneheaded coaching decisions. Why would anyone in their right mind choose to attempt a 56 yard field goal in the first half of a close game on a grass field. Trying to pin the Chargers deep at a point in the game that Dallas’ was still playing relatively well seemed to be the smarter move. As it turned out, Dan Bailey missed the field goal try and the Chargers were left with a short field and promptly scored three points of their own.
It’s always a momentum changer when a team goes into halftime on the heels of a scoring drive. In the case of San Diego, it turned out to be huge as the Chargers took the second half kickoff and never looked back. There are a couple of distressing points we can take from the Cowboys latest loss…
Dallas has yet to figure out the case of the Disappearing Dez Bryant. Once again the latest #88 did plenty of damage in the first half, only to go completely off the radar in the second half. Whether it’s a problem of not getting Bryant involved in the plays or him simply not getting open, it appears that if Dez were able to contribute more at the end of games the Cowboys would stand a far better chance of getting in the “w” column.
Also, the Dallas defense floundered in their pass coverage in the second half. This was due in part with them being on the field for a majority of time because the Cowboys offense struggled in moving the ball. However, as much as I hate to say it, the way the Chargers were able to dink and dunk their way down the field, it looked a lot like last season…and the season before that…you get the picture.
All we in Cowboys Nation can do at this point is hope that Sunday’s performance was the exception and not the rule for 2013…And pray for an upset of the Broncos, of course.