Last week’s game against the Broncos was epic. Although Cowboy Nation was denied the story book ending, I’m still excited about the future of the Dallas Cowboys this season. The Cowboys are ranked second with an average of 30.4 points per game this season. The Cowboys trail the Denver Broncos (1st, 46.0), but lead the Green Bay Packers (3rd, 29.5), Chicago Bears (4th, 29.0), Minnesota Vikings (5th, 28.8), Philadelphia Eagles (8th, 27.0) and the New Orleans Saints (9th, 26.8). These are the teams remaining on the Cowboys schedule in which a high scoring offensive output may be needed to secure a win.
I enjoy watching my Jacksonville Breeze Legends football league team for their physical play. For high scoring matches, I watch my local Jacksonville Sharks arena football games. We can admit that shoot outs are fun and everyone loves to see the ball flying through the air. Unfortunately, quick points or possessions result in losing the time of possession battle. The Broncos had the ball 32:34 to the Cowboys 27:26. Time of possession rests the defensive players so they can make plays at the end of the game. The difference between winning and losing wasn’t Tony Romo’s interception or Dez Bryant’s fumble or Tyron Smith’s false start in the red zone. There were other factors including penalties and the disappearance of the Cowboys running game.
The Broncos finished the game with 31 rushing attempts for 103 yards (3.3 average). The Cowboys finished the game with 14 rushing attempts for 52 yards (3.7 average). The Broncos managed four sacks for 36 yards and were also helped by the Cowboys 9 penalties. Those nine penalties cost the Cowboys 81 yards and donated 5 first downs to the Broncos. If you’re trying to win the Masters, don’t break your putter on the second hole. (Ok, I’m a golfer so here’s the translation: Don’t shoot yourself in the foot and help your opponent beat you.)
Looking ahead, I believe our defensive woes can be helped by keeping our defense off the field with sustained drives and an increased time of possession. The Cowboys converted on 4 of 6 third downs, which is spectacular, but they abandoned the running game. The Cowboys ran on 10 of the first 24 plays and didn’t run the ball anymore at the two minute mark in the third quarter. How do you have a fourth quarter lead and not run the ball to eat up the clock?
Terrence Williams had a good game (I’m probably his second worst critic) although he almost made a costly mental mistake by not getting out of bounds. I’m still #TeamDwayneHarris and would have preferred that third round selection get used on a defensive lineman. The Cowboys could also use more defensive pressure and I’m positive Jay Ratliff’s return will not fix anything. Texans Alex Okafor, Saints John Jenkins, Seahawks Jesse Williams or Jordan Hill, Giants Damontre Moore would be useful young talent right now, but that’s crying over spilled milk. DeMarcus Ware disappeared against the Broncos backup tackle Chris Clark. If not sacks, Ware should have managed to get a few quarterback pressures or hurries. Peyton Manning has great pocket presence, but he was the closest thing to a tackling dummy that Ware will get this season. Denver didn’t punt at all, not once! At least the defense managed two takeaways, but can we add in a few three and outs? This Cowboys team would be amazing if they protect Romo by running the ball and get a few timely defensive stops.