What transpired during prime time Sunday Night Football on NBC http://www.nbcsports.com/snf-all-access-sunday-night-football was a disaster for the Dallas Cowboys. The challenges during and after this game are vast. I tend to lean towards the optimistic side of things, but it is difficult to come up with many positives after the Dallas Cowboys were overwhelmed by the New Orleans Saints 49-17.
My expectations going into the game were that it would be a tough one to win for Dallas. The Superdome is a difficult place to play, and when you throw in the recent defensive woes the Cowboys were having, things didn’t look bright. However, what I did not expect was the complete lack of offensive productivity from QB Tony Romo and what’s been, albeit only through the air, a dangerous offense that can score high volumes of points.
The Cowboys offense could only muster 193 total yards and two touchdowns. During the first quarter, Dallas seemed to have its running game going when RB Demarco Murray took a fake-reverse 35 yards, and then scored later on a 7 yard touchdown run. It was as though the Cowboys had finally found the balanced attack which has eluded them all year. But, New Orleans scored on their very next possession and did not look back the rest of the game.
The Cowboys defense provided no real pressure on Saints Quarterback Drew Brees sacking him one time and hitting him only three times. Brees had the time and space he needed to pick apart Cowboys Defensive Coordinator Monte Kiffin’s Tampa Two zone defense and the QB did so with high-efficiency. The lack of Defensive End Jason Hatcher’s presence was felt mightily as the defensive line also yielded a New Orleans Saints team high since 1990 242 rushing yards.
The loss was further compounded for the Cowboys by the hamstring injury to star Linebacker Sean Lee and a re-aggravation to injured Defensive End DeMarcus Ware’s leg. Both Ware and Lee are arguably the heart and soul of the Cowboys defense, and the only plus side to their injuries at this time are that the Cowboys have a bye in week 11 giving them more time to heal.
So what do we know about this Cowboys team after ten games? While I do not believe one blowout loss breaks an entire season, the fact that Dallas is once again sitting at .500 atop the NFC East, for now, with a 5-5 record tells us that they are a very average team. The secondary is yielding too many passing yards; the defensive line is not applying enough consistent QB pressure, the offense’s inability to run the ball is stifling, and what was once a prolific aerial attack now seems to be faltering too.
Cowboys fans can only hope that the extra week off is what the doctor ordered to get this team back on track for the second half of the season.
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