Monday Nightmare Football For The Dallas Cowboys

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Oct 27, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) lays on the field injured as trainers, doctors and head coach Jason Garrett check on him in the this quarter against the Washington Redskins at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Amidst what is feeling like a dream season for Dallas Cowboys fans, the second nightmare of the year occurred in the middle of the third quarter on Monday Night Football.

On what felt like the four hundredth blitz of the night, linebacker Keenan Robinson came free up the middle and sacked quarterback Tony Romo, driving his knee into his back, putting him down on the ground for what felt like four hundred minutes.  After a decent amount of time with limited movement, Romo was able to get himself up but he walked very gingerly straight back to the locker room and disappeared for the next quarter.

Thankfully Cowboys fans were able to wake up from the nightmare of thinking all hope was lost on the season as Romo was able to enter back into the game.  Unfortunately, yet another nightmare struck when he was unable to lead the Cowboys to the go ahead score with under two minutes left in the fourth quarter.  The final nightmare occurred when he was unable to lead the Cowboys to a tie or a win in overtime.

Redskins 20, Cowboys 17.

Back to the drawing board.

Should one loss wipe away the previous six in a row?  Of course not.  In the grand scheme of things, it’s just one loss and the Dallas Cowboys are still in first place in the NFC East.

But to lose on Monday Night Football… to the 2-5 Washington Redskins… with a third-string quarterback who hadn’t started a NFL game in three years… and to only be able to muster 17 points, eleven points lower than their average coming into the game?

That qualifies as at least as bad of a loss as the wins over the Saints and Seahawks were “good” wins.

I don’t want to believe that the Cowboys took this game lightly or that they didn’t prepare well enough.  Maybe it was just a bad day… for a lot of guys on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.  What I have a tough time believing is that the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff did not see the multitude of blitzes coming their way.  Washington defensive coordinator Jim Haslett has been in his position for the last four years.  He brings the house… a lot.  Why does this seem to beguile our offensive brain trust so often?

If you go back and look at the downs that the blitzes seemed most prevalent, you never see their being an immediate “hot” receiver open.  There were no slant patterns, no ins or outs, no drags, no screens.  There was nowhere for Romo to throw.

I can even excuse this being an issue for a half.  Let’s give Haslett some credit.  Maybe he came up with some new stuff that hasn’t been seen.  That’s what halftime is for.  Adjustments… to which there were none.  Because of that, Romo laid on the ground, almost motionless and the Dallas offense looked motionless for the majority of the game as well.

There is more blame to go around than just Romo and the offensive triad of geniuses in head coach Jason Garrett, passing game coordinator Scott Linehan and offensive line coach/coordinator Bill Callahan.