Cowboys are only capable of beating themselves
By Tyrone Starr
Four straight losses in four absolutely different fashions.
A big lead squandered. A fight to the finish. A blow out and a total give away.
Over the last month, the Dallas Cowboys cannot seem to find a way to, pardon the theft of another team’s mantra, just win baby.
Make a change at quarterback. Give a different running back the heavier workload. Add pieces to the defense. None of it matters. Whoever is out there playing, simple and plain, is not making enough plays to win games.
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Overall, the offense looked better with Matt Cassel than it did with Brandon Weeden under center.
The Cowboys had their best rushing day (by far) against a team that was one of the best at stopping the run. The passing yards were also the most that had been tallied since the season went into the abyss with just under ten minutes to play in the third quarter of game two.
Dallas was even finally able to manage scoring both on the ground and in the air.
All of that does not matter when you turn the ball over four times and never force your opponent to commit the same errors. This is especially so when you not only allow one turnover to result in a direct score, but another to end the game.
Of course, sandwiched in between those two debacles, was a special teams failure that gave up a second, unearned touchdown.
Sunday’s game against the New York Giants was in many ways a perfect microcosm of a season that’s been one of the most difficult to watch, soul crushing, patience trying in quite some time.
This was supposed to be the year that the Cowboys, finally rid of those mediocre 8-8 seasons, took the next step forward after winning a playoff game last year and positioned themselves as a very real threat.
Instead, Sunday exposed all of the flaws that are usually covered up by two guys who happen to be in the upper echelon of their craft.
In week one, Dallas turned the ball over three times, caused none and still won due to the late game heroics of one of the best quarterbacks in the game. Sunday, the Cowboys upped their turnover total by one, still created none in return, but had no magical ending at their disposal.
Instead, the guy that used to return kicks for this team, now doing so for the Giants, put the final nail in the coffin of this game, while his replacement bumbled away any chance at a sequel to the first game.
This was supposed to be the game that finally gave the Cowboys their band-aid like bridge to the return of their leader.
Instead, fans were treated to three horrible interceptions and some other throws that made you hold your breath and just hope. Was it rust? Likely not.
Cassel has thrown 28 picks in his last 629 attempts which results in an interception rate of 4.5%. That would qualify for the worst in the league this year, ahead of Andrew Luck and Peyton Manning and more than double that of Weeden.
This was supposed to be a winnable game that kept the Cowboys in the conversation and put a little fear in the rest of the division.
Instead, the Giants gained more separation, the Redskins won too and even though the Eagles lost, they still have more wins and a better record.
The cold, hard fact of this season can be explained quite simply.
This version of the Dallas Cowboys is only capable of beating themselves. No team can be successful when they do not cause turnovers and continually give the ball away. In the last four games, Dallas is -7 in turnover differential.
If that continues, they will lose to both the Seahawks and the Eagles. The Buccaneers game will be closer than it should be as well.
The margin for error is gone. So, too, will the season if this doesn’t get turned around immediately.