Cowboys crumble in another 4th quarter meltdown
In the last six weeks, the Dallas Cowboys have been missing several things. First up, All-Pro wide receiver Dez Bryant.
"“You can’t replace Dez Bryant. No one is going to be Dez Bryant” said quarterback Tony Romo after Dez broke his foot. He wasn’t wrong."
The Cowboys struggled offensively without #88 and his return saw arguably the best performance from Matt Cassel and fellow receivers last week. In particular, the presence of Dez on the field led to freedom for Cole Beasley to become his slippery self.
But tonight against the Buccaneers, Dez Bryant cut an angry frustrated figure. Irate when Cassel didn’t throw him the ball, irked when he failed to make the catch. It was quite simply an off night for the player who wears his heart on his sleeve. Dez dropped the ball in the endzone, a bread and butter reception when compared to the leaping catch last week. Nevertheless it was a drop that would have given the Cowboys those crucial 6 points.
If you could get an idea of the Cowboys defense in once sentence, how about this:
"“The Cowboys have the fewest interceptions, fumble recoveries and takeaways in the NFL.’"
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The Rod Marinelli defense have failed to make plays or take advantage of opponents mistakes. So when Jeff Heath made not one but two interceptions against the Buccaneers you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a full moon!
Heath’s second interception couldn’t come at a better moment. The Bucs had stormed down the field from within their own ten yard line to the cusp of the redzone. Jameis Winston had been over throwing at times throughout the game, and it was a poor pass that allowed Heath to tip and subsequently intercept the ball.
While Mo Claiborne struggled in the first half, eventually going off injured (both in pride and hamstring) his fellow defensive back Brandon Carr had a surprisingly dominant game. With Claiborne and then Tyler Patmon occupied with receiver Mike Evans, Carr was called to blitz and landed a thumping hit on Winston.
And as the Cowboys were about to place Gavin Escobar‘s face on milk cartons, the tight end even appeared for a reception. His first since Week Two.
Unfortunately for the Cowboys Dez, turnovers, Carr plays and Escobar receptions were simply a mirage of hope. The failure to convert trips to the redzone into touchdowns was again going to punish them.
The Buccaneers parked up at the Cowboys goal line and when Winston leaped in for the touchdown and fumbled, allowing Demarcus Lawrence to recover the ball it looked as though the two Dan Bailey field goals were enough for victory.
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But then the real Jeff Heath stood up; he was flagged on the play for defensive holding. The Winston fumble was written off and with a second bite of the apple this years number one draft pick scuttled his way into the endzone to give Tampa Bay victory.
Drops, missed field goals, failed tackles, poor play calling, bad attitude, injury plague- point the finger and place the blame where you like. This suicidal play by the Dallas Cowboys once again extends the heartache. Tony Romo’s return will be welcomed, but the purpose remains to be seen.