Could it be that we’re in for another nail-biting season finale? But of course we are, this is the Dallas Cowboys.
Long gone are the days of dominance held by the Trio of Aikman, Smith, and Irvin. Instead we have Romo, Murray, and Bryant and it’s not always the stuff of Champions that this new trio brings onto the field.
You get clutch fumbles on the ground, gut-wrenching interceptions when we’re already playing from behind, and key drops and missed routes when we have a shot to lock it up for the win. But this time around may be different for these ‘Boys.
Mr. November has almost made an art form out of close second place finishes in his aging tenure here at The Ranch, and no I’m not going to get into the numbers. Football isn’t about the numbers anymore. It’s not about stats and figures written on some sports statisticians note pad and it hasn’t been for a long time. If that were all it’s about then Romo would be leading the fiercest team in all of football with his stats and that of DeMarcus Ware, Jason Witten, and even the young DeMarco Murray.
Tony Romo didn’t live up to his “Mr. November” moniker this year. In fact, he all but shot it dead and left it to rot forever. This team has had its share of injuries and bad beats this year, like many before, but Romo himself just didn’t play the way we all have come to expect him to play in November.
His errant throws were massively increased, plus the interceptions. His TD’s were few and far between if not fought for tooth and nail. His awareness on the field left him all too aware of the texture on the ceiling, and his play certainly seems to have infected the stars around him.
But what I find most compelling this year over years passed is that while he tarnished his good name for the third quarter of the season, he is on a track to right the ship for December – the all too important final stretch of every season that this team has lacked the ability to close. This Cowboys team has momentum building at the right time of year for the first time in over a decade, almost two actually.
Sure the loss to the Saints hurt. It was the third game to be decided by 3 points in as many weeks, and the second to go into overtime for the kick. It was against a team that we all knew going in would be a challenge not because of their stunning defense, because the Saints don’t have that, but because they still have Drew Brees and he’s a pistol with a football in his hand. Even still, we fought back to a tie to force it into overtime and give us a chance for victory.
Was it too little, too late? Yes. But it was a great learning experience for what lies ahead in week 17 against the Redskins.
You will not win if you don’t pressure the quarterback! And RGIII is anything but an exception.
That’s what all our hopes come down to this year, beating Washington next Sunday night. And oh yes, it’s been flexed to the Sunday Night Football game due to its hefty playoff implications. The winner of the game will win the NFC East Division title and lock up one playoff contest.
We learned in the first outing against the Redskins that all this hype about RGIII isn’t just overblown excitement. It’s the real deal and so is Robert Griffin III.
Look for Coach Ryan to step up the pressure with Ware and Anthony Spencer to force an errant throw from RGIII. Expect more of the same by way of play calling from Coach Garrett as he’s been able to limit offensive mistakes by sticking to what works more often than not lately.
But also look for another slow start from the trio as they seem to need the first half to experiment and get comfortable with the game tempo and planning before they really get anything done. And with any luck, we won’t be playing from two scores down before the end of the first half leaving Romo feeling like he has to take something that just isn’t there to be had.
Let’s go Cowboys!