The Dallas Cowboys cannot be blamed for wondering “what if?’’ But no, not “what if we would’ve beaten the Packers and then beaten the Falcons and then advanced to the Super Bowl against the Patriots?’’
This “what if’’ is a simple philosophical regret from Green Bay 34, Dallas 31 in their playoff game a week ago: Dallas fell behind 21-3 in its final game … and stayed behind, for the most part, because it didn’t ride Ezekiel Elliott. That early deficit is being given by some as the reason they didn’t “stick with the run” more, in the form of more than 22 carries for Elliott.
But the point is being missed. The score was 0-0 when Dallas first decided to not “stick with it,” as on third-and-2 within field-goal range when they let Dak Prescott throw downfield into coverage for an … Read More »
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — My old friend Michael Irvin issued the statement a couple of weeks ago as his beloved Dallas Cowboys were preparing to reel off a win streak that would reach 11 by the time we got to Sunday night in New York.
The Cowboys, “The Playmaker” theorized, might actually benefit by a loss. His logic: A loss would re-ground the team, cause it to re-focus, give it some scar tissue.
Me? Losses are bad. They cost a playoff-bound team seeding position, bye weeks, home-field advantage…
But now Dallas has indeed lost, 10–7 to the Giants. And even if you did not subscribe to Irvin’s theory before… you might as well join Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott in buying into it now.
Why? Because as you deal with the realities of slipping to 11–2, you have no other choice. “I think it’s … Read More »
As the Dallas Cowboys trudged up the post-win tunnel last Thursday in Minnesota, largely too tired to truly celebrate after recording three wins in 12 days, one Cowboy noted, “We’re in the playoffs, baby!”
If that was meant as a prediction, he was right; On Sunday, the Cowboys became the first team to clinch an NFL playoff berth.
The NFC East-leading Cowboys did the 11-1 part themselves (the best record in the NFL), and it provides Dallas with the inside track to a first-round bye, to home-field edge throughout the playoffs, and maybe to an uncatchable regular-season mark that can help ease the path to the Super Bowl.
The bit of Sunday help was provided by Arizona, which handed a 31-23 loss to the Redskins, dropping Washington to 6-5-1.
The Cowboys we’re also afforded the luxury of sitting home and watching NFC East rivals … Read More »
ARLINGTON – It’s a classic cliche that is often applied to a Dallas-Washington meeting: “Throw the records out the window!’’ But in fact, in the history of this epic NFL series, team records are actually very predictive. To wit, coming into last Thursday’s Thanksgiving meeting at AT&T Stadium:
*When it’s the Redskins with a winning record, the Redskins are 23-10
*When it’s both teams with the same records, the series is 14-16-1
*When it’s the Cowboys with a winning record, the Cowboys are 28-17-1
And as Dallas came into the game 9-1 … guess what happened?
“’It’s a helluva ride,’’ Dallas defensive back Orlando Scandrick to me after the Cowboys’ 31-26 win. ‘And it’s just now beginning!’ Dallas is on quite a roll, with its two rookie MVP candidates taking lead roles. QB Dak Prescott accounted for two touchdowns and running back Ezekiel Elliott ran … Read More »
PITTSBURGH – Sunday’s thrilling 35-30 comeback victory against the Steelers at Heinz Field wasn’t about any of the storylines Cowboys critics continue to manufacture. Investigating Zeke? Puppet Garrett? Pouting Romo? Meddling Jerry? Deztractions?
Those aren’t the real stories.
“How our team responded in the latter part of the game is indicative of what they’re all about, the kind of people we have on our team, the mental toughness they have, the poise and composure,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said after a game won because Dallas somehow scored twice in the final two minutes in this hostile environment. “Our ability to execute when we had to was obviously critical to the outcome.”
Rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott was a centerpiece of that as he scored on 32-yard run with nine seconds left to essential seal the deal. Zeke rushed for two TDs and scored … Read More »
LANDOVER, MD – The Cowboys rallied to beat the Redskins 27-23 on Sunday with but a single glaring flaw — and optimists can cling hopefully to the notion that this flaw might never again be so exposed. “Whenever the ball is in my hand, it’s my responsibility to protect it,” said Ezekiel Elliott, the rookie running back who fumbled twice (losing one) to keep this NFC East duel all-too-close. “It’s on me.”
It was “on” Zeke’s backup however, veteran Alfred Morris, to provide the final margin of victory on a four-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter against his former Redskins mates. And now some critics will wonder if Morris (five carries for seven yards) should supplant Elliott (83 yards on 21 carries with a TD) as a starter. You held your breath through Zeke’s dropsies. But don’t hold your breath … Read More »
IRVING – I have a saying about the NFL: “It’s an 8-8 league.’’ As the result of institutionalized parity, the NFL will annually see about two-thirds of its teams finish within two games of .500, one way or another. Then there will be a handful of truly “good’’ teams and a handful of truly “bad’’ teams…but the muddy, muddled middle will occupy the majority of the standings.
Las Vegas gets me.
The odds on over under wins for the 2016 NFL season are now out and there are just five teams predicted to win more than 10.5 games — and that group does not include your Dallas Cowboys. Carolina, Green Bay, New England, Pittsburgh and Seattle are your five “goods.’’
The defending Super Bowl champions in Denver are given an over-under of nine wins for the 2016 regular season. The group given an … Read More »
IRVING – The narrative that will not die: Jerry Jones runs the Dallas Cowboys personnel department in a way that reflects his fondness for shiny toys and his background as an oil-and-gas wildcatter. In reflecting on a trio of Dallas’ most notable selections in this weekend’s NFL Draft, the narrative will not die…because there is some truth in it.
Ezekiel Elliott in the first round, Jaylon Smith in the second round and then, all the way down to the sixth round, Rico Gathers, are all Cowboys for an assortment of different reasons. And those reasons go well beyond the fact that each of them is a heck of a story. But there is a Jerry-related thread that runs through all three tales.
Elliott plays running back. He was the No. 1 guy on Dallas’ board, justification enough to select the Ohio State … Read More »
Former NFL player Will Smith, 34, is dead after a Saturday night car accident in New Orleans. But the car wreck didn’t kill him; another motorist did that, with a handgun, following their collision…in an apparent case of what we’ve come to call “road rage.’’
Yeah, it’s so commonplace that we have an alliterative nickname for it. Indeed, when New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu reflected on the death of Smith, who helped the Saints win Super Bowl XLIV, he said he was “shocked and saddened.’’
But in truth, aren’t we far more “saddened’’ than “shocked’’?
I’m not interested in offering a screed against gun ownership. Nor am I interested in offering a screed against gun control. “Gun safety’’ is something we can all agree upon, I am sure, as “gun safety’’ is a concept that can be valued by both those who point … Read More »
One and zero. Those are my numbers on the Super Bowl square sheet. Not bad right? I mean 21-10 seems like a reasonable possibility. Just one problem, though – Denver would need to have the 21 and Carolina the 10 – and I don’t see that happening. I would like it to happen, in fact I would like it to be the score at the end of every quarter. But the truth is I don’t really care who wins the game – and I hate that. I want to care.
It seems that the further removed the Cowboys get from this game, the less interested I become in it. Someone asked the other day, “who you got in the Super Bowl?” I did not have an answer for him. Six days out and I had not really thought about it. Since … Read More »