From the Armchair: Dallas Cowboys, Week 10
But oh, what a first half it was! The good news was the Cowboys remembered they had a running game and racked up 80 yards on the ground in the first half. The bad news was that 80 yards on the ground was four times what the Dallas offense gained through air, as Tony Romo went a pathetic 3 for 9 in the first half for a whopping 20 yards. I'll say that again: Two quarters, 20 yards passing. Yet somehow, Dallas only trailed 14-10 with less than two minutes left in the half. That is, until the Cowboys allowed not one, but two New Orleans touchdowns to create a 28-10 halftime deficit that was as close as Dallas got the rest of the game.
Offensively, things got much better for the Cowboys in the second half. Just kidding! Dallas sucked as much in the second half as they did in the first. Romo went 7 for 15 in the second half and finally managed to connect with Dez Bryant for his only catch of the night with 1:12 left in the third quarter. That was just one of three passes caught by Dallas' wideouts on the night, as New Orleans kept Bryant double teamed while simultaneously keeping pressure on Romo all night, to the point that the QB seemed to check down to his third or fourth read on every play. Oh yea, things were back to "normal" in the run game in the second half, as the 'Boys managed only nine yard on the ground while trying to play catch up.
Defensively, things should have been better. DeMarcus Ware was back in the lineup that has shown itself, at times, to be at least serviceable. However, Ware didn't seem to be 100 percent and, when linebacker Sean Lee went out with a hamstring injury, what remained of the Cowboys defense was outmanned, outgunned and overmatched.
Another thing to note in this game was that the Cowboy's pathetic offensive showing was, in part due to the New Orlenas defense led by defensive coordinator Rob Ryan who, as some of you may recall, was fired last January as the Cowboys' DC. That Jerry Jones sure knew what he was doing, as the Cowboys D gave up a franchise record of 625 yards on the night. That number topped the previous franchise high for yards allowed set by the Lions against the Cowboys…just two weeks ago. Yea, it was obviously all Rob Ryan's fault. Oh yea, it also bears mentioning that the Dallas defense allowed another record tonight by allowing the Saints 40 first downs, which is an NFL single game record.
So what do we take from this embarrassment? Well, let's see…it's again obvious that shutting down Dez Bryant can pretty much shut down the Dallas offense and all its other weapons. That, and the defense, though hampered by injuries, pretty much sucks overall.
Tonight's loss was the most lopsided defeat in Jason Garrett's head coaching career and, through 3+ seasons, he's still a .500 coach. And, though Jerry Jones' stated goal is to "make the tournament and hope to get hot," even if the Cowboys somehow do win the pathetic NFC Easy (sic), they still have yet to beat a team with a winning record and I don't see this squad with the ability to beat a quality opponent, even if they do get "hot."
Next week for the Cowboys, it's the bye week. Hopefully, they can heal some injuries and figure out how to beat a team with a winning record before the homestretch of their season, which resumes with Oakland on Nov. 24. If they can't get things fixed during their bye week, it'll be bye-bye to whatever chances this 5-5 team has to salvage this season.