From the Armchair: Dallas Cowboys, Week 12
For the offense, it's apparently something like, "Go out, put up a few points, then take a quarter or two off and enjoy one of the many amenities Jerry Jones provides to the "talent" he personally discovers, scouts, and overpays."
For the Dallas defense, I think the philosophy is simply, "Try not to suck too much."
This revelation came to me during the Cowboys' week 12 game against the Giants when the offense sat on a 21-6 lead long enough to see the Giants tie it with less than five minutes left in the game, and the Dallas defense…umm…stiffened enough to hold the Giants under 400 total yards.
After the ass-kicking Dallas took from the Saints two weeks ago, the Cowboys emerged from their bye week preaching "balance" on offense. However, through 55 minutes, the "balanced" Cowboys offense could only muster 14 points (the other seven came on a defensive fumble return in the 1st quarter).
Tony Romo had his usual, good but not great game, going 23 for 38 with one INT. And, while Romo spent the day forcing the ball to TE Jason Witten and WR Dez Bryant (targeting the pair for 23 of his 38 pass attempts), the offense balanced things out by running the ball 17 times. While this was a small increase over their norm, it was still agonizing as, while the offense was struggling to throw the ball downfield against the Giants, DeMarco Murray and Lance Dunbar were both averaging over six yards a carry when they were given the rare opportunity to run.
On the defensive side, the Cowboys did give up 21 point to the Giants, including 15 straight points late in the game that allowed New York to tie the game. However, Jeff Heath's fumble return gave Dallas seven badly needed points on a day when the offense was as cold as the New Jersey climate and the defense at least provided the team a chance to win the game.
And, with the game tied at 21 with 4:55 left, Romo and Dallas offense woke up from their typical mid-game nap to do just that, marching down the field for a game-winning Dan Bailey field goal as time ran out.
Overall, an ugly win for Dallas, but it keeps them tied with the Eagles atop the NFC Easy (sic) at an extremely mediocre 6-5. Next up the traditional turkey day game against the reeling Raiders.