From the Armchair: Dallas Cowboys, Week 5
Had anyone told me that Denver would put up 51 points while beating the Cowboys this week, I would've had no problem believing it. Had someone also told me Dallas would ring up 48 points and have a chance to win the game with under three minutes left, I would have laughed in their face. But it really happened, in what was one of the most entertaining NFL games I've watched in some time.
Lots to talk about on both sides of the ball today but, in my view, it ultimately came down to turnovers. Denver's one fumble and one interception were the only possessions in which they didn't score. In other words, Broncos punter Britton Colquitt never punted and only got on the field for Matt Prater's extra points and field goals.
However the most crucial turnover was Tony Romo's interception 2:04 left that gave Denver the ball on the Dallas 24. The Broncos ultimately moved the ball to the 2, killed the time remaining, and won it with a Prater field goal as time ran out.
Thanks to an almost seven minute opening drive, the Cowboys went up 7 to open the game. That Denver fumble on their opening possession allowed Dallas to go up by 14 before the game was 12 minutes old. That would be the last the Cowboys would see of the end zone in the first half, as the 'Boys could muster only two Dan Bailey field goals while Denver rumbled for 28 points. At this point, I'm thinking that, as we've seen in earlier games this season, the Dallas offense had put on their show for one quarter and that was it for the day. Migod was I wrong!
The second half was just dizzying, as it seemed neither defense bothered to come back out after halftime. For the Cowboys, it seemed the field suddenly opened up and Romo had no trouble connecting at will with receivers across the middle. Jason Witten and Dez Bryant both had 10 grabs (highlighted by the latter's 79 yard TD) and rookie Terrence Williams also had four catches for 151 yards, including an 82 yard TD.
The Dallas run game was once again an afterthought, as DeMarco Murray had but 12 carries. However, that didn't matter too much on this day, when Tony Romo was busy throwing for a career high 506 yards.
The defense? Well, what can I say? The Dallas D performed like just about every other defense has against the Broncos this year, which is to say they sucked! They didn't have much luck getting to Peyton Manning (few have), nor did they manage to slow down the Manning and Denver offense (few have). They did, however, slow down the Broncos in the 2nd half just a bit, making a few 3rd down stops to force field goals instead of allowing touchdowns.
Overall, though it's been average most of the year, Dallas finally managed to display the offensive firepower everyone expected from them at the start of the season. On the other side of the ball, the defense again showed plenty of holes and the high point of its season, those six takeaways against the Giants in week 1, become less impressive with each New York loss.
Finally, while many critics will point to Romo's critical interception last as another example of his lack of crunch time performance, the man threw for 506 yards today. Is he in Peytons Manning's class as QB? Not by a long shot. Is he the reason why the Cowboys lost today, also not by a long shot.
Its hard to be unhappy with loss like today for the Cowboys. The defense is obviously a concern but, then again, Denver has made every D they've played this look bad, so it's difficult to judge the Dallas defense too harshly today. And if the offense can keep performing at this level (and the NFC Easy (sic) continues to suck) the Cowboys can still win plenty of games this year.
Up next week, it's RG3 and the Washington Redskins. Stay tuned, there might be another shootout ahead!