Is there anything more glorious than waking up the day after a win and watching/hearing the critics eat crow?
ESPN should have felt ashamed on Sunday morning, after tearing into Roy Williams all week about “guaranteeing a win,” even though those words never left his mouth.
What I would have given to see the look on Tony Dungy’s face when he heard Tony Romo say that his incredibly foolish “no chance” comment inspired Dallas to come out with both barrels blazing at the Superdome last night.
‘Tis the season.
Saturday’s win over the 13-0 Saints marked the second time since 2006 that the Cowboys have beaten a heavily favored undefeated team. The other instance came in 2006 when Dallas thrashed the high flying 9-0 Indianapolis Colts.
As the saying goes, “that’s why they play the games.”
December woes can no longer be pinned on Tony Romo, who has played arguably the most consistent football of his career over the past four weeks. The man has not thrown an interception since November 22 against the Washington Redskins, a game which the Cowboys won. He also has not thrown more than one interception in a game since week two against the Giants. Romo is playing error-free football during the point of the season that matters the most for a playoff hopeful team.
As we saw on Saturday, the running game is also starting to emerge during the month in which running the ball wins games. The rushing attack has been inconsistent all season, and with three capable running backs in the Cowboys’ stable, there is simply no excuse to have a lackadaisical running game. Grinding it out on the ground will be the key to victory in the next two weeks against division foes.
On the other side of the ball the Cowboys have played hard-nosed defense at a level that has gone without praise for most of the season. The play in the secondary has been consistent for the first time in years, even with the injury to Ken Hamlin. Mike Jenkins has emerged as a Pro Bowl caliber cornerback, and defenses are starting to realize that throwing away from Terence Newman is not a viable strategy anymore. Anthony Spencer has finally emerged as a pass rushing threat opposite Demarcus Ware, and Keith Brooking has solidified the inside linebacker spot with outstanding play. Jay Ratliff is also having a Pro Bowl season, and with the play of Igor Olshansky, the ‘Boys are not regretting their decision to let the Giants overpay Chris Canty.
Up until a few weeks ago, special teams was also playing at a very high level. With the unfortunate erosion of Nick Folk, the best Cowboys fans can do is cross their fingers and hope Shaun Suisham can kick well until another viable option becomes available.
Don’t count ’em out just yet Cowboys fans. As we have seen in past years, the team that plays their best ball in December has the most success in the playoffs. If the things we all saw on Saturday night are any indication of the brand of football the Cowboys plan to play for the rest of the season, they have a great shot.