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Cowboys Scalp Redskins… Barely

Patrick Crayton TDSomehow the Dallas Cowboys were able to snatch a victory from the jaws of defeat and beat the Washington Redskins 7-6 on Sunday. Instead of a devastating loss, Romo and company came away with an unlikely win, and Cowboy Nation can now collectively exhale and relish the moment.

For almost four quarters, the Cowboys offense was held scoreless due mostly to an ineffective passing game that featured poorly executed passes, dropped balls and a poor job of running routes. On a day that the Cowboys finally got their running game going, the lack of balance with the passing game allowed Washington to keep Dallas at bay and control the tempo of the game.

Romo was clearly out of sync for most of the game, but somehow he eventually rediscovered his accuracy in the final minutes of the game and connected with Patrick Crayton for the game-winning touchdown. He completed 7-of-8 passes for 60 yards on the winning drive and kept several plays alive by steering clear of the Redskins pass rushers.

Offensively, there’s still a lot of work to be done and the Cowboys must find away to effectively get into the end zone more often if they want to compete with the other powerhouses in the league. In the last eight quarters the Cowboys have scored a total of two touchdowns.

Marion Barber (107 combined yds), Felix Jones (49 yds), Jason Witten (5/49) and Miles Austin (4/47) all contributed. Roy Williams was targeted five times, but had no catches. Nick Folk missed his only field goal attempt.

Defensively, the Cowboys kept the Redskins out of the end zone and thus kept the team in a position to comeback and win the game. Keith Brooking continues to shine and picked up the only sack of the day to go with 4 tackles and 4 assists. Orlando Scandrick had his moments and Bradie James was his usual awesome self. Overall, they were solid all day.

The Cowboys now have five days to get ready for their Thanksgiving Day matchup against the Oakland Raiders. Enjoy the turkey, eat your veggies, and save a piece of pumpkin pie for me.

No I in Team

Keith BrookingTeam effort and leadership, it’s been a while since we seen the Cowboys give off this aura winning. Many people who are not fans of Romo can tell he’s different this year. Keith Brooking has brought fire to this defense. Miles Austin has opened up the offense. Did I mention Romo is different this year? The Cowboys are playing like as a unit this year.

The trouble the Cowboys faced earlier this year, for the most part, has disappeared. Crayton getting demoted, he was ticked off. What does he do? Punt returned for a touchdown, two weeks in a row. Roy Williams going down to a rib injury, we have no number one receiver. Miles Austin comes out of nowhere and becomes the new Dallas deep threat. Roy Williams made us all fear that the ghost of T.O. was still in the locker room. He made a big to do about not getting the ball. Then he comes out the next game fired up and shook up the Eagles secondary, and opened up the offense.

There must be something in the Gatorade that the Cowboys are getting, because this team is gelling very well. They’re acting like a team. Hmm, for some reason that felt funny when I wrote it. But what is causing all of this? I would have to say the leadership.

Romo, Brooking, Ware and Witten; these four guys have this team fired up. Even in the two loses; Brooking and Romo still wanted 100% out of everyone playing.

Romo mention a couple of weeks ago that the team hasn’t found its identity yet. And he was right, the team didn’t have one. After loses to the Giants and Broncos many in the media, NFL fans and even all of us were thinking the same thing. This is the same underachieving team we’re used to. No leadership and a bunch of guys who just want to be in the NFL’s biggest spotlight. After the bye week the Cowboys changed that.

There is no I in this team. We have three halfbacks, five wideouts, two tight ends; all of them weapons. The defense that fell asleep the first four games woke up. Stopping 3rd downs, rushing the quarterback, and destroying the run. Did I mention they’re getting turnovers too?

Tony Romo

Right now, the team leader is maturing in front of our eyes. He has us all thinking playoffs and beyond at this point. The funny thing is, he’s not thinking about it. He’s thinking about how can we keep this thing rolling? Did we learn our lesson on these plays we got beat on? Are we a better team now then we were last week? He’s thinking like a leader.

Of course, the media will not let us forget that Romo is bad late in the season. We get it, three bad endings Tony can’t take back. But the way he’s team is playing right now, how much are you willing to bet it might change this year?

LET’S GO COWBOYS!!!

Weekly Game Balls: Week 9

Riding high on a four game winning streak feels pretty good, doesn’t it! What a great game last Sunday night, it was a perfect example of a team coming together for a victory against an intense rivalry. The teamwork executed by the Cowboys made it even harder to choose game balls this week. Of course, that’s a great problem to have. In the words of Coach Phillips, “Everybody made plays when the game was on the line.”

This week’s offensive game ball goes to Marion Barber.

Marion Barber only rushed 12 times for 50 yards, but the true reason he is receiving this week’s game ball is for what he did in the last offensive drive of the game.

According to a story told by Keith Brooking, Barber came up to the defensive players on the sidelines and said:

‘I got this, the last offensive series. Don’t you worry guys.’

He was telling his teammates that he was going to seal the deal. He knew they had worked hard and he was guaranteeing them their work was done and the win was secure.

Barber did as promised and ran three consecutive plays accumulating 23 yards.

Now that may not do anything for his fantasy ratings but in my book that makes him clutch.

Thanks for your hard work Barber!

Star50

This week’s defensive/special teams game ball goes to Jay Ratliff.

Can you say BEAST?

Jay Ratliff finished the day with 5 tackles and 2 sacks for losses of 17 yards.

I also enjoyed the story about him getting into it with Wade Phillips.

Wade Phillips told reporters a story from halftime…

“At halftime, we came in and he says, ‘My fault on the running game,’” Phillips recalled about Ratliff. “And I said, ‘No it isn’t your fault.’ He jumps back at me and said ‘ITS MY FAULT’ I said, ‘Ok it’s your fault.’ But he said he would get it corrected. And sure enough they had 16 yards rushing in the second half, so it wasn’t all his fault, he played some things different second half than he did in first half.”

Keep howling J-Rat!

Star50

Way to go to Barber and Ratliff!

Honorable Mention: Roy Williams with 5 catches and 75 yards, Gerald Sensabaugh with 6 tackles and an interception, and Mike Jenkins for just being awesome and making me shout ‘JENKS’ several times each game after he makes an amazing play.

Balancing It Out

Yes there was only 1 football on the field at a time, but from the way Dallas looked this week and the way Tony Romo spread the ball around it sure didn’t look like it. Dallas had Seattle confused from the very beginning on what their game plan was and that was to dominate.

Tony Romo went 21/36 for 256 yards and 3 touchdowns with NO interceptions. Miles Austin had 5 receptions for 61 yards rushed for 11 yards and had a touchdown. Sam Hurd had just one reception but it went for 35 yards and a touchdown. Roy Williams finally had his first touchdown as a Dallas Cowboy with 2 receptions for 19 yards. Patrick Crayton had 39 yards receiving and returned a punt for a touchdown for the second week in a row. Jason Witten, Felix Jones, Kevin Ogletree and Martellus Bennett all had receptions for over 100 total yards.

Marion “The Beast” Barber had only 14 rushing attempts but went for 53 yards and a touchdown. Felix Jones had 8 attempts and pounded out 39 yards. Tashard Choice got in on the action with 4 rushes for 11 yards. The offense went for a total of 26 first downs in the game, with 17 of those coming in the first half alone. 15 of those first downs by passing and 7 of them by rushing. Our third down efficiency was at 53% with a total of 362 net yards. Time of possession was an astounding 34:45

th_newman-1Keith Brooking continued to make his statement towards defensive player of the year with 8 tackles and forcing 1 sack. Demarcus Ware once again had a strong game with 2 tackles and a sack and Bobby Carpenter refused to be overlooked and got in with 3 tackles and a sack. Terence Newman and Bradie James both had good games each forcing a fumble that was recovered by Dallas. With a total of 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and only allowing 79 rushing yards by previous Dallas Cowboys RB Julius Jones, holding the Seattle offensive possession time to 25:15 and only 17 points, the defense made a statement once again.

You hear all this talk about what division is the toughest in the league. If you look at the numbers it is an easy decision to make. the NFC east is the only division in the league to have 3 teams with at least 5 wins on the season. With 5 out of the next 4 games being on the road you could make the argument that Dallas has the toughest schedule to finish out the season but with the way they are coming together on both offense and defense, bring on the competition.

Sunday night is going to be a true test for Dallas when we play Philly for first place in our division. After we win that game and silence all the critics we make our way north to Lambeau field for a battle against the Green Bay Packers before we come back home against our long time rivals (I cringe every time I even say their name) the STRUGGLING Washington Redskins.

Although we are looking very strong at home, we need to prove to not only ourselves but all the critics out there that we can win on the road. Once we win Sunday night and take over first place, then come home after winning in Green Bay with a 3 game winning streak, maybe, JUST MAYBE, everyone will see that this year DALLAS IS ON A MISSION!!!!!

LET’S GO BOYS!!!!!!!

Romo Spreads the Love As the Cowboys Win 38-17

Tony Romo and the Cowboys had an excellent outing at home against the Seahawks winning 38-17.

The defense and special teams looked outstanding and the offense used all of their weapons.

Touchdowns: Sam Hurd, Marion Barber, Roy Williams, Miles Austin, Patrick Crayton

Sacks: Keith Brooking, DeMarcus Ware, Bobby Carpenter

Patrick Crayton returned a punt for a touchdown for the second week in a row.

Outstanding play all around! How bout them Cowboys!

Marked on the Calendar

Keith BrookingKeith Brooking admitted when interviewed on Cowboy Insider, that he has had Sunday’s game against his former team of ten years, circled on his calendar since coming to Dallas. He thinks it will be a lot of fun, but at the end of day it isn’t about facing my old team, it is about us winning against a very good team. That is most important.

He added that he will prepare for the game, play confident and fly around and try to make plays to help the team win.<

Keith has only played on football team’s in the state of Georgia, from East Coweta High School in Senola GA, college football at Georgia Tech and then on to the Atlanta Falcons.

At age 34, moving to Dallas with his wife and two small children Ella and Logan has been refreshing. It is new and so far has been a lot of fun. Keith’s two children are in preschool, and have adjusted well to move.

The thing I noticed most in the interview was how dedicated he seemed to the team. He is by all means a team player. Bringing Brooking to Dallas is one of Wade Phillips best moves since becoming head coach. Brooking is a natural leader on and off the field. I think he has added a spark to the defense playing well with J-Ratt and Ware. He also is a veteran and can help develop young players. He has been to 5 Pro-Bowls and is working on heading to Hawaii this year the way he is playing.

I am quickly becoming a fan of #51!

It Was More Than A Win, It Was A Defining Moment

I felt every emotion that you could possibly feel during Sunday’s win over the Chiefs. I went from being embarrassed by all the penalties and disappointed by the bad plays, to being thrilled by Choice setting the pace for the offense that culminated in the exhilarating feeling of seeing Miles Austin make the game ending catch and sprint into the end zone.

Austin made me so proud and I’m so happy that we have such an emerging presence in the receiving corps. It looks like the Cowboys will be rewarded for sticking with him.

I saw some raw emotion from every player that played in the game. The team seemed to come together and believe in each other.

There was no finger pointing afterward, just a feeling of relief and accomplishment. At least for that day, they were a team in every sense of the word. A team that wanted the win and where determined to get it.

Players stepped up on special teams and on defense as well. Many of our players stepped up for the players that were struggling. One example being how Tashard Choice upped his performance while his teammate Marion Barber struggled. It seemed to set the tone for the rest of the game as many silent heroes followed his lead and shone brightly and stole the spotlight from the stars. Keith Brooking was a dominating presence on defense.

It’s wasn’t a well played game by any stretch of the imagination. We were expected to romp over a poor Chiefs team and instead it turned into a street brawl. We did everything you can do to give the game away. There were missed extra points, dropped touchdown passes, penalties on both sides of the ball, fumbles, etc. But somehow, the Cowboys dug down deep inside and they kept battling and struggling until finally being rewarded for their intense perseverance and boundless determination. It was something to behold and it’s been a while since we saw that kind of grit and heart on the gridiron.

The sheer exuberance of the moment came at the end when the team rushed to the end zone to celebrate and relish the moment with an exalted Miles Austin whose touchdown lifted the team’s spirit to an ultimate high. It really choked me up. It was the moment I had long been waiting for this season from this team.

In the last few years, the Cowboys have always started off strong only to fizzle away as the season drew to an end.

Maybe this year it will be different.

Maybe this year the Cowboys will only get stronger as the season wears on.

Maybe this year… the Cowboys will have saved their best for last.

Weekly Game Balls: Week 5

What a game. Should have not been as close as it was but a win is a win. We have seen some first and a record breaking day.

What a game! It should have not been as close as it was, but a win is a win. We witnessed some firsts and a record breaking day.

This week’s offensive game ball goes to Miles Austin.

This speedy wide receiver had a record breaking day with 250 yards on 10 catches with 2 game saving touchdowns.

His first score almost won the game for the Cowboys, but the one in overtime counted for the “W”.

Austin just might have earned his starting spot. Miles is the game breaking threat the Cowboys need.

He also could have had a few more touchdowns on the day. But he couldn’t secure a couple of throws from Tony.

Great job Miles Austin.

Star50

This week’s defensive/special teams game ball goes to Keith Brooking.

Brooking is the solid linebacker that was needed to compliment the defense.

Brooking finished the game with 8 solo tackles and helped on 3 more. He also recorded a sack on Matt Cassel. He came flying from up the middle to take him down.

With all the pressure the Cowboys gave the Chiefs on Sunday, Keith also had 4 QB hits.

His leadership speaks for itself. You can find the veteran linebacker running up and down the sidelines when he’s not on the field. He gets this team pumped up! It feels like Brooking has been a Cowboy all of his life.

Keep up the great work Keith Brooking!

Star50

Congratulations to Austin and Brooking for their great contribution to the overtime win.

Honorable Mention: DeMarcus Ware, Tony Romo, Jay Ratliff

Give Credit Where Credit Is Due

Yes ESPN, we fans realize the Cowboys just won against the struggling (now 0-3) Panthers. Carolina played a lot better than anyone expected, mostly in the first half.

Several guys stepped up in this game, so I’d like to give credit where credit is due.

I’m talking specifically about Patrick Crayton and Tashard Choice on offense. Crayton made several very crucial plays, and kept his head in the game, playing smart football all night long.

Choice, who I believe should have started the game, came away with 82 yards on 18 carries and one touchdown plus a 2-point conversion. If not for a bone-headed move by the rookie 3rd tight end, John Phillips, Choice probably would have had another TD. In addition, after the game he had a very impressive interview on the field with the ESPN analysts.

Defensively, Keith Brooking, Jay Ratliff and Terence Newman really excelled tonight. In the beginning Newman didn’t look so hot, missing tackles and looking foolish and aged. However, his interception for a 27-yard touchdown in the 4th quarter reminded us why we love him.

I must admit I am falling head over heels for Mr. Ratliff. Who would expect our nose tackle to get the first sack of the year? Why not when its the beast who is known as JRAT.

As for Brooking, what a wonderful acquisition for the Cowboys. Brooking, a strong, solid veteran linebacker, led the team in tackles tonight with five. It seemed like every time the defense came in, I found myself cheering his name.

Special teams also deserves some props. It’s been way too long since we could say that. Well done Coach Joe DeCamillis, well done sir.

I just wanted to rant about ESPN for a minute, and say that despite the opponent – I am proud of this team and what they did tonight. I believe it was a well-deserved win and they worked hard to earn that “W”.

Then again, I am just an optimistic, biased Cowboys fan. ;)

BIG “D” Issues For the Cowboys

With all the talk so far this offseason surrounding Mr. Owens, and with free agency starting at the end of this week and the draft right around the corner we need to talk about some big issues surrounding the boys defense.

First, Demarcus Ware, all signs are Jerry is going to break the bank and make him the highest payed cowboy in team history, this is by far the most important move we need to make and would solidify our pass rush for years to come.

On the other side should we let Ellis go? He scheduled to make over $6 million next year for just a 3rd down pass rusher, thats pretty steep! Unless he wanted to take a significant pay cut and less playing time, I just dont see this happening.

Which brings me to Anthony Spencer. Is he ready to play every down and live up to his draft position? He may have the skills, he just scares me. His recent arrest, and if you watched Hard Knocks, remember he didn’t show for a treatment on an injury and was fined by Wade. These things make me wonder if he’s mature enough to step up and take the position fulltime.

Now lets talk about our unrestricted free agents: Canty, Burnett, and Thomas. Canty would be painful to lose. He has been a solid force on the D-line, but the contract he is looking for might be too rich for our shrinking cap space, which leaves us either starting Jason Hatcher or Stephen Bowen. I think Hatcher would fit well he has showed me some promise in his playing time.

If Thomas and Burnett leave in free agency it would leave the biggest hole in our defense. Basically, it would leave Bobby Carpenter to play next to Bradie James. I dont know your thoughts but thats a frightening thought in my eyes. We all know Ray Lewis is out there and he has said he wants to play in Dallas, but can Jerry afford him?

After D-Ware signs I’m not so sure. Another guy that might be more affordable is Keith Brooking who is suppose to be being released by Atlanta before Friday.

The secondary has potential to be above average. T-New is solid when healthy, but thats the question can he stay healthy? As much as I love the way Roy Williams plays the run and the hits he lays, he just plain stinks in pass coverage. Like Ellis, he is scheduled to make over $6 million this year and might be cut prior to the start of free agency. Its either that or him restructuring to take a major paycut which I don’t see happening either.

My thought was to bulk him up and try him in that middle linebacker spot. I don’t think that’s too far fetched. He is made to hit and I’m surprised I haven’t heard anything like that. If he goes, who is playing strong safety? 

I don’t believe Pat Watkins is ready to step in there so I’d say move Anthony Henry to safety and let Scandrick and Jenkins compete for the corner. My vote, from what I’ve seen, is Scandrick. He just showed me way more last year than Jenkins did. One thing is for certain, count on the Cowboys picking up more corners and safeties in the draft and even free agency.

I want to hear your thoughts Cowboy fans.