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Playing Not To Lose Instead Of Playing To WIN!!!

Yesterdays loss against the Steelers hurts. It hurts on so many levels. The Defense was outstanding. I have never been prouder than what the defense did yesterday. They dominated the whole game but the defense can’t do it all folks. They are not at that level yet. The Steelers did not impress me at all. Thats why it’s so hard to take this loss and I take it personal. 

The loss yesterday felt worse to me than the loss to the Giants in the playoffs last year. Going into the 4rth quarter, I had all but started celebrating going 9-4 into the Giants game this coming week. So where did it all go wrong? Was it when Newman got burned on that 47 yard pass to Holmes? Or was it early in the 3rd quarter when Romo had Williams open in the end zone but didnt see him until it was too late? No, it was none of those individual plays. We lost the game midway through the 3rd quarter. Garrett started calling plays to try and run out the clock instead of stabbing the wounded Steelers in the heart and going for the kill. Ever heard the saying, “Play not to lose the game instead of playing to win?” Well thats where we lost the game yesterday. We fell right into that situation.

Last year people would say that the Dallas Cowboys lacked that killer instinct to close out games. We never go for the knock out punch. Thats what is exactley is wrong with Wade Phillips and Jason Garrett. They will never calls plays to slit the throat of a wounded horse. Thats why these Dallas Cowboys are called soft. Thats why Aikman reiterated to all Cowboy fans in the land that this team wasnt tough up until today.  Don’t get me wrong guys, the Cowboys defense play outstanding as I stated before. I give them an A + to the tenth power for their gutsy performance yesterday at Heinz field. The Steelers simply stole one from us or we gave it to them. The Steelers did not out perform the Boys yesterday. The offense just self destructed. The conservative play calling going late into the 3rd quarter is what lost us the game. Garrett, for all his wisdom, decided that 10 points was enough to put away the Steelers leading 13-3 going into the 3rd. We were moving the ball with ease at the begining of the 3rd quarter and scored 10 unanswered points. Then it all went to crap.

I can sit here all night and write that we should of done this and we should of done that but in the end, its not gonna change the fact that we lost that game yesterday. Wade Phillips style of head coaching is too soft, too gentle. Garrett’s sometime questionable play-calling comes into question as well. It makes you wonder if Ernie Zampese didn’t rub off on Garrett too much in the 90’s. Garrett has to understand that Romo is no Aikman and Choice is no Emmitt. Different players and different styles. We lost cause we relaxed. We lost because the defense was out there way too much. I dont blame Romo for yesterdays loss. I dont blame any single one player as well. I blame the head coaching and the offensive coaching style for yesterday’s loss. We lack the killer punch out. We lack that killer instinct. By all accounts we should be 9-4 right now.  The great Emmitt Smith as well called this team mediocre this past week. The way the offense played yesterday looks like Phillips and Garrett ate those words.    

Cowboys’ – Bengals’…. Where is That Killer Instinct?

Good Afternoon Cowboys’ Fans:

As we close the book on the game with the Cincinnati Bengals and a 31-22 victory yesterday, I can sum this game up by saying, “complacent, somewhat lethargic, and often just down right sloppy”. I don’t know if the Cowboys were still “hung over” from the loss to the Redskins or not, but this team is experiencing some mental issues right now that I am not sure a good “shrink” would have the answers. They have lost “that killer instinct”!!

When the Cowboys jumped out to an early 17-0 lead, I felt the game was going just as planned against a Bengals team the boys were supposed to beat easily. Suddenly it seemed the Cowboys let their foot off the gas and began to coast. Before they could speed up again, it was 14 minutes to go in the game and the Cowboy’s lead had shrunk to 17-16. It was only then that Marcus Spears forced a Chris Perry fumble and the Cowboys’ came back to life. Romo connected with T.O. on a 57 yd touchdown pass and the game seemed to be in hand.

 I was happy to see the running game return with MB3 and Felix Jones, and the defense played very well. I was very disappointed we lacked intensity in other areas i.e. special teams and QB play.

I became extremely concerned in the third quarter with Tony Romo as I think everyone in Texas Stadium could sense he had gotten so down on himself that it really affected his play and mentally he had taken himself completely out of the game. I just think Tony is “beating himself up” over his turnover situation so far this season to the point it is actually affecting the way he releases the ball. I felt yesterday that at times he was almost unsure about throwing the ball in fear he will throw another interception. That was not the normal Romo that is usually all smiles and loving to play the game as he finished with a very uncharacteristic season low of 14-23 for 176 yds and three touchdowns.

Possibly we can look upon this victory and the lack of intensity by the Cowboys was due to playing the 0-4 Bengals? What concerns me though is if that is the case, the Cowboys have to get back to the basics again.

To play on words; “When you have a wounded animal backed into a corner like the Bengals were, you have to go in for the kill.” The Cowboys have a relatively difficult test Sunday on the road against the Cardinals and then two games that would seem to be easy tests against the Rams in St. Louis and Tampa Bay at home. These games are a chance to gain back that momentum. A momentum and they must have in 4 weeks when they travel to the Meadowlands for their first match up with the “G-men”.

I am in no way down our team or feel that this team is not still the best in the NFL. I think they just need to do some soul searching and come back to that determination and intensity that they had at the beginning of the season. They need to get back that “killer instinct”!!!