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Weekly Game Balls: Week 13

Unfortunately I’ve had to say this before, sometimes its hard to choose players worthy of game balls after such a devastating loss. This week the offensive game ball was a given but the defensive game ball took some thought.

This week’s offensive game ball goes to Jason Witten.

Jason Witten never fails us. Even though it had seemed he had slowed down for a few games, Witten excelled during his second consecutive 100+ yard game.

Witten had a career day last Sunday in New York. Not only did he catch his 500th catch for the Cowboys but his 14 receptions for 156 yards also set a career high for the veteran tight end. He has also moved up to second place behind Michael Irvin in Dallas receiving of all time. That’s pretty impressive!

The Cowboys didn’t come away with the win on Sunday, but this wasn’t due to lack of performance from Mr. Clutch by any means.

Way to go Witten!

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

As stated above, this was a tough decision and not for a good reason this time.

However, the only defensive play that stood out and made a difference was Ratliff’s forced fumble and recovery.

The play lead to the first touchdown during the second quarter. I won’t go into what happened after that, but at the time Ratliff created a game-changer and for that he deserves props.

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Way to go to Witten and Ratliff!

Honorable Mention: Tony Romo ( 41-55, 392 yards, 3 TDs – a career/franchise high in receptions), DeMarcus Ware (lead the team in tackles and had the one and only sack)

Oh No, Not Again

New York GiantsLast Sunday game against the Giants was another rerun, one that has played over and over again in recent years. I have talked about it before, and sadly it seems I will be talking about it for a while still.

Watching the game, I remember being extremely happy that we scored on a great touchdown catch by Roy Williams, I was ecstatic. Up 10-0, looking as if we would be able to beat the Giants with less than 2 minutes before halftime and we had been doing a good job on shutting down the Giants. Then it happened. The defense let them go down and score pretty easily.

I ran upstairs to check on my son and came back down and see we are losing 14-10. I thought, what in the world happened!?

Come to find out, Marion Barber had fumbled the ball back to the Giants. Then I seen the replay of Brandon Jacobs running for a 74-yard touchdown. I was in shock, to say the least!

All of my dreams of beating the Giants were being shattered. Then it gets worse. We let them run back a punt for a touchdown. That’s when it really became a nightmare.

So continues the talk of how we can’t win a game in December. We definitely have to do something to stop this pattern.

We have the Chargers coming up and then the almighty, undefeated Saints. The Cowboys really need to figure out how to win in December or else we will be left sitting at home watching the Eagles win the division and head to playoffs.

Inconsistency Is Killing Me

Mad, Frustrated, Depressed you name it that’s how I am feeling.  I am so sick and tired of watching a different team every week.  This is a frustration blog and I NEED to get it out.  Week in and week out the Cowboys play different.  One week, a GREAT game, flawless and the next they look like my old high school team could beat them.

What is the problem you may ask?  Well ya know what, I am asking that same question.  WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?????  The Cowboys have 3 of the best running backs in the league, the BEST tight end in the league, and a top 10 quarterback in the league.  Why can’t they move the ball down the field like they should?

This last Sunday Romo sat down with hall of famer Michael Irvin for a one on one conversation. Unfortunately, due to work, I was only able to catch bits and pieces of it.  One thing I did hear Michael Irvin ask Romo was:

“What makes the team this year different from last year?”

Romo said, “When we lose, no one points the finger at one person or another, they look at themselves and say, what can I do to make this team better?”

Yes that is the answer that every fan out there wants to hear. But on top of that, we all want to SEE that happen.  We want to see this team IMPROVE from week to week.  Honestly, I think discipline is a major factor in the locker room, on the practice field and during games.  While I am watching a game and lets say a penalty happens, heads hang down.  No one gets mad and screams and hollers at anyone for causing the team 5, 10, 15 or more yards. COME ON!!!! Someone get mad, someone scream, someone put fire into this team, IT IS EXACTLY WHAT WE NEED!!!!!!

I have been a Cowboys fan ever since I was a little boy sitting in front of the TV with my dad.  Over 30 years and I am not ever going to change that, but it is about time the team changes how they play before other fans out there decide that “Amercia’s Team” is not so hot afterall. Screw the December hex, screw the critics, screw the haters, PLAY SOME SERIOUS BALL!!!!!!!!!!

Chemistry Is A Great Thing

Unfortunately, I have not been able to get to my blog this week until now. But I feel with the win we had last week, I have to write something. I am on cloud 9 right now. Our Dallas Cowboys are finally looking like they care. Like they know they have the pieces in place to win a championship. Yes, you and I have all known this for a few years now, but I really believe it is starting to sink in to them. With that said, what a great game it was last Sunday.

Once again Tony Romo had a great performance going 21/34 for 307 yards 1 touchdown and 1 interception. Even with all the talk about Roy Williams and how his chemistry with Romo was not there yet, in my opinion he had his best game yet catching 5 passes for 75 total yards. Patrick Crayton stepped up and had 2 receptions for 74 yards. Jason Whitten had the biggest catch of the game in the fourth quarter with 2 minutes to go giving Dallas a first down and solidifying the win, but finishing the day with 7 catches for 43 yards. Miles Austin once again made a strong statement as to who the real number one receiver is by catching only one pass but taking it 49 yards for what turned out to be a game winning touchdown. Ogletree, Barber and Choice all combined for a total of 6 catches for 66 total yards. Once again proving that the chemistry is not only there with Roy; but with the whole team.

We did not have our best running game with only 23 rushes for a total of 76 yards and one touchdown (by Tashard Choice)  averaging only 3.3 yards per carry and 2 tackles lost for 5 yards. Our 3rd down efficiency was not our best but not our worst going 7/15 at 46%. We finished the day with 61 total plays (including the 4 sacks for 25 yards) averaging 5.9 yards per play for a total of 358 net yards. In my opinion, an all in all a good performance.

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Once again our defense stepped up and had an outstanding performance. I wrote an article a few weeks back about our defense and the plan that our head coach Wade Phillips had for them and how he would give his expert opinion on things that needed to be done to improve the defense. Well, it turns out that Wade Phillips might actually know a thing or 2 about defense in the NFL. Although Demarcus Ware did not get a sack in this game, his presence alone made the Eagles think twice about what they wanted to do. He had 3 tackles and assisted on another. Jay Ratliff lead the team with 2 sacks and 5 tackles while Victor Butler had a sack and tackle himself.

Everyone talked about last season how our corners and safety’s always got beat deep and if anyone wanted to beat the Cowboys just go deep. Well our secondary has proven to everyone, THAT IS NOT TRUE!!!!!!! Terence Newman was once again a shut down CB that had a total of 4 tackles. On the other side of the field Mike Jenkins stepped up and had 2 tackles and one interception.  But the defensive performer of the day was our SS Gerald Sensabaugh with a total of 6 tackles and an interception.

Our defense held the Eagles to 4/12 3rd down attempts keeping it at only 33%. Stopping them on a critical 4th and inches play and taking over on downs. Our defends held them to 3.7 yards per rushing attempt and only 5.2 average yards per offensive play keeping them under 300 total yards of offense on the day.  Time of possession was pretty close throughout the game with the Cowboys having the edge at 31:44 to the Eagles 28:16. At the end of the day, the better team won. What do you say we go into Green Bay this week and continue our winning streak and come back home on a high note!

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!

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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.

Weekly Game Balls: Week 7

How ’bout them Cowboys! Huge win for our boys in blue and silver last Sunday.This win might be a sign of things to come.

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

How can we deny another game ball to him two games in a row? Miles is proving why we got rid of T.O.

Austin has the game breaking speed and excellent route running that the Cowboys have been lacking for a while.

Austin finished the day with 171 yards on only six catches. He scored two touchdowns along the way. The speedster from little known Monmouth University has given the teams of the NFL a reason to take notice.

We should give Jerry Jones some credit for finding 2 diamonds in the rough. Miles and Tony.

Great work once again Miles!

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This week’s defensive/special teams game ball goes to DeMarcus Ware.

The sack flood gates have opened!

The Cowboys sackmaster celebrated his new deal with two sacks and heavy quarterback pressure for the whole game.

Ware also had a forced fumble.

He is a leader on defense and deserved every penny Jerry paid for him.

DeMarcus also finished the day with 2 solo tackles. He is the cornerstone of the new improved defense.

All quarterbacks should be running for their football lives. DeMarcus is here to stay.

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Congratulations to Austin and Ware for their great contribution to the victory.

Honorable Mention: Tony Romo, Mike Jenkins

Weekly Game Balls: Week 4

Sometimes its hard to find anything positive from such a heartbreaking loss, however several players did play well and for that they deserve to be recognized.

This week’s offensive game ball goes to Sam Hurd.

Sam Hurd, who has been nearly invisible offensively this year, zig-zagged his way down the field on 4th and 3 to set up a chance for the Cowboys to win last Sunday.

Hurd finished the game with 62 yards on 3 catches. He made up most of those yards his 3rd catch, a 53-yard gain.

Sam was also thrown to twice in the final seconds but could not secure the ball. He was covered by the Pro Bowler Champ Bailey.

We are likely to see more of Sam Hurd with Roy Williams injured this week.

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This week’s defensive/special teams game ball goes to Bradie James.

Bradie James was a beast out there. He helped give the Cowboys a chance in the game.

With the offense sputtering, the defense was needed to step up and Bradie led the way. With the exception of the Brandon Marshall touchdown (in which they couldn’t tackle), the defense gave Denver quarterback Kyle Orton all kinds of pressure.

James finished the game with 6 tackles with 2 assists. He also had 1 sack and a fumble recovery.

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Congratulations to Sam and Bradie for their outstanding play.

That was a game the Dallas Cowboys should of won. Kansas City is next, hopefully the Cowboys will give us an overwhelming win and that should make it more satisfying to give out game balls next week.

Runners-up: The Entire Defense

Cowboys Extra Points: Injuries Are Contagious

Gerald Sensabaugh is out indefinitely after having surgery to repair his broken thumb. Sensabaugh will likely miss 2-4 weeks. Pat Watkins will be called upon to fill in at safety.

Center Andre Gurode underwent an MRI Monday after spraining his right knee during the game last Sunday. According several sources the sprain isn’t anything to be concerned about, however the Cowboys could rest Gurode this Sunday with a bye to follow.

Roy Williams could miss Sunday’s game after a rib injury that sidelined him for the final drive of the game.

“Never in my life have I been hit like that, from Pop Warner through my six years in the league. I’m 5,200 feet above sea level with asthma so I was obviously hurting.”

Coach Phillips said during a press conference that Williams suffered three bruised ribs and cartilage damage. If Williams sits out, the Cowboys could activate rookie Kevin Ogletree, who turned heads in his very impressive preseason performance.

The Cowboys cut running back Chauncey Washington on Monday. While it hasn’t been formally announced most sources believe Felix Jones will not play in Week 5. Marion Barber should be okay to play after experiencing tightness in his previously injured quad.

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I don’t think I have to remind you how deadly injuries are to a team, especially one that needs to toughen up and fix mistakes all over the board. Let’s hope these key players can heal fast, and get back in action ASAP. Luckily the Cowboys have a bye week following this next game against the Kansas City Chiefs to rest, heal and get their minds straight and get focused.

Adams Fined, Barber Fine

For the second week in a row a Cowboy has been fined by the league for a penalty. Turns out that Cowboy is Flozell Adams. Surely you remember the tripping penalty, well Adams was fined $12,500 for sticking his foot out and tripping Justin Tuck in the second quarter, and also Osi Umenyiora in the fourth quarter. Tuck criticized Adams for the move that placed him on the sidelines.

Last week Adams was fined $5,000 for a hands to the face penalty. He plans to appeal the fine.

Hey, we wanted him to stop the false start penalties but not if it means he is going to get even bigger infractions.

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Marion BarberMarion Barber practiced on Wednesday after an apparent injury to his quad during last Sunday’s game. Several media outlets believed Barber could miss the game Monday night but according to Barber,

“I’m good . . . I’m good today. If I’m good today, I’ll be good tomorrow and I’ll be good for Monday.”

“Just like a bad cramp. I’ve felt it before. It’s happened to me before. It’s sore. It felt real similar. But I’m treating it like I should. I’m feeling good.”

The Cowboys have an extra day since they are playing Monday and are not required to put out an injury update today. Luckily the Cowboys are deep at the running back position and Barber can share the load with Felix Jones and Tashard Choice.

The Cowboys posted this on their website,

RB Marion Barber – quad (9/20) – After his 35-yard run in the fourth quarter, Barber came up holding his left quad. He never returned to action Sunday night, and MRI results on Monday revealed a strained quad. Barber was dressed out Wednesday and took part in light individual drills during the brief media portion of practice. But because they don’t play until Monday, the Cowboys aren’t required to release an official injury report until Thursday, and head coach Wade Phillips was tight-lipped about Barber’s status. The starting back said he plans to play against Carolina, however. If not, or if he’s limited, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice will fill in.

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Am I Just a Confused Cowboy Fan or Just a Confused Writer?

For 30 years I have been following the Dallas Cowboys and last Sunday, I just became confused a little I think.

Was it just me, or did it seem like the Buccaneers morphed into their own version of the Dallas Cowboys? Those penalties at the end of the half that allowed the Cowboys to stay alive on their way to a touchdown is exactly what we Cowboys fans have been witnessing for a while now.

It was refreshing to see it could happen to another team!!

I can’t remember the last time I saw a Dallas Cowboys team that fired up, emotional and intense. They were close last year against the Packers but weren’t able to maintain it through the second half. Last Sunday, the Cowboys kept that intensity up for almost the entire game, but this is what really counts: At times they executed on offense most of the time and the defense led by a “bunch of no names” were on a mission! You can be the most fired up and crazy team in the league but it doesn’t matter if you aren’t executing throughout the game. Sunday they were very close to playing a complete game.

Even though he failed to register a sack, DeMarcus Ware was a beast on Sunday. He was a force against the run and consistently putting Jeff Garcia on the ground. The only reason the Cowboys didn’t have more sacks was because of Garcia’s freakishly quick release, which most of the time was flinging the ball into nowhere. Perhaps the most amazing part of Ware’s day was the effect he had in pass coverage. Several times Ware dropped back in coverage to take away the quick slant across the middle and twice he made a play on the ball, once almost nabbing an interception. The fact that Ware played every single down on defense makes his day look that much better, especially considering he was still getting good pressure on the final drive.

Now I have to say Cowboys fans, we are faced with the very real possibility of having Mike Jenkins, Orlando Scandrick and Alan Ball as our top three cornerbacks next week. If Anthony Henry is ruled out against the Giants it is almost guaranteed that we will sign a corner during the week for depth purposes. Just don’t put all your hopes on Ty Law, which is a name getting thrown around. He wants starter money to play and you can’t pay someone that much to be a depth player, no matter what his pedigree may be. Jerry does do some crazy things though.

Marion Barber may not have had a great day statistically, but he almost singlehandedly willed this offense forward. Imagine what he might be able to do if the offensive line decided to actually start blocking for him.

Brad Johnson. Watching him play you have to question the play calling and offensive scheme. Defenses’ are stacking the box against the run, knowing that right now Johnson doesn’t have the ability to get the ball to his receivers downfield. So you ask yourself why not more slants, comebacks, dink and dunk stuff? Well for one, he hasn’t been accurate on those either. I do know this: If I can guess that we are about to run a screen or dump off to Barber on third and long, I’m pretty sure the defense can as well.

How much of difference would Felix Jones make if he came back this week? It will make defenses play a whole lot different that’s for sure.

I am not really getting my hopes up on that though!

Sunday was a perfect example of why Wade Phillips is a great defensive coordinator and just a decent head coach. Now we will never know the extent of how much control Wade took from Brian Stewart but there was definitely a difference in how the defense looked. Still hate seeing those corners’ playing so far back.

Sunday’s performance is why Zach Thomas was brought in, as he played an outstanding game. If we don’t make mistakes and the defense comes to play?

21-20 Cowboys!!

GO COWBOYS!!

 

Cowboys-Bengals… Oh yea and a guy named “Chad Ochocinco”

Good Afternoon Cowboy Fans…

Looking ahead to the Dallas Cowboys-Cincinnati Bengals game this Sunday, I look at this game as just another step on the Cowboy’s journey to Tampa and the Super Bowl. Over the next four weeks, the Cowboys host the Bengals, travel to Arizona, St. Louis, and back home to play the Buccaneers. I really feel the Cowboys even though not playing well this past Sunday against the Redskins’, have a great opportunity to be 7-1 when they make their annual stop to the beautiful confines of Giants Stadium for their game with the Super Bowl champs.

But first things first, The Cincinnati Bengals. On paper the Bengals are not a very good team. This team possesses a lot of talent, but year after year they seem to always find a way to hang around the cellar of their division. It would not be fair to the Bengals though without mentioning that even though there are in the cellar, they are not alone as they share the room with their cross state rivals the Browns.

The Bengals come into Dallas on Sunday ranked 30th in offense and 24th in defense. That is not good news for Cincinnati fans when they will be facing the # 1 offense, and the 9th best defense in the NFL. That can only be a recipe for disaster and an opportunity for a lot of fans to beat the traffic leaving Texas Stadium.

Now I will enjoy the game as I enjoy all the Cowboy’s games (well didn’t enjoy last Sunday much), but we can just keep on kicking that dog over and over. I will be paying very close attention to a guy named “Chad Ochocinco” formally an artist known as Chad Johnson. “Chad Ochocinco”…hmm… Kind of sounds familiar I guess. There used to be a guy called “Prince” that became an artist formally known as “Prince”, then just “Prince” again. Man this is getting confusing to say the least. Of course, we also had a sport’s icon named Cassius Marcellus Clay who later became Muhammad Ali, but never confuse Chad Johnson aka “Chad Ochocinco” with the great one Ali!! Johnson changed is surname to “Ochocinco” which is Spanish for eight five, which is the number he wears.

Chad Johnson or “Chad Ochocinco” (I love saying that name) is off to a very rocky start. Johnson has 11 catches for 116 yds and one touchdown in the first 4 games, and has one end zone celebration. A lot of Bengals fans believe that when Johnson changed his name it put some kind of curse on him. When I researched for this story, I noticed that he has been known to get off to slow starts, but nothing compared to this year. Johnson is a very talented receiver and has led the AFC in receiving the last 4 years. Not to mention he has been to 5 Pro-Bowls.

I just often think the real problem with Johnson is that he spends more time worrying about himself than winning football games. In the past he has changed his teeth (or his grill he likes to call it), “mohawked” and colored his hair (blonde I might add) and has had his share of gilded earrings. In 2006 he was voted by Fox Sports as one of the top ten showboats in professional sports. Lastly, I remember one of his most memorable moments in 2007 during a Monday Night game against the Ravens. Johnson caught the first touchdown of the night, proceeded to grab a jacket resembling a Hall of Fame inductee and pranced up and down the Bengal’s sideline to the cheers of all his adoring fans.

The Bengals will come into “Big D” ready to play and with the new insurgence of Chris Perry at tailback, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Carson Palmer and “Chad Ochocinco”; they will not be a team to look past. I just think at the end of the day, the Cowboys will add another victory notch to their belt and continue their journey to reach that pinnacle of being the first team in NFL history to win 6 Super Bowls.

Oh by the way Chad… in case you did not know, the real spelling is actually “Ochenta Y Cinco”, but I guess that is not easy to spell when you write a check. So whether you like “Chad Ochocinco” or not it should be interesting to see if he can out-do our showman, T.O..

Injury Report: Week 10

Game Status:

Out
WR Terry Glenn (Knee) 

Doubtful 
N/A

Questionable 
WR Isaiah Stanback (Shoulder)

Probable
FB Oliver Hoyte (Neck)
CB Anthony Henry (Ankle)
S Pat Watkins (Ankle)

Rookie wide receiver Isaiah Stanback had his first start in the NFL last week and ended up suffering a shoulder injury that will likely leave him out for this game. It has not been announced if Tyson Thompson will get his kick return job back or if Miles Austin will get his shot.

Rookie fullback Deon Anderson was placed on thje Injured Reserve on Monday after a season ending rotator cuff injury incurred last Sunday. FB Oliver Hoyte is expected to play after missing the last six game with a neck injury.

Safety Pat Watkins sprained his ankle last week in the fourth quarter against the Eagles and has had limited practice this week.