I can honestly say that the Cowboys have been playing some entertaining football. Losing to the Saints isn’t a crime, and frankly that game was all but won, and now they come into Indy and drop the Colts. I’m not a fair weather fan, but I do enjoying the winning over the previous trend of losing. So the good news is I like to watch the Cowboys again, even knowing they most likely won’t make the playoffs this year. Yeah I was one of those guys who was looking for the way, any way at all, for the Cowboys to make good on a bad start. But there is only a very remote chance it is gonna happen.
Despite being 3-1 in their last four games, the Dallas Cowboys surge is simply too little too late. There are two wild card playoff spots in the NFC which are presently occupied by one 9-3 team (New Orleans Saints) and three 8-4 teams (Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, and the Green Bay Packers). Unfortunately for the Cowboys, they do not own the head to head tie breaker against the Packers. Consequently the Cowboys wild-card pulse has been extinguished.
UPDATE: It turns out some folks smarter than me figured out the Cowboys are only mostly dead (to quote Miracle Max from the Princess Bride) and there are some scenarios where they could still make the playoffs. They involve the Eagles and Green Bay losing the rest of thier games, while Seattle, Tampa Bay, or St Louis have to finish at 50% (8-8). So while the chances are low and approaching zero, they’re not fully dead. So we won’t go through their pockets looking for spare change just yet… :)
So here I am, a bit conflicted by the fact that I’m happier now with a (little-or-) no-playoff-hope version of the Cowboys, vs earlier in the season when they stank, but had hope. Oh well, that’s the way it goes sometimes. But before I sign off, I’ll make a few observations that I think are worthwhile.
The Cowboys played hard, and their defense came up big when needed. While I’d have liked it to be 45-0 at the end due to the defense, I’m not unrealistic (at least not totally so) and I know the Colts will put up points. Yet even with the mistakes made by the Cowboys (see blocked punt below), they frustrated Manning and the run game of the Colts, which gave the team the room they needed to win, barely. But barely is enough and right now it’s great to be back winning.
Jon Kitna has played well. I know there was a lot of doubt out there, but up until now Kitna’s Stats are 6 starts out of 7 games played (Romo injury brought him in for the first game) and he’s through that stretch thrown 148 complete out of 226 tries, for 1703 yards. His rating is 89.5. Compare that to Romo’s 6 games before his injury at 148 / 213 for 1605 and a rating of 94.9. Kitna threw one more INT than Romo (8 vs 7), and was sacked 7 more times (14 vs 7). Arguably if Kitna hadn’t come in quite so cold, and the offensive line was protecting him more in the first few games, his stats would meet or exceed Romo (though given they have the same offensive line it’s hard to predict how Romo would’ve done in the last 6 games). Either way, he’s stepped up in my view and done great. Nice work.
Mike Jenkins, while I’ve criticized you in the past, I am also willing to give credit where it is due. Your game against the Colts wasn’t the greatest overall, but you avoided the key Pass Interference calls that haunted you in the earlier season, and the tip in OT to cause the INT was a critical good play. Nice work, and I hope it continues.
Some mistake haunted the Cowboys too, like a blocked punt run in for a touchdown but overall this is the way teams win games. They overcome adversity and overcome their own mistakes to bring in the W. Unfortunately the injury roster is looking tough with Dez Bryant out with a fractured ankle, Romo still out, Barber out for the last game, and Brooking and James roughed up but playing.
So there it is, I’m happy, despite the outlook for the post season and the injury roster filling up. Why you might ask? Mostly because I like watching the Cowboys play like we’ve all known they could. Like the talented team we expected. Playing for pride now more than expectation, being professional, and going out and gutting it out to show they aren’t really a bad team, just one that lost it’s way but is now found.