Different day, same ole story! Sitting here wondering how to write this loss without repeating everything from the midweek story on “How the Cowboys Blew the Playoff Game to the Packers”? Was it really any different? We were witness to many of the same things today, that led to that defeat in January. I’m going to take my time with this, to be as fair and reasonable with my take as possible.
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) October 8, 2017
One of the most obvious things to all of us, is that Dak played a phenomenal game, yet the team still got beat at the finish. He was at his best from start to finish, dodging the pressure, time after time, to make near miraculous plays. See clip above. Whether he made a pass play or an escape for a first down, he was keeping the teams hopes, alive. Making play after play! Did he remind you of another recent Dallas Cowboys QB? He put the team on his shoulders and did everything you could possibly ask for. At this moment, he’s living the life that Romo endured during his years. No matter how great either played, it wasn’t enough on way too many occasions. Since 2010, the Cowboys have lost the most home games when scoring 30 points or more, with 10 gut wrenching defeats. There were several key penalties on the Cowboys that contributed mightily to the loss but there was one play, one sequence, that made all the difference to me. That one pivotal play, handled correctly, likely erases all the mistakes in the first 58 minutes of the game.
This game was nearly identical to the playoff game down the stretch. Almost got caught with 12 men on the field again, but Garrett only burnt one TO this time. That was bit of a sarcastic statement. During the playoff game, in the final two minutes, I was furious that we left time on the clock for Rodgers to perform his magic. The story I did on that game, I targeted Garrett for calling for the “Spike”, which left enough time for Rodgers to beat our Boys. The Cowboys got the ball with a little over 9 minutes to go in the 4th and the drive was a methodical ground & pound, a drive of 8:43. A thing of beauty! There was a play in that drive, that we should be celebrating as “THE”, play of the game, of which their were plenty that could have been given that label, most of them attributed to Dak. That play would be the 4th & 1, where Zeke was stuffed short of the first down marker, yet not visible until the overheadreplay, Zeke stretched out the ball while going down and broke that point needed for the first down. Back to the point, as the clock was ticking down inside the three minute mark, I was confident, no I was positive, we’d get the TD. But there was something gnawing at me and that was a concern for how much time would be left on the clock for Rodgers? It was a sickening feeling in my gut. Would we leave too much time on the clock, again? Would Garrett learn from the January loss? What could be done to remain methodical in securing the TD, yet burning valuable seconds off the clock to notch a victory? After the two minute warning, on first down, Zeke rips off an eight yard run. My brother even texts me, “keep running the ball”, don’t leave anything on the clock! I’ve taught him well! The next Cowboy snap was at the 1:24 mark, but for some inane reason, the play call is a fade route to Dez. The pass was incomplete and that stopped the clock. Why in the world would you not run the rock and play tick tock? Zeke’s taking it to them in the 4th, but more importantly he would have burnt around another 35-40 seconds off the clock, while in pursuit of another first down. While the Packers had a four point lead, we wouldn’t expect McCarthy to call a time out. He wouldn’t want to burn one of his two remaining time outs with that four point lead. Had we instead ran a running play it could have ran the clock down around thirty seconds remaining in the game. We had all our time outs if memory serves me, so for our sake, the time wasn’t an issue in preventing us from cashing in the go ahead TD. But the clock ticking down would prevent them from tying the score or at worst, their winning this one! Obviously, Garrett, doesn’t see what I see. Not in January, not in October. He’s 0-2 doing it his way and Cowboy fans are sick, ticked and in need of several adult beverages following this latest travesty.
Let me make something clear about that pivotal play call on 2nd and 2. If the Cowboys had a defense that we, or more importantly the coaches, could have reasonable faith in to get that critical stop, then it would be worth taking a shot with an aggressive play call in that situation. It would be great to be able to be do that, but you have to know you’re defense has a better than average chance to get that all important stop! However, with a defense that couldn’t be counted on to stop Aaron Rodgers at any stage of this game, you have to make a concerted effort to not only score, but run out the clock. There is no other way to look at things. Didn’t McCarthy tell Erin Andrews coming out for the second half, that they can’t stop our offense? Clearly Garrett was aware of that as evidenced by his pursuit of first downs, when faced with 4th & 1’s. He went for it every single time! Question remains, why leave Rodgers & McCarthy time to snatch another victory from us? When will Garrett learn?
I’ll be back with another take in a day or two, “evaluating my keys to victory” in looking first, at the offensive performance. Then I’ll rewatch the game with the All 22 (on Wednesday) to take a look at what happened to the defense. The All 22 will provide the truth of the good, the bad & the ugly. Till then ……