Monday, October 15, 2007
Reality check time in Dallas yesterday. The Champs came, saw, and conquered. They did what they do. The Cowboys could do nothing about it. If we called it a measuring stick, we must surmise that the Boys did not measure up very well.
But, let’s remember a few things. 1) The Patriots are awesome. Tom Brady is amazing, as I must have said “great throw” 10 times yesterday. He realizes mismatches and continues to exploit them all day long (Nate Jones). 2) It is just October. 3) The Cowboys remain a resident of the goofy NFC.
The following are notes from yesterday’s big loss to the team of the decade:
• The Cowboys, who are slow starters notoriously, took it to an all new level yesterday. 1st drive, start at Dal 17, 3 plays, 4 yards, punt. 2nd drive, start at Dal 20, 3 plays, -12 yards, punt. 3rd drive, start at Dal 13, 3 plays, 4 yards, punt. And, by the time you get the ball a 4th time, you are down 14-0 to the best team of this decade. Good luck with all of that.
• The Field position battle was dominated by New England. This goes to smart football, good coverage on kicks, bad decisions by Tyson Thompson, and the Cowboys start their first 8 drives at the 17, 20, 13, 16, 16, 26, 20, and 21. It is just demoralizing to continue to start drives 80 yards away. The only time the Cowboys got reasonable field position was when Thompson had a monster return when the Boys were down 38-24 early in the 4th Quarter.
• Marion Barber is awesome. Boy, does he run hard. Julius had some moments, too. But not nearly enough from those two.
• Penalties will get you beat, too. Kosier’s hold halted a drive early, and nullified a 4th down late. Witten and Owens were flagged which brought back a big play to Owens, Flozell put the offense in a huge 1st and 20 hole, and Hatcher roughed Brady with an idiotic helmet to helmet hit. We wondered when the payment would come due on all of these penalties, and the collector arrived yesterday.
• Wes Welker is the man. I have been touting his excellence since early in his Red Raider career, and I think I have been vindicated. He is a great player, who has found the perfect home to showcase his skills. The slot in New England, when a safety is always rolling to Moss, is a place where he can make a huge living against 3rd best corners. Nate Jones will have nightmares about yesterday, as Tom Brady just knew where #33 Dallas was, and he picked on him constantly, to the tune of a Welker stat line of 11 catches, 124 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Taking candy from a baby it seemed.
• I think it was clear the Patriots were trying to make another statement to the NFL yesterday. The very first play that their offense had the ball, they tried to throw a bomb to Moss that just missed. They tried several bombs to Moss all day long, and of course they punched the final touchdown in, when they might have kicked the FG. Some people were crying that Belichick was running up the score, but in the NFL, where the professionals are all paid big dollars, there is no crying in football. You take your medicine, and if you don’t like what they are doing to you, try mixing in a stop. Also, one can only wonder if Belichick heard Wade’s alleged comments about the New England legacy.
• New England had the ball 12 times. 6 Touchdowns, 2 Field goals, 2 Punts, 1 Fumble, and 1 knee at the half.
• One interesting occurrence yesterday were during the sacks from Nate Jones and DeMarcus Ware. In both cases, the Cowboys looked like they thought Brady had already thrown the ball, and had basically touched him with 2 hands for fear of getting roughing penalties. Instead, they almost had “Kiwanuka” moments, named after the play last season when the Giants linebacker did the same thing with Vince Young, but on that play, Vince Young went on to make a huge play which led to a very unlikely win for the Titans last season.
• Why did the Cowboys kick the Field Goal down 38-24 with no indication that they could stop the Patriots all day long? Go for it and maybe lose, or kick it, and lose for sure. Wade made a Campo-type decision there.
• When the Patriots put Vrabel and Seau in as goal-line Tight Ends, they essentially have 4 TE’s in the game. There, you don’t know if they are blocking or running routes, so you can understand the confusion by the Cowboys defense. If Moss or Welker are in, you know it is a pass. But with those types of players, I don’t know how anyone defends that. It is a very nice strategy.
• I don’t know how to summarize Romo’s game. He was victimized by drops for sure, but he certainly didn’t have a chance to take over the game much. He is in a bit of a slump, and most QB’s don’t get well against the Vikings defense. He certainly was unable to rise to the occasion. Welcome to the “what have you done for me lately” world of being a big time QB.
• I used to think that anyone who argued Tom Brady is better than Peyton Manning was on crack. Now, I am not so sure. Brady is amazing on so many levels. And this year he is demonstrating that he can put up huge numbers if that is what you require from your QB.
• Jacques Reeves fights his tail off every week. I know he still gets beat, but I like him for what he is: a 3rd Corner. If Henry was healthy, and they could have kept Nate Jones off the field, they may have had a bit more of an answer. But, of course, they didn’t come close to having an answer yesterday.
• I needed much, much more out of Terrell Owens yesterday. And I have little patience for his treatment of those media that wanted some accountability after his sign stunt of last week when he indicated that he would take all questions regarding 81 vs 81 after the game. Then, they brought those questions, and he did not want anything to do with them. Ridiculous. Advantage Moss.
• I thought Texas Stadium did pretty well early for noise, but as the lead got to 14-0, you could tell that it didn’t take long to demoralize the crowd. It was just a tough day all around for the organization.
• Is Kate Hudson just a hater of all things Dallas? Wasn’t she Mrs. Golden State Warriors? And now she likes the Patriots? What is her deal?
• The good news again: Just 1 loss. New England plays in the AFC with the Colts. You play in the NFC with no really good teams. It is October, and you are a home win against Minnesota from being 6-1 at the bye week. No real injuries to speak of from yesterday, and Tank Johnson and maybe Terry Glenn could be joining you soon. Things could be much worse around here. I said before the game that provided the Cowboys competed well, I would not have my opinion changed about the Cowboys position in the NFC. They did, and I still feel they are the team to beat in the NFC.