Monday, December 10, 2007

Week 14: Cowboys 28, Lions 27 (12-1)

That win yesterday must be placed right next to the Buffalo games as “Wins that could have been losses, but due to the unbelievable perfect storm of good fortune, big plays, and the QB who doesn’t seem to know how to fail – a victory was found”.

Detroit did a great job of stepping up. They were ready to defend their house, and give everything they had to knock the Cowboys off their perch. They did not turn the ball over. They did not allow a special teams touchdown. They outgained the Cowboys. They out clocked the Cowboys. They outsacked the Cowboys. And despite winning the game for just about 59 minutes, they still lost.

It may not be the Lions year. But, I think we also know it may just be the Cowboys year.

The following are the notes that were taken during Cowboys 28, Lions 27:

· Having watched NFC North football my entire life, allow me to assure you that Jason Hansen NEVER misses a 35 yard Field Goal. He is a hall of fame kicker, who generally makes all his field goals with amazing accuracy (the ball is almost always dead center). Perhaps this should have been our sign that the Cowboys were going to win that game. Hansen is the true definition of money. And yet, he missed a most important kick that would have likely secured the Lions a win they had to have to keep from a collapse right out of the playoffs.

· Jason Witten is awesome. I think the fairy tale had to end with him catching the Touchdown, right? 15 catches. He has to be beat up this morning physically. That number of catches had me looking up the all-time record for catches in a game. Who knew it was Terrell Owens in 2000 for the 49ers? Small world after all.

· Shaun Rogers is representative of why people cannot stand professional athletes. A guy who shows he can be as good as he wants to be. Then he demonstrates he doesn’t want to be very good. Then he plays hard to get his contract. They he gets paid. Then he loses interest. Then he falls out of shape. Then, when his team, who paid him $46 million because they believed in him, needs him most, he is huffing and puffing on the sideline. I remember how the Cowboys took Quincy Carter and Tony Dixon before him, and how that annoyed me so much. I saw him at Texas, and I knew what he was capable of. But, those days appear past, and he has never lived up to what he could have been. Rather, he is now a perfect poster boy for Detroit Lions football.

· Make sure you think a good thought about Paris Lenon today. That linebacker had the game won if he only would fall on the ball on the Cowboys final drive when Romo fumbled on 3rd down and no timeouts left. But, Lenon had delusions of grandeur and thought he would pick it up and run with it. That allowed the ball to take a Cowboys bounce to Kyle Kosier, and the rest is history.

· I am really not a fan of the Lions black jersey. It is another bad look. In fact, I am hard pressed to think of any alternate black 3rd jersey that looks good.

· So, I guess this is the portion of my review where I wonder what the heck the Cowboys defense was thinking about yesterday when they allowed the Lions to own them for about 3 hours. Let’s be honest, the Lions could have easily scored almost 40 points if they had been given the benefit of the doubt from the refs on the pass interference and made a 35-yard field goal. So all of the time and space wasted on the Kitna statements and then all of the revenge talk from Bradie James and Terrence Newman and that is what we saw? I was anticipating a demonstration of exceptional defense on Sunday, but I just didn’t see it. Where was the tackling? That was not a great statement made by them, especially after all of the jaw jacking.

· Mark Colombo is not right physically. He gave up the edge with relative ease, and he is better than that.

· Of all of the great throws from Tony Romo, where should we rate the pre-halftime Touchdown to Barber on the blitz. When the ball was thrown, it looked like he was throwing it up for grabs on what could surely be picked off. Well, he knew what he was doing as he hit Marion Barber in perfect stride on his way to the end zone. Just beautiful. How did he see that when Detroit sent everyone in Romo’s face? Jedi.

· DeMarcus Ware tried to break Kitna on that late hit. Wow, he will be fined handsomely. And, if he would have injured Kitna, I wonder if the league would consider a suspension. I know the point he was trying to make, but you cannot be so obvious.

· Ups and Downs for Ken Hamlin. Big whiff on the TJ Duckett touchdown run, but a big play to knock the ball out of Calvin Johnson’s hands on the jump=ball in the end zone.

· Pass Interference. Every week, it is tough to figure out. Is it contact? Last week, yes. In favor of the Cowboys. This week, no. In favor of the Cowboys. Sometimes it is just your year.

· Did the refs really need the cold-weather pants yesterday?

· I wonder if we finally found a defensive scheme that can limit Terrell Owens? It would seem to me that this is the only way to beat the Cowboys – to take Owens away, and make the Cowboys take 6 yards a play by dinking and dunking to Witten and Barber. It surely beats the alternative of giving up 58 yards on one play to Owens over the top. As we get closer to January, expect more of this if teams have the personnel to carry it out. I just didn’t think the Lions did. Incidentally, Owens didn’t look to pleased about his day. I know he said all the right things, but I would have been happier to see him celebrate just a smidge after the Witten Touchdown. He appeared to be about the only player not ecstatic.

· I am going to have to agree with Troy on the befuddling strategy of the Lions to avoid Miles Austin at all costs. I know he is good, but why would you concede the 40 or 45 yard line with the goofy short kick? The last thing the Cowboys need is great field position the way they have moved the ball this year.

· It has been 40 games since the Lions have had 3 rushing touchdowns in a game. It has been 30 games since Mike Martz was hired. Connected? Sorry, but I think Mike Martz may be second to only Norv Turner on the list of guys who have lived off the reputation they made as a hot assistant for about a 2 year span. In both cases, all of their subsequent appearances at other locales just don’t live up to the hype.

· On the play when the Cowboys took a delay of game penalty with the play clock, and then another one when Romo spiked the ball in disgust, how come they only were charged 5 yards? Is only one enforceable? If so, isn’t that a poor rule? So technically you can commit 8 delay of game plays on the same play and only lose 5 yards?

· Leonard Davis and Shaun Rogers were suite mates at Texas. Sounds like a sitcom waiting to happen. They could share clothes and everything.

· That final drive just demonstrates that the Cowboys appear to be up for any challenge in 2007. Romo leads this team into and through all the difficult spots, and as long as the Cowboys have him, you will never think the team has lost until the game is over. What a pleasure it is to find a QB.

· Now, on to the Eagles. 15-1 seems incredibly possible. Enjoy this run, and don’t look too far ahead. It will all get here in due time. Enjoy the journey.


Michael Lopez said...

Witten's junk is being grabbed in that picture.

Andy D. said...

The Barber vs. Julius thing is tired, I know... but.
He stalls out behind the line of scrimmage more times than he breaks a 5-9 yard run.

Romo to Witten is just automatic.
Kitna to anyone playing WR yesterday was automatic too.
I have never seen more safety/CB confusion is one game than I saw yesterday.
Good teams find ways to win. Bad teams don't. PERIOD

Jay Beerley said...

The catchability of the throw can be questioned, but why on earth are we not throwing the quick slant more to Owens? That's what makes him awesome because more times than not he's throwing that guy to the ground or just running through his tackle. When they bring the blitz, I have no problem feeding Witten and Barber, but sometimes, as seen with the craziness of Brady and Moss, you just chunk it over there to the guy to see if he can make plays. But it really doesn't seem like Romo's fault, it just doesn't seem like they call the slant ever. Wasn't this what made the big Michael Irvin so great? Thoughts?

Observer said...

There's no way to defend the performance of the Cowboy defense yesterday, BUT...

They LOOKED just as bad in the 2nd half as they did in the first, but the results were much better. How on Earth did they only give up 7 points in the 2nd half? Part of it is that the offense got going and took the ball away from Detroit for a while.

I think part of the reason the defense was so bad at the beginning is that they didn't have a good 8-10 minute stretch where they could look at photos and talk and plan some way to answer what Detroit was doing. The offense kept giving back the ball.

Once they had halftime to recover and adjust, the defense was passable.

Hove said...

Jags in black look pretty tough. I dig their look.

andrew said...

having watched nfc north football your entire life, I'd think you wouldn't mistake one of the greatest kickers of all time (Hanson) with an arrogant spare DFW sportscaster (Hansen).