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Cowboys Slumping into the Playoffs?

The Cowboys finished the season with an admirable 13-3 record. A record that ties a franchise record set by none other than the 1992 Dallas Cowboys team. They scored touchdowns in bunches, with Tony Romo leading the charge with 36 TD passes, another franchise record. Yet the sky must be falling in Dallas, if you read much of what’s coming off the press.

I had to check a few things this past week, shortly after the dismal performance the Cowboys put up against the Redskins, because after reading a few articles I thought the Cowboys might have been an 8 and 8 team creeping into the playoffs. No, they really are 13-3. So what gives here?

As in so many seasons in the past the Cowboys stumbled going into December. They had trouble against Detroit, then lost to Philadelphia, they struggled but won against Carolina, and were beaten to a pulp by the Washington Redskins. In the month of December they are 2-2 this year. So what does that really tell us? It tells me I need more information.

When the Dallas Cowboys faced off against the Detroit Lions the Cowboys had already clinched a playoff spot. Detroit on the other hand was still fighting for a shot at the playoffs. A loss to the Cowboys and their hopes would become a long shot. So there may have been a little bit more motivation for the Lions to win that game than for the Cowboys to beat them. It wasn’t enough, however, as the Cowboys would top the Lions 28 to 27 in the final minutes of the game.

Then there was the Philadelphia Eagles. They too had a shot at the playoffs, but they basically would have to win out the season. The Cowboys now had a first round bye. A little less to play for, considering they still had a one game lead over the Green Bay Packers. The result, the Eagles wanted it more and beat the Cowboys 10-6 the first time all season the Cowboys would fail to score a touchdown.

Then you had the Carolina Panthers, who were a long shot for the playoffs, but they too still had a chance. Early on it looked as though the Cowboys would make easy work out of them, as they were up 17-7 at the half. When you star-Pro Bowl-wideout goes down, however, things get more complicated. The Cowboys would only put up three more points but the Panthers lead my rookie Matt Moore kept the game close. Still the Cowboys had enough from the first half to come out of the game with the win. Dallas over Carolina 20-13.

Finally to wrap up the season the Cowboys faced the amped up Washington Redskins. A team who was now playing for more than just wins but a cause. After the tragic death of Sean Taylor, this Redskins dedicated their season to their fallen Safety. It had paid off so far, as a win over the Dallas Cowboys gave them the final wild card spot. The Cowboys on the other hand had just clinched home field throughout the playoffs. The team would be reeling with injuries. Five players would be sitting this game out, four of them starters, three of which Pro Bowlers. The weather was horrendous, and the Cowboys were more interested in going home without more injuries than the game its self. Result the Cowboys for just the second time this season were unable to score a TD, final score 27-6 Washington Redskins.

So when Wade Phillips says “I’m concerned about our football team getting ready for this game. Throw in Chicken Little and the sky is falling and all that, if you want to. But I think we have a strong football team and a great chance to be where we want to be.” I tend to agree with him. The Cowboys are exactly where they want to be, in the playoffs as the top seed and all that it stands for. He has home field advantage and a first round bye. Maybe we think there was a lot to be played for, but really what else was there? Had the Cowboys beat the Washington Redskins, would it have really mattered? Not likely, considering both the Vikings and Saints also lost on Sunday.

You can also forget about saying well the Carolina team and Detroit team were close games. They were close, but so what? They say the Cowboys haven’t been playing their best football, which to the losses I can agree to the wins I’ll disagree. You don’t play a football game to play your best football game, you go in hoping to play your best football. You go into a football game to win, if that goal is met then you did it right. When the Cowboys beat the Bills on a last minute field goal it was the Defense that kept the Cowboys alive. When they beat Detroit, the defense made some critical stops, but ultimately it was the poise of Romo and the offense that got the Cowboys that win. Those critical plays made were some of the best football playing I had seen all season by this Cowboys team. So relax, the weather report isn’t calling for falling skies yet.

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2 Responses to “Cowboys Slumping into the Playoffs?”

  1. Dave says:

    I agree totally with these comments. People seem to give up on teams because of a 1 or 2 game stumble and start to think that their season is over because of a couple games. No team has ever had 100% good games all the time…take the “Undefeated” Patriots…stumbled to barely beat the 8-8 Eagles, 5-11 Ravens, and 10-6 Giants. You don’t have to play your best ball, just better than your opponent. This team has a chemistry that hasn’t been seem this good for close to a decade. You don’t just “stumble” into a 13-3 record. Yes december did slow our momentum but if you were the coach with Playoff guarantees and a good running chance of making it to the big dance, would you run your hardest to every game and risk screwing a potential superbowl run? Teams play to win Lombardi Trophy at the end of it all. Undefeated records are nice bragging rights, but 2 of the first 3 undefeated season teams got knocked out in the first game in the post season. I think Coach Phillips has made great decisions and I think this year is the best shot that we’ve had in over a decade to make those post season dreams come true. We’ve got the easier of two conferences with a 1st round bye and total home field advantage. I don’t know about anyone else’s feelings, but if that doesn’t give us a good leg up, then I don’t know what will. Have faith in your team, just like in Buffalo and Detroit. Remember, we’re a devasting last half team, so have your popcorn ready. =)

  2. BRIAN S says:

    WOW! FINALLY AN OPINION THAT MAKES SOME SENSE. With all the Foxy-Loxy’s out there, including MOST of the media, it seems like there is a general attitude that people WANT TO SEE THE COWBOYS FAIL!(not including the haters). “Have faith in your team,…” absolutely!

    The Dallas Cowboys, love ’em or hate ’em, are owned by a guy that has a fierce drive to win, couple this with the fact that he is smart, and financially able to procure what the team needs, and you get a team every year that has at least a chance to win it all.

    Good blog…..

    Go COWBOYS!!

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