Cowboys Drop Divisional Game At Home To Giants, 21-17.

Let me just say right now, it wasn’t any trip to Mexico, as may be bantered about by the media, or any other reason for the Cowboys losing to the Giants tonight at home, 21-17, than dropped passes and missed opportunities.   Somewhat of a lack of urgency on the part of the defense and senseless penalties had alot to do with the end result as well, eleven penalties to be exact, most at crucial times.  Combine that with the inabitlity for anyone to make a big play and the Cowboys fail to win their first playoff game since ’96.

Regardless of how badly they performed, there was still a chance to win the game but, again, noone stepped up to make a play.  Crayton inexplicably hesitated on a route and was overthrown in the endzone, and the last desperation pass to Glenn was ill-advised and destined to fail.  Why you would keep Jason Witten blocking instead of running a route that could win the game, I can’t imagine. 

The offensive line seemed out-of-sync and lackadasical, as did most of the key players for the Cowboys.  Whereas the Giants came ready to play some football and determined to win against a team that had defeated them twice before.  The defense failed to stop the run and, while managing to put some pressure on Manning, didn’t tackle very well. 

The only Dallas player that showed up to play was Marion Barber III, who had 101-yards rushing and a touchdown in the first half alone and ran tough the entire game.  If some of the other Cowboy players could have played with his energy and intensity, it would have been a blow-out for Dallas.  But that wasn’t the case as they seemed somehow confident they could win without putting forth the effort to do so.

As I stated, penalties and other gaffs were the main difference in the game.  The Giants did play well but will not advance past Green Bay, especially playing at Lambeau.  My hat is off to them though for their practically flawless play.  They had no turnovers and few penalties, much fewer than Dallas.  Although it is strange that Manning wasn’t called for intentional grounding in the first half when he threw the ball away from inside the pocket to no visible receiver, yet Romo was called for the same play late in the fourth.

I’m not saying that bad calls cost Dallas this game, far from it, although penalties were a big factor for them.  It was the lack of desire for someone to make a big play that was the difference.  They could have won if someone had beaten their coverage and made a catch when it was needed, as Crayton and Owens failed to do, or simply blocked or tackled the man in front of them.   

The special teams didn’t bode well either giving up two big returns that led to Giants points, one on a kick-off and the other a 25-yard punt return by R.W. McQuarters leading to the final touchdown giving the Giants the 21-17 edge they would need.  But most of all, the untimely penalties played a major factor in the game.  There were two third down conversions on penalties given to the Giants on two off-side penalties, the first in the beginning of the game that led to the 52-yard Manning-to-Toomer TD pass.  The second giving them a first down  inside Dallas territory on a drive that would eventually stall, but changed field position. 

As terrible as the result was, I don’t think Romo is to blame even though he had a rough second half.  The offensive line and the pressure of the Giants defense had much to do with some of his problems.  However, there were at least three critical dropped passes that didn’t help matters either.  The first by Crayton on the third-and-fourteen late in the third quarter and the second by Owens on a deep pass where he should have made the play, regardless of the coverage.  If the ball hits you in the hands, you should make the catch.  That standard still holds true.

There were some questionable offensive play-calling at the end of the game as well.  Why  try the end-zone twice and not go for the first down?  I know they didn’t have any time-outs left but there was time left on the clock at the end of the game. 

Eventually, what Vince Lombardi said all those years ago still holds true, the team that blocks and tackles the best will win the game.  Dallas failed at both.  Therefore, I am sad to say, no chance at a Lombardi trophy this year for the Cowboys.


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