CAN THE COWBOYS HANDLE A LITTLE SUCCESS?
The reason I can’t stand most Cowboy fans is because they will argue to no end and without sufficient merit that the Cowboys are not only capable of playing, but are going to play, every week as well as they did last Sunday, as they whipped the Buffalo Bills 44-7. America’s team, with such rich tradition, and years and years of success, has spoiled and created a sense of entitlement amongst its fan base. The Yankees and Lakers are the only other franchises that compare when it comes to success in the sports ecosystem. For some reason, however, Cowboy fans seem to suffer most from this “too much success is not a good thing,” theory I am working on, but let’s save that for another day and get on with some pigskin…
Cowboys, Redskins this week… Landry vs. Stram, Staubach vs. Theisman, Art Monk vs. Drew Pearson, Tony Dorsett vs. John Riggins, Dexter Manley vs. Ed “Too Tall” Jones. The list goes on and on. The memories do, too. In 1990, the Cowboys beat the Redskins 13-7 at RFK in week 11 to notch their first and only victory of the 1-15 season. We all remember the Staubach to Hill over-the-shoulder game-winner at Texas Stadium, or the game in which Santana Moss scored 2 touchdowns in less than two minutes, beating the much-maligned Cowboy safety Roy Williams on a late September Monday night. The Cowboys lost that game 14-13. Yours truly left old Texas Stadium more stunned than I have from any other sporting event. Most recently there was the Tashard Choice fumble in the opener last season just before halftime. That, followed by a holding call on spare Cowboy guard Alex Barron that nullified the game-winning touchdown pass to Roy Williams, cost the Cowboys dearly. Those two blunders led to a 13-7 defeat and sent the Cowboys on their way to 1-7, and the end of that “Son of a Bum” that used to coach this team. So, it is Cowboys vs Redskins this week, and for the Cowboys it is a chance to amplify the recent noise they are making out at Valley Ranch.
When we last saw the Cowboys they were pounding the then AFC East division-leading Buffalo Bills like it was Super Bowl XXVII. That was the one that Dallas won 52-17, only to repeat the task the next year by beating the Bills 30-13 in Super Bowl XXVIII. By the way, the last time the Redskins were in the Super Bowl was in 1992. The Skins won Super Bowl XXVI 37-24 that year over, guess who, the Buffalo Bills. So, the Cowboys have won three Super Bowls since the proud Washington Redskins have sniffed the Lombardy Trophy? I am back on my “too much success is not a good thing thought”; I digress.
The Cowboys have a chance this week to build a three-game winning streak for the first time since the last three weeks of 2009. That year they finished 11-5, and won a playoff game. To Jason Garrett’s credit, they did come within a 30-27 overtime loss to the Saints last Thanksgiving Day that would have given the ‘boys an eventual four game winning streak. I say this because the Cowboys were able to go to Indianapolis the following week and beat Peyton Manning and the Colts 38-35, in overtime. In fact, the Cowboys were a mere 7 points away from going 8-0 under Garrett last year. That made things easy for Jerry Jones and the Cowboys to hire Garrett as the next Head Coach. Since then, however, the Cowboys have found ways to make their own mess of things when they are going well.
Romo’s turnovers in games against the New York Jets and the Detroit Lions have cost the Cowboys early this year, and he would be the first to tell you that. The Detroit loss was a 24-point third quarter Cowboy lead that was given up. The comeback was assisted by two pick-sixes and another interception with the game in the balance. The loss prevented the Cowboys from winning three straight. Dallas followed that game up by stealing defeat from the jaws of victory again, when they lost to New England in Foxboro, 20-16. Tom Brady hit Aaron Hernandez with 22 seconds left in the game for the winning touchdown, after a masterful 80-yard drive by Brady, giving him his 32nd come-from behind victory. Not only the interceptions but questionable play calling and poor clock management were to blame for that implosion.
The Cowboys are on the road, but they are the better team in this game. The fact that it is a Cowboys vs. Redskins game balances things out for sure, but not only are the Cowboys better, the Redskins are hurt. Now, former Cowboy running back Tashard Choice has been acquired by Washington to replace the numerous injured Redskin running backs that have gone before him: Hightower, Torrain, Halu, etc. Look for him to exact some revenge on the Cowboys, however, if he gets a shot. Choice saved the Cowboys a few times while he was here as a backup, and he received a less than warm departure from Jerry Jones and the Cowboys when he was waived earlier this season. Choice may be the Redskins’ best shot, though, as Washington has lost five games straight. That is the first time that has happened in Redskins Head Coach Mike Shannahan’s career, so he has hit the panic button, and announced a quarterback change. He is going to start Rex Grossman against the Cowboys, who will replace John Beck under center. Like I said, the Cowboys have a better team, and it will be up to them to embrace their recent successes, go to Fed Ex Field, and beat the Redskins Sunday. If they do that, then Dallas has another winnable game next week at home against another less talented Miami Dolphins team they can start thinking about. The Cowboys will have to change their own recent history to make that happen.
- Cowboy Monday (rattleandhumsports.com)
- Your Dallas Cowboy News (rattleandhumsports.com)
- COWBOYS vs DOLPHINS PREVIEW (rattleandhumsports.com)