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Instant Review: Staff Gives Early Analysis Following 38-31 Loss
For the second time this year, the Cowboys fell behind by more than 20 points at home and rallied to make it close, but couldn’t get over the hump. The DallasCowboys.com staff of Bryan Broaddus, Rowan Kavner and Nick Eatman give their initial thoughts on the loss.
Rowan: I predicted the Redskins would probably squeeze out a win, but nobody expected it to be in this fashion. Questions were asked all week whether Robert Griffin III was more like Cam Newton or Michael Vick. The answer is neither. What he was able to do to the Cowboys secondary was unlike anything either of those quarterbacks did earlier this year, and the Cowboys need to get used to it for years to come. The Cowboys continue to get behind early and play catch up the rest of the way. That’s not something a team striving to make the playoffs can afford to do every week. It caught up with them on Thanksgiving.
Bryan: Look back on my gut feeling, I thought that the offense line would do a much better job against this Redskins front when it came to protection. On tape the Redskins struggled to get consistent pressure but for the Cowboys it was much of the same problems that we had seen in the past. The Cowboys threw the ball 62 and gave up three sacks but still, the pressure was there. Romo was forced to throw the ball underneath where this offense needed to take advantage of some plays down the field. The Redskins were one of the worst teams in the league when it came to pass defense but there were too many times where Romo never had the opportunity to even look down the field because of the pressure. Even when the offense was in shot gun formation, the pressure was still there. Romo once again was forced to try and buy time in the pocket and that was disturbing against a defense that had struggled with that all season.
Nick: That bad feeling I had about this game exploded to the surface in the second quarter. The more I think about this game, I can’t stop comparing it to 1998 when Randy Moss torched the Cowboys as a rookie that day. The Vikings won that game by 10 and Troy Aikman threw for 455 yards that sort of seemed meaningless. Here, Romo went for 441 on 62 attempts. And it wasn’t nearly enough. I know no one wants to hear this, but the defense just can’t really compete like this with so many injuries. It’s not an excuse, because other teams around the league find a way to survive without top players. This team simply can’t do it. What we thought of this defense back in training camp, simply can’t function without Lee, Ratliff, Church, Coleman, Scandrick, Carter, Lissemore and whoever else got banged up in this game. For a team that already lacked depth, they are just too beat up and it was apparent in this game. Not taking anything away from the Redskins, they outplayed the Cowboys and deserved this win. But the Cowboys better use these 10 days to heal up because the injuries are a major concern.
Gut Feelings, posted Saturday, Nov. 21:
Rowan: This one’s been probably the most difficult game to pick of this year. The Cowboys haven’t demonstrated an ability to build much on success, squeaking out a three-point, comeback, overtime win against the Browns to earn their first consecutive wins of the season. Meanwhile, they’ll be facing a completely new Redskins team with Robert Griffin III returning to his home state coming off perhaps his most efficient game as an NFL player. History states picking against the Cowboys and quarterback Tony Romo isn’t the smartest plan on Thanksgiving Day, but the Redskins will squeeze out a tight one if the Cowboys’ offense continues to suffer through lapses.
Bryan: My gut feeling this week against the Redskins will go against everything that a Cowboys fan would believe going into this matchup. Jason Garrett and Bill Callahan will get an outstanding performance from this offensive line on Thursday. There I said it, now they have to go out and prove me right. I know it’s a short week and all but I have seen this Redskins defense struggle to get consistent pressure with the exception of Ryan Kerrigan and Stephen Bowen there are ways to control them in the game with extra blockers. I believe you will see the Cowboys handle stunts differently than what they did against the Browns. I am still not ruling out Tyron Smith in this game and if he can play, he can handle the one-on-one matchups but if it’s Jermey Parnell then that’s the way they have to roll. With Parnell when his technique is correct, he can block but at left tackle, you cannot afford to even take one play off. Mackenzy Bernadeau is better than Ryan Cook at center so now it’s about Free and Dockery. These linemen have pride and they understand what happened last week cannot happen again, this week they play a better game as a group.
Nick: This is one is a tough one to call. I’ve been on the fence about this game for a while. I can see the Cowboys getting a nice, solid victory with big plays in the second half. I see Robert Griffin III playing out of his mind and being too good for the Cowboys, too. I see both sides of this and I can’t seem to shake from the middle. I know with about 11:25 to go in the fourth quarter, it’s going to be a very close game and it’ll go either way. My gut though, is leaning towards the Cowboys coming up short. And the reason probably isn’t anything to do with the Redskins. It’s the fact that this team will have won three straight games, and has a chance to be sitting in first place in the NFC East come Monday? For a squad that was 3-5 just two weeks ago, I have a hard time thinking they’re going to be that consistent enough to get this win. One thing I can guarantee about Thursday’s game is that it will probably be the most physical game of the year. These two teams always play it close and on short rest, it’s all about survival.