Was being aggressive in the second half the right approach?
I understood why Jason Garrett did what he did in the first half. The idea was to put as much pressure on Matt Flynn and make him find ways to beat you. Where I thought Garrett would change his plan of attack in the second half was to take a page out of the Jimmy Johnson playbook and pound Demarco Murray at this Packers defense, grinding clock and keeping his defense off the field.
Instead, he continued to have Tony Romo throw the ball, only handing it to Murray seven more times over the remainder of the game. This is where I feel like Garrett made his biggest mistake.
This goes back to what you always hear me talk about: Do whatever you have to do to win the game. If you are having success throwing the ball, keep throwing it. If running the ball is the ticket that night, keep running it. Just make sure you win the game. I can't tell you how many times I saw those great Super Bowl teams build a lead and then just smash their opponents into submission.
Garrett had a chance to take this game in the second half and he didn't do it. It's his job as the head coach to manage these games and close them out. This Sunday afternoon, he didn't, and it's happening entirely too much under his watch.
What was the issue with Romo and the deep ball?
In the postgame press conference, both Garrett and Romo were asked about the quarterbacks' inability to connect on those passes down the field to Dez Bryant and the other Cowboys receivers. Romo said that he worries about overthrowing Bryant more than anything else, which makes sense because of Bryant's ability to go get the ball in the air. Romo wants to give Bryant the opportunity to pull those passes down and that is understandable.
I had a solid feeling that throwing the ball down the field was going to be a very good option against the Packers cornerbacks. In my view, there were chances for Bryant to make those plays, and there were a couple of times where we saw him snatch the ball right over the top of the defender. But, there also were some that got through his hands that he wasn't able to adjust to.
I am not going to put this all on Bryant because he did run some really nice routes where Romo was off on the placement and didn't reward his receiver. What Garrett and Romo need to do is keep giving Bryant opportunities down the field. As long as the offensive line can continue to hold up, Romo will find ways to make the adjustment and you will see those plays connect.
Where does this team go from here?
I have to be real honest, and I hope this team proves me wrong, but I really believe this: Garrett and his squad had to have this game and they let it totally get away from them.
With the early loss by the Eagles against the Vikings and playing against a journeymen quarterback in Matt Flynn, the afternoon couldn't have set up any more perfect for them at AT&T Stadium. As I stood on the field in the final seven minutes of the game, my thoughts were on all the terrible losses I have experienced while working for this team and how gut-wrenching this one was to watch. [embedded_ad]
Even in his postgame remarks, Jerry Jones called it one of the hardest losses that he has ever experienced.
With all that being said, this team has to find a way to rebound and go win a game in Washington next week. But how do you really trust them to do that? This defense cannot stop backup quarterbacks from making plays, and when the offense gets things rolling, the coaching staff decides they want to go away from what is successful.
I honestly have no clue why Garrett and Bill Callahan decided not to show more balance in the second half, but they didn't, and it allowed Green Bay back in the game. Give the Packers credit for making the plays they did, but they had some help along the way from the other sideline. It's hard to keep a positive outlook going forward when you don't have the confidence that this will not happen again.