I have to admit, I did not think this Cowboys squad could go to Washington and find a way to win a football game. I had no confidence that they could play defense well enough not to make the game a shootout, and that the offense, despite an improving offensive line and running attack, could score enough points to make up for their lack of defense.
Too many times this season I believed every week that something would be different. At FedExField on Sunday, this team was doing everything in its power to make me look like a football genius. Missed opportunities, sacks, not covering, all those things that I saw last week against the Packers and various times during the year.
When this Cowboys offense turns the ball over, they put their defense in terrible shape. Two turnovers led to 14 points, and the collapse was on its way. But on this day, there was something different. This season wasn't going to end and the team that I had my doubts about showed the fight and determination that I feared they did not have.
When Tony Romo led the offense on a 15-play drive that only netted three points, I knew that something was different. Those points brought the Cowboys within striking distance, but more importantly, it gave this offense the confidence to finish the game. It was balance and execution, but it also allowed the Cowboys defense to regroup and catch its breath for an eight-minute stretch after coming under attack to start the second half.
From where I was standing on the field near the bench, you could see the confidence level of the defense rise when they got that stop with 3:39 left to give the ball back to the offense. It was the first stop for the defense in the second half since the Oakland game, which was amazing. Then when they had to go back on the field with 1:01, as crazy as this sounds, it was the first time all day that I believed that they could get a stop to end the game and keep their playoff hopes alive. [embedded_ad]
If this team is going to beat Philadelphia next week and get into the playoffs, it's going to have to have more moments in the second half like it did on Sunday. Players are going to have to step up on both sides of the ball and find ways to deliver big. I had my doubts going into this game, and I am happy they once again proved me wrong in a good way.