healthy Saturday night, the Cowboys easily win this game. Guys aren't just going to drop passes and slip on the grass all night long. With an effective Kitna, the Cowboys win this game. With an effective Romo, the Cowboys would've won more than these five games.
Once again, the story of the season.
Offensive Woes - Ok, so quarterback problems or not, this offense can't blame all of its issues on that.
How many times do we have to see a wide receiver not only drop the ball, but have it deflected up in the air for an interception? I mean seriously, this has to be the best volleyball team in the NFL because these guys can definitely set it up perfectly.
The running game was as effective Saturday as we've seen in a while - or at least as effective with three running backs. Say what you want about his penalty that will be addressed here later, but Marion Barber looked more like a Barbarian. Felix Jones might have had his best game of the season. No, I'm not talking about stats. He did get 77 yards on 16 carries, but Felix ran the ball hard, picking up tough yards all night. To me, he looked like a No. 1 back for the first time all season long.
But still, the Cardinals are horrible against the run - ranking 30th in the NFL. Just like they did three weeks ago in Indy, the Cowboys showed they can run the ball well against bad defenses.
All in all, the Cowboys struggled at times to move the ball Saturday night, but I say we give them somewhat of a pass. Down to the third quarterback making his NFL debut, they did rack up 382 yards.
But it just wasn't enough. That's the theme all year long.
Bad Celebrators - You can live with one. Two is a little much. But three? What's going on here?
Three excessive celebration penalties this year is unreal. And they always happen at the worst time. Then again, when you have just five wins this year, when is there a good time to follow up a touchdown by kicking off at the 15?
But Barber, who ripped off his longest touchdown run since 2007 with an impressive 24-yard scamper where he gave Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson a piggyback ride to the end zone, has to find a way to mess it up.
So excited with his touchdown - as well he should be - he can't wait three more yards to the sideline before he rips off his helmet - right in front of an official.
Marc Colombo went to the ground after a Jason Witten touchdown against the Titans. Sam Hurd got flagged for a choreographed celebration with Roy Williams against the Vikings. And now Marion Barber gets flagged or whipping out those dreadlocks two seconds too soon.
And The Kicker - It's been a topic all season. It was a big issue before the season started. The big question all summer was if David Buehler could handle the pressure of being the Cowboys' full-time place-kicker.
Just going off the stats, you could say Buehler has done well. He's made 24 of 31 attempts, although there have been some untimely misses, especially a couple in the 30-39 range.
But to me, the question has always come down to one thing - can this team trust him? Can the Cowboys trust Buehler to make even the simple kicks. And in a kicker's terms, an extra point is a simple kick.
And with virtually the game on the line, Buehler hooked it. He pulled it. Yanked it - whatever. Basically, he just choked it.
And it pretty much cost the Cowboys a win, or at least a chance for overtime.
Every time you think he's turned that corner of inconsistency, he fools us. And he fools the team as well.
Maybe that's just the life of a kicker. When it's good, it can be really good. Buehler has made two game-winning field goals. But he just had a game-losing extra point
I would imagine the Cowboys have to address that situation next year and possibly bring in some real competition for Buehler next offseason.
Overall, I guess there is something to be said for consistency. Everything we've seen from the Cowboys this year, seemed to show up here on Christmas night.