Crawling To Pay Dirt

yet - and seven of the nine have losing records, Philadelphia and Jacksonville with two each the two exceptions.

And, of the four teams rushing for at least 10 touchdowns so far this season, three have winning records (Indianapolis, Seattle, Kansas City), with San Diego a close 3-4.

(By the way, two teams still don't have a rushing touchdown, and those would be the 2-4 Arizona Cardinals and 2-4 Cleveland Browns, while the only team without a win, 0-6 Houston, has all of two.)

Have I made might point?

Now the question is, how come? How come the Cowboys, who rushed for 14 touchdowns last year and 11 in 2003, act as if the goal line is some sort of Iron Curtain when running with the ball? I'm guessing more people have swam across the border today than the Cowboys have run across the goal line in seven weeks.

Now Julius Jones has been out, and is likely to be out Sunday against Arizona. And he did have three rushing touchdowns in the 4½ games he did play. That's on pace for a 10-touchdown season. But heck, he had seven last year in those seven starts. No doubt the Cowboys do miss him.

And from the sounds of Parcells - "It looks like it's going to be by committee here for a little while" were his words about the running back position - the Cowboys likely will miss Jones this week, and then hope he'll be ready following the bye to meet the Eagles Nov. 14 in Philly. That's three weeks from now.

So what they'll miss with a committee of Marion Barber, Tyson Thompson and Anthony Thomas is "I'd just say a little more elusiveness," according to Parcells.

But some of this, too, has to do with the offensive line. These guys aren't dominating the line of scrimmage. Not in the middle, and certainly not on the outside, and now they must play the remainder of the season without Flozell Adams.

Look, since Jones accounted for the team's last rushing touchdowns - two, one-yard runs against San Francisco five games ago - the Cowboys have had 19 red-zone possessions. They have scored only four touchdowns - all passing - and kicked eight field goals. That's a far cry from the first three games when they scored nine touchdowns in 11 red-zone possessions and kicked two field goals.

And get this: You have to go back to last year's Seattle game when Jones scored the game-winning touchdown on that 17-yard draw - that's 12 games ago - to find a Cowboys running touchdown longer than Bledsoe's six-yarder against San Fran. Come on.

And, you have to go back to last year's Chicago game - 13 games ago - to find a touchdown run from outside the red zone, Jones scoring from 33 yards out on Thanksgiving Day.

Been a while, huh, since a Cowboys runner has made a highlight film?

So maybe we are on to something here with this struggling offense, one which can rack up yards - sixth in the NFL - but not points - 17th in the NFL - thanks mostly to scoring just 39 points in three of the past four games, and needing an overtime to account for three of those.

Because if it's all about passing more, why is Indianapolis, a notorious passing team, tied for second in the NFL with 10 rushing touchdowns, behind only Seattle, with 13?

See, this is a problem. Seems these Cowboys wouldn't even be very good at playing Red Rover.

OK, I know, old-fashion.

Well this should come as somewhat of a relief to the Cowboys. They do not have to play the top-ranked offense this week, as they did in two of the previous weeks, nor the top scoring offense, as they did in that other week. Just the Arizona Cardinals, now ranked 11th offensively, and they are averaging 23.5 points in the past three games.
Oh nice. Remember how I pointed out opposing kicks this year are a perfect 11-for-11 this season against the Cowboys. Well, Arizona kicker Neil Rackers is . . . 11-for-11.

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