IRVING, Texas – Games like this last one against the Packers just feed the monster. It's out there and it loves to jump on Tony Romo and Jason Garrett and of course, Jerry Jones.
Anytime the Cowboys blow a second-half lead or Romo throws a pick or two late, it ignites a wave of criticism from coast to coast. As Jason Garrett says, "it comes with the dinner."
I just did a segment on NFL AM on the NFL Network for about five minutes and answered questions about Tony Romo's decision-making, Dez Bryant leaving the field early and Jason Garrett's job security.
But no one is asking about the real issue of this team. The issue that led to Dez walking off the field or Tony having to make those decisions or the fact Garrett hasn't won enough games this year and why his job is in question.
Let's be honest, the real issue about the 2013 Dallas Cowboys is the defense. This defense is one of the worst in NFL history.
They rank dead-last in the NFL, yielding 427.3 yards per game. They are the worst against the pass at 297.4 yards per game.
And that's really the root of this whole mess.
I had one Cowboys assistant coach tell me Monday that "if Aaron Rodgers would've played, he would've thrown for 500 yards." The same coach also said Kirk Cousins of the Redskins is better than Matt Flynn, who lit them up in the second half.
This team scored 36 points on Sunday. And it wasn't enough. Sure, the offense had chances to get more touchdowns and settled on five Dan Bailey field goals. Yeah, if they get one more touchdowns instead of a field goal, they probably win.
I get that. Still, 36 points should win you a game in the NFL.
The Cowboys rank fourth in the NFL in scoring at 28.1 points per game. That trails only Denver (38.2), Chicago (29.0) and Kansas City (28.5). All three of those teams are either leading their division or clinched a playoff spot. And all three teams have beaten the Cowboys, too.
But 28 points per game is good enough to be atop the NFL leaders in scoring.
Yet, when the Cowboys actually score 28 points this year, their record is only 4-4. That's ridiculous that a team can lose four games when they score 28 points or more. Two of those losses occurred with more than 35 points, including the one Sunday.
Yeah, Romo threw a pick he shouldn't have when he checked out of run. I'm not absolving him from that. It was a bad decision and one that makes no sense. But why did he feel the need to do so? He knew he couldn't give the ball back to the Packers, because they would score and win the game. [embedded_ad]
He gave the ball back to Detroit and the Lions marched the field and won. He knew he couldn't do the same with Green Bay.
Again, I don't agree with Romo's decision to throw it. I would've been OK punting the ball back to Green Bay with no timeouts and under the 2-minute warning and needing about 85-90 yards to the end zone. I say you take your chances.
But most teams and quarterbacks in the NFL would've done that. Then again, they probably have more faith in their defense.
That's just how bad things have gotten here in Dallas. This defense is shredded because of injuries. And the players who are on the field aren't always performing to the level we have grown accustomed to.
So take your shots at Garrett, Romo and Dez and whoever else. But the real issue is this defense is as bad as we've ever seen.