IRVING, Texas -In the hours since Monday's 18-16 victory over Washington, a lot of fans and media members have been saying that they're OK with getting an "ugly win."
To hell with that. Where this franchise is right now, after a 6-10 season last year and with just about everybody beat up, the quarterback, offensive line and wide receivers all on the injury report, there is no such thing as an "ugly win." It's wrong to be diminishing the gutty performance against Washington in that way.
Thinking back a few years, in 2008, I can remember when a 31-22 Week 5 win against Cincinnati was deemed ugly. It bumped the Cowboys to 4-1, and everybody had such high hopes after the 13-3 season in '07 that the fast start wasn't really appreciated. From there, the Cowboys went 5-6 down the stretch to miss the playoffs.
So if a harder-than-expected victory then was a sign the team was trending downward, it should be just as positive a sign that they're able to actually win the close games this season, after blowing so many of them last year. They're overcoming mistakes.
These guys had six fumbles last night. They had wide receivers with no idea where to line up or what routes to run, and were 0-for-3 in the red zone. But they won anyway. Why dwell on the negatives?
Look at what was beautiful, the defense and the special teams, two areas which held the Cowboys back severely last year. The team has shored up those weaknesses now, it seems. It's hard not to be positive about the club knowing that those two areas are stronger, and the offense has help on the way in what should be nearly a clean bill of health after the bye.
"It's a tribute to the players who are banged-up," Jason Garrett said of the win. "It's a tribute to the backup players who were ready to play when called upon. I think it's a tribute to everybody throughout the team understanding the resolve we need to fight through some of those adversities."
People will say this was a game the Cowboys were supposed to win, and it probably won't be remembered as a "big game" for Garrett or Tony Romo down the line. But the Redskins were 2-0 coming in, and proved last night they're a worthy opponent. They made it hard.
If 0-2 was not an option last week, starting 1-2 wouldn't have been much better. That's what the Cowboys were in 2010, and things only got worse from there.
With that still fresh on the mind, it's impossible and wrong, even, to be judging wins by this team as if they're a high dive, or some gymnastics routine. It's so early, but they're already having to fight and claw to keep the season alive.
As easily as the Cowboys could be 3-0 right now had things gone differently in New York, they could also be 0-3. The fact they're not already dead in the water shouldn't be underappreciated.