Skip to main content

Signs, Signs, Everywhere A Sign

an average of 17 percent of the field every time he completes a pass. Get outta here. Why, Brady averages 12.7 yards a completion, and Peyton Manning is at 13. Now I'm guessing both of these numbers will decrease as the season goes on, but then again, will they? 

So then, considering those numbers, that Owens is averaging 20.6 yards per catch would only makes sense, and that number is second to only Tampa Bay wide receiver Joey Galloway's 21.6, but he has only 11 receptions, five less than Owens. And the only receiver to average more than both per catch is, of all people, Sam Hurd, at 23.5, but then again, he has only four receptions. Only two of Owens' 16 catches hasn't gone for a first down. 

Talk about a Big Chunk offense. 

Here's another indicator, and this is more serendipitous than having anything to do with the Cowboys: Players on the teams the Cowboys are playing seem to be dropping like flies. They meet the Giants after Michael Strahan gets in all of like four practices, then the Giants lose pass-rushing defensive end Osi Umenyiora and starting tailback Brandon Jacobs. Then this past Sunday, the Bears were already without safety Mike Brown, and in the course of the game they lose Lance Briggs, Tommie Harris and Nathan Vashar.  

There's more. The winless Rams already have been without Pro Bowl left tackle Orlando Pace (IR), and now they have lost starting guard Mark Setterstrom with a torn ACL. They still will be without offensive tackle Todd Steussie (broken foot) and their other guard, Richie Incognito (ankle sprain) has not played in a regular-season game and is questionable at best for Sunday's noon matchup at Texas Stadium. Then their star running back Steven Jackson will miss at least the Cowboys game with a partially torn groin suffered this past week, and the guy expected to take his place, Brian Leonard, listed as a fullback, has all of four NFL carries. 

And even though meeting the Bills in Buffalo for a Monday night game is two weeks away, the Cowboys already know they won't be facing Bills starting quarterback J.P. Losman, out at least two weeks with a sprained MCL, nor linebacker Paul Pozluzsny, already placed on injured reserve. That means rookie Trent Edwards, a third-round pick in this year's draft, will be the likely starter come Oct. 8. 

Sometimes in a season, things just go your way. 

Lastly, and if this continues, this will definitely become my favorite: The Cowboys are developing a closer's mentality. Get to the fourth quarter, and they bring the hammer. Check this out: The Cowboys have scored 48 of their 116 points in the fourth quarter, meaning they've had something left in their tank. Against the Bears, they took a 17-10 lead into the fourth quarter and lowered the boom with another 17 consecutive points. Against Miami, the Cowboys stretched a 20-13 lead into 30-13, and when the Dolphins drew to 30-20, kaboom, the Cowboys scored the game-sealing touchdown. And if you remember in that season opener, when the Giants closed to 38-35 late in the fourth quarter, the Cowboys slammed the door on them with Hurd's 51-yard touchdown catch and run. 

So let's see, 41 percent of their points have been scored in the fourth quarter, the Cowboys outscoring their opponents in the final frame by 25 points - two more than they have given up in that quarter. 

On top of this, the Cowboys have done seemingly most of their damage running the ball in the final quarter. They have gained 188 of their 439 rushing yards in the fourth quarter, just 72 rushing yards less than they have given up in three games. That on 31 carries, meaning they are averaging 6.1 yards a carry in the fourth, mostly thanks to Marion Barber's breakaway 40- and 54-yard runs. 

Still, to me, that's a great sign of the Cowboys' offensive line, no matter what it has done for three quarters, imparting its will in the fourth - and maybe, just from its sheer poundage up front, wearing down those defensive fronts. That's huge, and dispelling all those summer myths the Cowboys would not be in shape for the early part of the season because of practicing in the air-conditioned Alamodome all summer and then supposedly going through a country club training camp. Remember, they were going to wilt in Texas Stadium

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.