FRISCO, Texas – These Cowboys, they just defy logic. Again and Again.
Usually we can reason what we're seeing before our very eyes with a dose of common sense and a dose of historical perspective.
Un-uh, not with these 2016 Cowboys. They kick logical thinking and history to the curb, just the way they have kicked the past 10 opponents, including Baltimore and Washington in a five-day span this week, leaving both, as I continue to say, shaking their heads while probably saying as if chasing Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid:
"Who are these guys?"
They must be driving those analytical geeks mad, punching and re-punching numbers into their hard drives while trying to make sense out of the numerical evidence they have to work with.
But you know what? Sometimes you just have to use your eyes. You have to believe in what you are truly seeing. These games we play are not always about numbers. They are about people, and there is not a computer in the world that can analyze a man's heart, a man's soul, a man's brain.
And there certainly is no way to qualify momentum.
What we're seeing, darn it, is just not practical.
Look, this is the 57th season in Dallas Cowboys franchise history, one beginning in 1960. The Cowboys have been to eight Super Bowls. They have won five. The Cowboys have been to 16 NFL/NFC title games. They have won eight. They set an NFL record with 20 consecutive winning seasons from 1966 through 1985. They have 15 franchise members in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and as discreetly as they've been, have put 21 players in their own Ring of Honor.
A storied history loaded with generational-quality players. Some, in their day, worthy of GOAT nomination.
Yet, within 11 games, these 2016 Dallas Cowboys, the same ones written off before training camp even began, and most certainly after Tony Romo and Kellen Moore went down before the season even began, are making a mockery of so many statistical markers. Look, no previous Cowboys team had ever won more than eight consecutive games in one season. These Cowboys have won 10 straight, and counting.
The longest combined winning streak in franchise history is 11 straight, over the end of the 1968 season and beginning of 1969. These Cowboys then are a win Thursday night over Minnesota away of equaling that.
The best start to a season is 12-1, achieved by the 2007 Cowboys. The next best? This current 10-1, so not quite there … yet.
The best 16-game record in franchise history is 13-3, set in 1992 and matched in 2007. These Cowboys need go only 3-2 over the final five to equal that.
[embeddedad0]The best one-season turnaround in franchise history is going from 1-15 in 1989 to 7-9 in 1990, a six-game improvement. The 10-1 Cowboys have already matched that, having gone 4-12 last season, yet still with five more games to play.
Amazing. Not a soul saw this coming after 11 games.
Or if history is not your thing, let's simply take Thanksgiving Day, further stretching the boundaries of believability.
I mean, Washington totals 505 yards. Quarterback Kirk Cousins throws for 449 yards, completing 41-of-53 attempts or 77 percent of his passes. He never once is sacked.
And Dallas, for the fourth consecutive game, does not get a takeaway.
Then on top of all that, the Cowboys total their fewest yards since the season opener, just 353, only the third time posting less than 400 yards this year. Rookie quarterback Dak Prescott throws for a career-low 195 yards. The Redskins dominate the time of possession 33:24 to 26:36, so no surprise the Cowboys' 55 offensive plays were the fewest in the past six games.
Yet they beat those Redskins, 31-26, pushing their record against the once most-despised opponent to 7-1 on Thanksgiving Day, again creating Capitol Indigestion on Turkey Day for the Hog and Hogette faithful. You can't find this stuff on the non-fiction shelves at the Barnes & Noble.
See what I'm talking about? Doesn't make statistical or historical sense.
Help me then, Jason Garrett. How can a team score on five of seven full possessions in a game, making this streak 10 of 12 when adding in the final five in the Baltimore game? How does your quarterback complete 26-of-28 passes in the fourth quarters of the past four games? How does your offense, with the game on the line and pressure building, then score 38 points in the past three fourth quarters to twice overcome deficits at Pittsburgh, to pull away from but a seven-point lead against Baltimore and then to twice distance themselves when the Redskins had pulled within five?
"If you look back at the games over the course of the season, we've won games a lot of different ways," says the Cowboys' head coach. "We've been ahead, we've been behind, we've been tied, we've been up by a score, we've been down by a score, we've had to come back a couple of times within a game, so I just think the guys stay focused.
"They stay focused on the task of what they need to do to win each situation. There is a lot of poise. There is a lot of composure. There is a deep down belief and confidence that guys have that we're going to do what we need to do to win a ball game."
Win they do, again and again and again, somehow, someway.
This brings me back to earlier in the season when the Cowboys first got by Washington, pummeled Chicago, came from behind against San Francisco, then made key plays offensively and defensively to beat Cincinnati and Green Bay. I would quiz six-time Pro Bowl guard and three-time Super Bowl champ Nate Newton if a team, with obvious defensive deficiencies, could continue to exist on a timely play here, a timely play there, while void of defensive domination.
Big Nate would tell me, "They sure can, if that's who they are."
After 11 games, count me in as a believer – this is who they are.
And maybe Tony Romo had it right last week during his address to seemingly the nation when he said, "I think we all know something magical is happening to our team."
You know, who are we to argue with that, to me the most logical of explanations.