Amazingly, it was just 4 short weeks ago that the Cowboys were the toast of the NFC. As they entered the last quarter of the season, they stood at 8-4, coming off of a 4 game winning streak, poised to run the table against a rather weak schedule the rest of the way.
Or so it seemed.
With yet another no-show buy the Cowboy's beleaguered defence, Dallas limped out of Texas Stadium to a chorus of boos not heard around those parts since before big Bill Parcells came to town.
And deservedly so.
Now, I can whine about the horrible - and I do mean HORRIBLE - call against Terrance Newman on the opening play, when Roy Williams intercepted a pass and ran for a Touchdown, a mere seconds into the game. The play was called back because Newman hit the receiver after the pass passed him. It clearly was a ridiculous call and it immediately changed the beginning tone of the game.
But, alas, that wasn't what did our heroes in this day. Even with Tony Romo-mentum adlibing from the line of scrimmage and making a valiant game of it, the Cowboy's O-Line and D-Line played more like the 2-13 Lions should have than the 9-6, playoff-bound Cowboys did. If not for the tremendous efforts of Pro-Bowl bound DeMarcus Ware, they 'Boys could very well have let up 40, 50 or even 60 points.
They were THAT bad.
Detroit Lions offensive line, however, wasn't that much better. But then again, they couldn't have been worse. In fact, starting for the Lions was one Stephen Peterman. For you glutton's of punishment, Peterman was a high draft choice for the Cowboys three years ago. However, big Bill decided that the big guy simply couldn't play in this league.
Peterman not only played, but didn't allow a sack. In the meantime, Peterman's counterpart on Dallas, Marco Rivera, spent more time on sitting on his butt than taking on the ferocious (read: normally inept) Lion defensive line.
Now, I'm not really sure I understand what has happened to this team. Suddenly, the team that was crowned "most likely to defeat the Bears" has suddenly found themselves softer than Winnie the Pooh. In the last 4 weeks, they have surrendered 15 touchdown passes. At that rate, over an entire season, that would smash the NFL record by 10 (60-50).
You could blame part of it on the loss of Greg Ellis, who broke his leg about 2 months ago. But that's only part of the story. A big part of the blame, in my opinion, lies with head coach Bill Parcells.
Why? Because when Ellis went down, the man who should have replaced him was first-round draft choice Bobby Carpenter.
And why didn't Carpenter replace him? According to Bill, he wasn't ready. According to Bill Parcells, the guy picked with the 18th pick in the NFL draft wasn't ready to play a full 3 months into the season.
While lower picks Joseph Addai, Lawrence Mulroney, DeAngelo Williams, Devon Hester and Maurice Drew are tearing up the league, Bobbie Carpenter can't play.
Apparently, neither can Stephen Peterman, Aveion Cason and Dan Campbell - all starters for the Lions and rejects from big Bill's camps.
There is something wrong here and while I will not pin all the blame on Bill Parcell's shoulder's, I have to begin wondering if maybe he is no longer the come-all, be-all of NFL head coaches. In the four years since he arrived, he is yet to win a post-season game and hasn't come close to putting his team in a position to win a Super Bowl.
Maybe he gets one more year. After all, he did inherit a simply horrific team in 2003. But then again, that team reached the playoffs that year. Since then, big Bill has filled his roster with HIS guys.
The result? The same number of wins as last year (9), which is one less than he had his first year here (10).
While this season isn't yet over, I have little confidence this team can beat Seattle next week. Even if they should somehow stop Hasselback, Alexander and company, what follows will most assuredly be a trip to Chicago or New Orleans (or both). The way the Cowboy defense has been playing, the closest Dallas gets to either of these two cities is on DirectTV.
What the hell happened???