Heroes & Zeroes
Heroes & Zeroes
Denver Broncos 17 Dallas Cowboys 10
What a horrible game. After hearing the score (as soon as the holiday ended), I almost considered not bothering to watch the replay. But I suffered through it just so I could report back to you.
Aren't I special?
After watching this debacle disguised as an NFL game, I'm left with a few thoughts, and most are not pleasant. For one thing, as I watched what perhaps was his worst performance of his career, Tony Romo looked pedestrian at best. It seemed to me that he lost his confidence and he never took the chances in this game that made him so exceptional. My theory is that after being roasted in the press over the past few weeks, he decided to stop taking chances. If this is the case (and it continues), then the season is over.
It also seems (and has for almost three years now), that this team really does have the personality of its head coach. Neither seems to have any fire, nor do either have enough talent to win just by showing up - as it seemed they tried to do today.
Marion Barber, Running Back -- On a day where there were very few positives on the offensive side of the line, Barber stood out. He scored the teams only touchdown and averaged over 4 yards a carry. Unfortunately, since he was still nursing a sore groin, he was limited to only 3 plays in the second half. Tashard Choice did a decent job in his place (Felix Jones missed the game due to yet another injury). But once Barber left the game, the offense fell apart. It was no coincidence.
Keith Brooking, Linebacker -- Brooking, the former All-Pro who came over from Atlanta in the off-season, mas all over the place today. He was credited with 9 tackles, but made a number of plays in addition. He was a big reason the defense held Denver just 10 offensive points (well, 10, if you consider that the Broncos only needed 9 yards for their first TD).
Nick Folk, Kicker -- Folk only had one opportunity today, but he once again proved to be money in the bank by making a 49-yard kick in the less-than-perfect thin air of Invesco field.
Tony Romo, Quarterback -- I believe this was the worst game of Romo's career. He constantly missed open receivers and it seemed his usual ability to escape from trouble was missing. If Romo was trying to calm his critics - by not taking any chances - then he should be benched for a week or two until he recognizes what's wrong with his game. But if he simply had a bad game, then hey, it happens. Regardless, he was awful today.
Jay Ratliff, Nose Guard -- This one is a surprise. Ratliff has played exceptionally well so far this season. But his personal foul penalty (helmet-to-helmet hit on Kyle Orton) may have cost them the game. Instead of forcing a 4th and very long, it gave Denver new life on their way to the winning score.
Wade Phillips, Head Coach -- This team is clearly reflecting the personality of their coach. That is not a good thing. The first problem today was the way Wade (or Jason Garrett, who was under instruction from Phillips) simply sat out the last 2 minutes of the first half. The Cowboys had the ball with 2 minutes left and began to move the ball. But then...stopped. In addition, his sitting Barber, who was seen begging to re-enter the game, was ridiculous. The Cowboys look lost, confused and out of sync. That is the mark of poor coaching. They clearly were not prepared to play today.
The good news is that this was a road loss against a non-conference foe. It's still early in the season and they should handily defeat the Chiefs next week (like everyone else). The bad news is that - as Bill Parcells loves to say - you are what your record says you are. The Cowboys, right now, are mediocre at 2-2. How they respond will not really be known for three weeks (after Kansas City, they play Atlanta). They have the personnel to be great. But until they begin to take these games seriously, they will remain average at best.
Here is my pick for next week: