Heroes & Zeroes
Heroes & Zeroes
Green Bay Packers 17 Dallas Cowboys 7
Just prior to kickoff, I gave a shudder and thought (for some reason) that this could be a "trap" game. You know, when it looks so obvious that one team is going to walk away with an easy win - after all, the Packers have let up 38 points two games straight, and they have a very suspect offensive line). But as I thought that, I then reconsidered because this is a more mature Cowboys team and since inserting Miles Austin into the lineup, a far more potent one also.
But then the omens began. First, Nick Folks misses his first kick inside the 40 all year, then when they finally seem to figure it out and throw a long completion to Roy Williams, he fumbles it away, along with whatever momentum the Cows built up.
There is plenty of blame for losing to the Packers today, so let's get to it.
Tony Romo, Quarterback -- Yes, he threw an interception in the red zone, but that was a ridiculous catch by defender Charles Woodson. Romo was sacked 5 times and harassed all day. But he put the team in position to score and possibly win. Even though he had no running game supporting him (what was that all about), lost his starting right tackle and had numerous mind numbing drops, he single-handidly kept Dallas in the game.
Anthony Spencer, Linebacker -- I've not been very impressed with Spencer this year, but he deserves praise for his play today. The biggest knock on him is that he isn't Greg Ellis and has yet to record a sack. But he came close a number of times and was all over the field making plays today. The better he gets, the more the opposition will have to respect him and take some pressure off DeMarcus Ware.
Mat McBriar, Kicker -- It's about time I gave some love to the Cowboys' punter. He has been incredibly consistent (as always) and is having his best year, after losing half of last season to a broken foot. While his average was down this game, he leads the league in punts inside the 20 and has been the difference in a number of games with his accuracy.
Roy Williams, Wide Reciever -- I know what you're thinking - How can I call a guy who had 5 catches, 105 yards and a TD a zero? Well, I can when said player fumbles on a crucial play, doesn't go after an underthrown pass (that could have been intercepted because he didn't come back for it) and drops a sure 3rd down pass that would have kept their best drive of the day going. In addition, I am very sick of his antics whenever he gets a first down. He's not Michael Irvin, so stop acting like it.
Curtis Johnson, Linebacker -- This is really more because of his play on special teams. Johnson, who rarely sees action on defense had two bone-headed penalties called on him on kick coverage. In Jimmy Johnson's day, he would have been kicked off the team for his transgressions. But being Wade Phillips' team, stupid penalties have become an acceptable evil.
Jason Garrett, Offensive Coordinator -- There is really no excuse for what happened today. Green Bay was reeling, after two games in row (Tampa Bay and Minnesota) where they let up 38 points. After the first half, when it seemed there was a Packer in Romo's face the whole time, the Cow's seemed to make no real adjustments. Only down 3, Garrett abandoned the run (the first two runs of the game by Barber went for 20 yards - he only carried the ball 3 more times all day for additional 6 yards). That was the main reason Green Bay was able to control the clock (almost 2:1 by the end of the 3rd quarter).
The hope is that this game was a mere "bump" in an otherwise seamless road. But this game looked awfully like the loss earlier this year against Denver. Both teams play a 3-4 style defense and you would think that since Dallas plays it as well, they would know how to defeat it. On the other hand, this was "do or die" for the Packers and to their credit, they didn't lay down and die. The Cows, however, need to realize that while they are still alone in first place in the NFC East, they aren't good enough to just show up against lesser teams and expect to win.