Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys played their third game of the season on national television, and this time the boys from Big D. dropped the ball. In a crucial NFC East match up, the Dallas Cowboys were unable to break through against the long time rival Washington Redskins.
The final score on the game read Washington 26 Dallas 24, but anyone who watched the game knew it was no where near that close in reality. It required a two minute drill led by Tony Romo put the Cowboys within two points and give them a chance to convert the onside kick. Before that the Cowboys offense was flat out ineffective. They had a scoring drive early in the game, and then a second one after the Skins botched the opening kickoff to the second half.
What did the Redskins do to slow down this juggernaut of an offense? Nothing special really. They shifted a safety over the top to shadow T.O. and the corners played him tight in man coverage. However that did not stop T.O. from getting his touches. Dallas did everything in their power to get Owens the ball. That included feeding him on two run plays.
The problem with the Dallas offense on Sunday was the lack of varity. The Cowboys only ran 11 running plays during the entire game. Those 11 plays included the two runs that Owens had. That means Felix Jones and Marion Barber only got 9 touches on the ground between them. That is simply inexcusable. The best running back duo in the league must get more than 9 touches combined. Washington knew the Cowboys were dropping back to pass, so they never had to respect the running game. It would have been a perfect opportunity to let Felix Jones pick up some yardage on delayed handoffs and some draw plays.
On the otherside of the ball, the Cowboys rush defense let them down. Clinton Portis looked like a Pro Bowler once again on Sunday. The Redskins offensive line was able to push the Cowboys defensive front around seemingly at will. What made things worse, was when the Cowboys were able to get to the point of attack or put some pressure on Jason Campbell, they were unable to complete tackles. Twice on third and long Cowboy DB’s were unable to bring down Campbell and he found the open receiver for the deep ball.
This was by far the worst game the Cowboys have played all season, and it had nothing to do with the fact that they lost the game. The entire team seemed out of sync. The offense was not gelling and it was obvious that they were forcing the ball to T.O. On defense they were unable to make tackles or get the stop when they needed it. It was also the first time all season that Dallas failed to make a big play on special teams with their return team. Felix Jones was kept bottled up and was unable to give the offense that great field position he has in previous weeks.
What the Cowboys can look forward to is playing the Bengals this upcoming weekend. Cincinnati is 0-4 and struggling to figure out what they are doing. It should be a good chance to work out the kinks in the offense and the defense, and get this team back on track before the deviate too far.