The Dallas Cowboys blew a golden opportunity Monday night. They went into last night tied with the New York Giants at 3-2, and the game's winner would be alone in first place in the East Division of the NFL. But it was not to be for the Cowboys. They lost to the Giants 36-22, and dropped their record for the year to 3-3.
This loss was a team effort. Neither the offense nor the defense played well. The offense could not run or pass, and the Giants rush got to the quarterback far too often. In fact, the offense played so poorly that Coach Parcells replaced starting quarterback, Drew Bledsoe, with his back-up, Tony Romo, for the second half. It didn't help. Romo played just as poorly, and had three passes intercepted. But this was not just the quarterbacks playing poorly. The offensive line couldn't seem to block anyone for the run or the pass. Runners were stopped for no gain too often, and the receivers could not seem to get open most of the time. Even T.O. dropped two passes that definitely should have been caught.
Speaking of T.O., when are we going to get to see the "great receiver" that he's supposed to be. So far, T.O. has been just an average receiver for the Cowboys. We've seen the injuries and the complaining, but very little of the "greatness".
I don't want to let the defense off the hook either. They played very poorly. They went into the game as the league leader against the run, but Tiki Barber just ran the ball down their throats, and became the first runner this year to run for 100 yards against the Cowboys. The pass rush was anemic again, giving the Giants enough time to make multiple big plays. This certainly did not look like the awesome defense they were supposed to be.
At the beginning of the season, I thought the Cowboys had a very good team. Last night has me rethinking that. So far this season, they have been a very average football team. Unless they get a lot better quickly, there will be no playoffs for this year.
It doesn't get any easier next week. On Sunday night, the Cowboys will go to Carolina to play the Panthers. Carolina is a very good team, and if the Cowboys play like they did last night, they will be embarassed again.