The answer is, “somewhere in the middle,” just like most of the other 19 teams that are 1-1 after two weeks. In Dallas, like just about any other NFL city, the tendency is to overreact, either positively or negatively, after each and every game. But that extreme perception isn’t anywhere close to reality, especially after only two games have been played.
For a lot of fans, the Cowboys’ Week 1 win over the Giants is nothing but a distant memory as they choose to believe Dallas is more like the team that was drubbed in Week 2 than the one that shocked nearly everyone by taking down the champs in the opener.
But don’t start kicking the dog or slapping around the cat and don’t look for the nearest ledge to jump off of just yet. Seriously, if the Cowboys do make the playoffs, will anybody really remember what happened in Seattle? Not that I’m putting Dallas in this team’s class by any means, but will any New England Patriots fan look back at the shocking Week 2 loss to the Arizona Cardinals in January when the Patriots are getting ready for another run to the Super Bowl?
Of course not.
I’m definitely not claiming that everything is great and that there’s no reason to be concerned. The mental lapses early in the game, such as the fumbled kickoff and blocked punt, were a huge problem and obviously need to be corrected immediately. The defense was chewed up and spat out in the second half by a relentless Marshawn Lynch and that’s a huge concern. If starting safeties Gerald Sensabaugh (calf strain) and Barry Church (quad strain) are either out or limited this week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, that is going to be another substantial problem.
But at the same time, the offensive line, which was a huge question mark going into the season, is actually showing signs of possibly being a halfway decent unit (they only allowed one sack against Seattle). Tony Romo will be going up against a Buccaneer pass defense that, to put it mildly, was absolutely shredded by Eli Manning. DeMarco Murray is averaging 5.5 yards per carry. There is an outside chance that Jay Ratliff could return from a sprained ankle, possibly helping shore up the middle of the defensive line and making it tougher for opposing run games.
Beat Tampa Bay and the Cowboys will be at 2-1 and everything will be OK for another week. Lose and the panic level will be at red alert, making this week’s reaction look incredibly tame by comparison.
If they do lose, I’ll be one of those people starting to scout out available ledges around town – and I’ll have a lot of company.