I am officially out of things to say about this Dallas Cowboys team. Every Sunday is a new adventure and this week they beat the Carolina Panthers despite playing an ugly game and making the same mistakes that has plagued the team for years. Their roller coaster season continued today and in honor of the Cowboys ups and downs, I’m going to look at both sides of how they played. I’m going congratulate and criticize, this is part 1.
It wasn’t a pretty game but the Cowboys got the most important thing, a win. I’m not going to glorify the Cowboys win today but there were some real positives that I’m not seeing many people talk about. Weren’t we all saying how the Cowboys never seem to find a way to win? Wasn’t it just last week that Dallas didn’t have the makeup to win close games? Yet today they do exactly that, they found a way to win and it appears to me that fans still aren’t happy.
This “ugly” win gives the Cowboys a 3-3 record, and gives them some positive momentum, and psyche, heading towards a tough three game stretch where their season could be made or broken. The NFL is a tough game to play well every week, especially on the road, and the Cowboys are trying to find ways to be consistent but there’s also something to fighting your way to a win when you don’t play your best.
I don’t care how you get them, a win is never a bad thing. The drops continue to be a problem, so are the dumb penalties and the injury situation is not good but stay with me here Cowboys fans because this team looked very good in a lot of other areas.
The Cowboys offensive line didn’t perform as well as it did last week and losing Phil Costa will be a big blow but they Cowboys still managed to be effective running the ball and protecting Tony Romo. Romo wasn’t sacked and was rarely hurried. The running game wasn’t as good as it was against the Baltimore Ravens but they ran it well enough to keep the defense honest and I liked seeing Phillip Tanner run with power and speed. He gives them a fresh pair of legs who hits the hole fast and hard, something neither Felix Jones or DeMarco Murray do.
This week I wrote how Tony Romo needed to improve his play if the Cowboys wanted to win consistently and he looked good today. He missed Miles Austin in the first quarter which cost them some points but other than that he was on target. The Cowboys receivers continue to hurt him with dropped passes, especially the one to Dez Bryant which should have been a touchdown, but Romo was very accurate today. The touchdown pass to Austin was a thing of beauty.
The best thing about today though, was the Cowboys defense. They had a tough assignment against a quarterback who poses a lot of problems and they played well. Rob Ryan’s defense didn’t play Cam Newton perfectly on the run option but their pass defense was good and the pass rush was great. They put constant pressure on Newton and would’ve gotten more sacks if he weren’t a physical freak at quarterback.
For those of you who wonder why the Cowboys gave Anthony Spencer the franchise tag, today he showed you. He was an absolute star; he pushed around the Panthers linemen and collapsed the pocket all day long. He also showed up in the run game, making a few key tackles and Spencer was the best Cowboys defender on the day by far.
Perhaps a close second was Josh Brent. We tend to look at Sean Lissemore as the “underrated” guy on the Cowboys defensive line but Josh Brent was very good today. His push in the middle forced Newton rush his throws or escape the pocket where, for the most part, the Cowboys had contain.
Overall the Cowboys effort was good and they did play well in some areas. Of course it wasn’t a perfect game for the Cowboys but they left Carolina with a win, which is all we’ll remember in a dew days.
The Dallas Cowboys get bashed enough when they lose, so today, let’s applaud the win. I’ll save the bashing for Part 2, tomorrow.
you can follow Ben on twitter @BenGrimaldi or “Like” on Facebook