The Dallas Cowboys sit at 7-6 this season, a record which many people believe should be even better. After all, the owner stinks, the coach stinks, the defensive coordinator stinks, and of course Tony Romo stinks, so how is Dallas just one game back of a playoff spot?
Don’t look now, but the Dallas Cowboys are learning to win. If you are reading this and doubting that, allow me to enlighten you.
Last year, the Cowboys blew games at an epic rate. I’m guessing I don’t have to remind any of you the Cowboys lost five games in which they led in the fourth quarter last year. It was tough to watch, especially since the Cowboys fell just short of the playoffs.
Anyone want to guess how many games the Cowboys have lost when they’ve led in the fourth quarter this year? Try zero; zip, none, zilch, nada. However you want to say it, the Cowboys are a perfect 6-0 in those games this season.
There’s more good news, the Cowboys have outscored their opponents in the fourth quarter eight times this season and their record in those games is 6-2. Not only does that mean Dallas is outscoring their opponents in the fourth quarter in over half their games, but it means they are playing their best football when it matters most.
I’m going to repeat that, the Dallas Cowboys are playing their best football when it matters most.
Gone are the collapses in the fourth quarter when they had games in their control. The Dallas Cowboys are learning to win this season, and they are learning to win with a patchwork group. Dallas has been ravaged by injuries this season, yet here they are fighting, battling and clawing their way into the playoff hunt when their season, like many of their best players, could have been over.
I’ve been saying this all season long, so please forgive me for mentioning it again now, the Dallas Cowboys are still rebuilding. It began two years ago, it continued last off-season and it will continue this off-season. The reconstruction of the Cowboys becoming a stronger and tougher team, both physically and mentally, in the Jason Garrett era is working. It’s also why there is no way Jerry Jones makes a coaching change.
If you doubt that, ask yourself this question, would the Cowboys of year’s past have won the game against the Cinicinnati Bengals? Down by nine points on the road, with all the emotion of what happened the day before the game? If you’re being honest, you can’t answer that with a yes.
The Cowboys have been killed by injuries and put into a ton of tough positions this season, yet they continue to fight, no matter the score or the situation. These are good signs for the Cowboys, they’re coming together for the future, it doesn’t take just one or two years, it’s a ‘process’ as Garrett likes to say.
Last year the Cowboys were losing too many fourth quarters and too many close games, this year the Cowboys are learning to win. Who knows what these Dallas Cowboys can do next year?
First things first though, let’s see how they finish out this season. I just felt this needed to be said, despite what you think of the 2012 Cowboys, they are learning how to win and it’ll pay dividends down the road.
you can contact or follow Ben on twitter @BenGrimaldi