Better Play-Calling Would Keep Dallas Cowboys From Playing Bad Teams Close

By Jeric Griffin

The main thing everyone took away from the Dallas Cowboys’ 27-23 win over the Minnesota Vikings in Week 10 is the game-winning drive orchestrated by Tony Romo that resulted in a Dwayne Harris touchdown with under a minute to play. Because of that, the glaring problem that kept the Vikings in the game to begin with will go overlooked: horrible offensive play-calling. For the fans, it’s not that big of a deal. But for the mentally-weak folks within the Cowboys’ organization, that oversight could cost the team the division title — again — or it could ensure an early playoff exit for Dallas.

The Vikings are terrible. Period. A team like the Cowboys — one that went toe-to-toe with the Denver Broncos — should have beaten Minnesota by at least two touchdowns. That probably would have happened had the Cowboys continued to feed DeMarco Murray, who ripped of a 27-yard gain on his team’s first drive.

He got two carries the rest of the game.

The Cowboys ran the ball a grand total of eight times as opposed to 51 pass attempts by Romo, who was sacked three times and scrambled on one other attempt, so he actually dropped back to pass 55 times. A 55:8 run-to-pass ratio in an NFL game by the winning team that trailed by no more than four points the entire game is absolutely absurd.

How does a player who averaged 7.8 yards per carry not receive more than four touches? Sure, the Cowboys didn’t need to ride Murray heavily in his first game back from a knee injury, but four carries? There are no words to describe the stupidity of that stat.

Did Jason Garrett and Bill Callahan forget that Joseph Randle, Lance Dunbar and Phillip Tanner are all on the team? The former two combined for four carries while the latter didn’t see the field on offense. Randle’s one carry went for three yards, so apparently that wasn’t enough to give him a second. Dunbar’s first carry was sniffed out by Minnesota’s defense on an extremely predictable play call (big shocker), so he wasn’t used either.

Are the Cowboys’ coaches really that impatient and undisciplined? Apparently not because Murray didn’t get any work after his 27-yard scamper. So the only other explanation is ignorance, right?

First-time Madden NFL video game players never pick running plays, even if the one the game accidentally chooses for them works. Are we really to the point that the Cowboys’ coaches are comparable to that? After looking at the stats against the Vikings, it’s not farfetched.

This is why the Cowboys can play tough with teams like Denver and then struggle to beat teams like Minnesota: The team simply has no mental toughness whatsoever. And don’t blame the players because they don’t have a chance — the coaches set the example and right now that pattern is about as sound as Jerry Jones’ “40-year-old brain.” Oh, and Jerry is the one setting the example for the coaches, so there’s the source of that domino effect. You know what they say about stuff flowing downhill…

And folks wonder why this team sits at .500. The Cowboys are 134-138 since their playoff win in 1996, despite all the talented players that have played and are still playing in Dallas.

Mental toughness. Self-discipline. Gotta have it.

The Cowboys’ next game is on the road against the New Orleans Saints in primetime. We’ll see if Romo even gets a chance to put together a game-winning drive against that title-contending team. If that potential drive includes his 50th pass attempt of the game, don’t bet on it.

Jeric Griffin is the Director of Content for Follow him on Twitter @JericGriffin, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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