By: Greg Rector
New England 13 Dallas 9
As predicted every intangible went the way of the Patriots last night. In the entire league for the season, there have been 4, just 4 tripping penalties. The Cowboys were called for half of them in yesterday’s game alone. I don’t blame officiating for losses though. The weather was frightful, but that was equal for both sides. It was truly an ugly day, not conducive to a high scoring game to be sure.
The game was pretty much decided as is so often the case for the Cowboys with yet another abhorrent first quarter. A blocked punt which led to the only TD scored, and a horrible throw by Dak that was picked off. Give the Patriots full marks for playing every play to the best of their ability. That’s why they are now 10-1.
The defense was actually very good on the day, with the notable absence of creating turnovers. During the Penn State vs Ohio State game on Saturday in ugly conditions as well, I tweeted “Deaf Cowboys defense, see how important it is to create turnovers?” as the Nittany Lions put themselves right back into that game, by causing turnovers. It is a failing that Marinelli and Richard seem to not emphasize, which I cannot understand for the life of me.
Offensively we saw glimpses of brilliance, combined with a failure to stay with what was working. Yet again the play calling just made no sense. The penalties didn’t help matters either. Elliott and Pollard were fairly effective, but after several plays that moved the ball, suddenly there would be a pass, more often than not it ended up in a stalled drive. The reverse was true as well. Knowing the Patriots would game plan to take away Cooper, which they did to perfection, Cobb and Gallup had a few nice plays. It simply wasn’t enough.
This brings me to my usual complaint, the coaching staff. There was simply no sense of urgency or purpose in this game. You knew at kickoff that the Eagles had lost again. This should have been motivation enough to go out and take the division title by the throat. After the game, JJ threw Garrett under the bus basically. If that’s the case Jerry then why don’t you get rid of him? It’s obvious to so many of us that there’s an acceptance of mediocrity. We despise it, you groan about it on occasion but do nothing. The Patriots exemplify three words that we are taught as Marine Corps recruits, ADAPT, IMPROVISE, and OVERCOME. The Cowboys live by, we’re here, we’re talented, and oops we lost again.
Here’s the perfect example from the offseason. Last year when I was on the Full Monte Show, I pointed out the unsung hero of the season in my opinion, was Damien Wilson, the guy that made life easy for Jaylon and Leighton to do so well last year. Guess where he is now? Kansas City. Meanwhile, an aged and past his prime Sean Lee, the effort is there but he’s so obviously diminished from 5 years ago. Loyalty is nice, but again there’s a guy who can no longer do what’s needed for 60 minutes, instead of a guy that was never a problem, very coachable and performed.