I am always bitter and angry after any loss by the Dallas Cowboys, but some of them get to me far more than others, and this past Sunday’s debacle at Green Bay really struck a nerve.This isn’t sour grapes: The Packers are a good football team, and they were fighting for their playoff lives. They outplayed the Cowboys on the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and deserved the victory. Hell, they even deserved the shutout they had until the Cowboys scored a meaningless touchdown with under one minute left.
The reasons why I’m so ticked are basically a horrible game plan and a complete lack of halftime adjustments, which, as poorly as the players executed, falls squarely on the coaching staff.
I am not comparing Marion Barber III, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice to Jim Brown, Gale Sayers and Emmitt Smith. However, they are three solid NFL running backs. Why did the Cowboys only run the ball 14 times?
The score at halftime was 3-0, not 30-0, yet the Cowboys completely abandoned the run. Even worse, Green Bay had constant pressure on Tony Romo after tackle Marc Colombo left the game with a broken leg, yet it seemed like all the Cowboys were trying to do was throw the ball downfield. When an opponent is as successful at creating pressure as the Packers were Sunday, wouldn’t the smart thing be to run the football and run quick-developing pass plays or screens to counter the pass rush? Yet the Cowboys offense tried to duplicate the Al Davis Raiders and throw deep on every play. Perhaps James Jett would like to come out of retirement?
And don’t even get me started on Roy Williams. If you want the ball so badly, why not try catching it and holding onto it, instead of fumbling away momentum and dropping passes in your hands?
Green Bay defensive coordinator Dom Capers, who knows a hell of a lot more about football than I do, said the same things I just said: “The game became one-dimensional. You can just go out and blitz, but if people are going to run the ball for big yardage on you, you’re foolish.” Actually, what was foolish was abandoning the run.
The quote from super genius head coach Wade Phillips: “We’d like to be more balanced, certainly. We had 218 yards rushing against them last year.” If I’m not mistaken, as head coach, your job is to point this out during the game, and not the day after the game. On Felix Jones: “We need to feature him more. The delays out of the backfield, we’ve seen him have big plays on and then the running game. But it didn’t work that way in this game.” Why not? Again, isn’t that your job?
The Cowboys got outplayed. It happens. That’s life in the National Football League — on any given Sunday. But the coaching staff also did nothing to put the players in a better position to win the game, and there’s no excuse for that.
Does anyone still think Jason Garrett is an offensive genius?