Sunday, December 14, 2008
After a very distracting week, the Dallas Cowboys pulled it together (like they said they would) and convincingly beat the NY Giants, 20-8. With Terrell Owens making comments that were not in the team spirit, the 'Boys were, to say the least, in a bit of turmoil. Compound that with some player's admitted frustration of lack of control by the coaches, today's game seemed bleak. It got even more bleak when the offensive line (which wins the Most Similar to Water Award this week) allowed two Giants to tag team Romo and give him a back contusion. However, Tony was resilient and tough, and played through it in obvious pain. This win keeps Dallas in control of their playoff hopes, and winning out will seal the deal. Here are some major takeaways from tonight's game:
1) The Owens, Romo and Witten Issue
Writing this after the game changes a lot. First of all, if anyone else watched the post-game interview, this should now be classified as a "non-issue". Witten, the poor guy, is like the kid who was standing next to the kid who pulled the fire alarm and still got in trouble, and is on a mission to prove his innocence. Romo's sarcastic answer about the team playing the issue up to deflect the game's pressure was a comical and genius way to signal the end of controversy. In fact, all three were laughing and talking at the end of the game and through the interview. So, it all appears good again, as Wade Phillips assured us it would be; however, the cynic has to wonder if the same reaction would have happened had the Cowboys lost.
Now normally, we here at DallasDedicated are not ones in favor of deflecting blame, but Terrell Owens did make a great point tonight. In the interview he said he didn't know where "half of this came from" and that ESPN's Ed Werder fabricated and exaggerated the conflict. He has a point. Ed Werder is notorious for his bating players into controversial answers to provocatively framed questions. This is why many players--Chad Johnson, Clinton Portis, to name a few--refuse to talk to him anymore. Werder relies heavily on his use of "anonymous sources" for his big stories. Moreoever, look at this video shot by a fan in which he called out Werder for so heavily using his "anonymous sources". It gets somewhat heated, and Ed's little goon provides great comedy.
That sums it up nicely. Werder has done nothing but stir up fire in Dallas, and hasn't even had to name where he got any information. So, T.O., two thumbs up from us for airing him out on National TV.
2) The Defense
What a defensive spectacle tonight's game was. Eli Manning was sacked 8 times--three times by DeMarcus "every" Ware and twice by Greg Ellis. Equally as impressive was the pass defense, which only allowed 146 passing yards and intercepted two passes (both courtesy of Terence Newman). And the biggest stat: NO touchdowns. If the defense continues to play at this level, watch out Carolina...or New York...or whoever else. Playing defense against a relatively weak Baltimore offense should not be an issue. Ever since the play calling has shifted from Brian Stewart to Wade Phillips (which has now been admitted publicly, by the way), the defense has been one of the best, if not the best, in the NFL. The Giants were only 3-13 on third down, and the D didn't allow them to get into any rhythm whatsoever.
3) Tashard "The People's" Choice
For the second game in a row, Choice was amazing at the right moments. He finished with 91 yards rushing on only 9 carries and 52 yards receiving, leading the 'Boys in both categories. He single-handedly put the game out of reach. The new debate: Is Tashard someone the Cowboys need to keep as a viable third back, or is he more valuable as offseason trade bait? That's a rather depressing way of looking at it, but it is a real scenario. As much as we at DallasDedicated are fans of Choice, we don't know if his potential will be fully tapped as a third running back behind Marion Barber and Felix Jones. Jerry Jones is all about maximizing his team's value, and he may very well deem Choice a great way to improve the offensive line. But on a happier note, another great game for Choice and scary potential for this fourth-round rookie.
In other news, the Stars have announced that embattled center Sean Avery will not play as a Dallas Star again. A very interesting stance by a team in the dregs of the NHL. Brett Hull and Tom Hicks have chosen a peculiar time to be moral. More on that in the following days.
Also, the Mavs continues to roll, improving each game and still Howard-less. 13-9 and only 1 1/2 games out of first in the Southwest.