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Cowboys vs. Titans Week 5 Initial Post-Game Reactions, Observations

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Jonathan Bales

What a horrid game.  Note that I have yet to review the film, so I should have more answers as to why the Cowboys struggled by tonight or tomorrow.  It may take me some time to regain the mentality needed to be at least somewhat objective.  Here we go. . .

  • Let’s start with it.  The excessive celebration penalty was garbage.  Jason Witten handed the ball off to Marc Colombo to spike not as part of a pre-planned team celebration, but simply as a way to allow one of the big fellas–who never get to celebrate–to join in on the fun.  Witten wasn’t even part of the celebration.  The call may be correct by the letter of the rule (although even that is debatable), but it certainly misses the spirit of the rule.  Awful job by the refs.

  • That call really did change the entire dynamic of the game.  Instead of a probable touchback (Buehler has a higher percentage of touchbacks when kicking right to left on your television screen, which he was doing on the ensuing kickoff), the Cowboys had to kick from their own 15-yard line.  They then allowed a huge return, and a facemask penalty gave the Titans the ball at the Cowboys’ 5-yard line.
  • Having that all of that, the Cowboys did have opportunities to win the football game.  First, they shouldn’t have even been in that position.  Penalties are killing this team, and until they stop, the ‘Boys will continue to lose.  Secondly, Dallas could have stopped the kick returner.  Yes, it was a harder task with so much open field, but certainly not impossible.  Third, they still had 3:30 minutes to score after Chris Johnson punched in the final touchdown.  They didn’t, of course, and the bad celebration call seems more important than perhaps it truly is.
  • I take issue with another late call which shaped the game: the offensive pass interference call on Miles Austin on the Cowboys’ second-to-last drive.  The play was a playaction look and screen to Dez Bryant.  Austin blocked his man just a fraction of a second before Bryant caught the ball, so again, it is a penalty by the letter of the rule.  But there needs to be some consistency in this call.  Earlier in the game, Austin blocked his guy well downfield and much earlier in the same  play and was not flagged.  If you are going to let him do it then, you have to remain consistent with that call late in the game.
  • Miles Austin may be the best receiver in the league right now.  He has everything: speed, size, power, hands, run-after-catch ability.  He’s the total package, and the Cowboys would have gotten blown out yesterday if it wasn’t for him.
  • I saw rookie nose tackle Josh Brent in on some plays for Dallas.  He seems to be a steal in the supplemental draft.
  • Keith Brooking looks terrible in space.  He’s poor in coverage and has trouble breaking down to tackle when he must cover semi-long distances.  The Cowboys put Jason Williams, then Danny McCray in at nickel linebacker later in the game.  I thought McCray performed really well, but I need to watch some tape.
  • If you are going to give Felix Jones more reps, why take them from Tashard Choice?  They should come from Marion Barber, who still doesn’t look explosive, even with adequate rest.
  • Leonard Davis was benched early in the game in favor of Montrae Holland.  He performed poorly, but I didn’t think he should be pulled.  Holland is even slower than Davis, and certainly not an upgrade.  If anyone should have been yanked, I thought it was Colombo.  He was getting manhandled the entire first half.  Again, I need to watch the film.
  • Bradie James’ short absence from the ballgame reminds us just how important he is to the defense.  The Cowboys replaced him with Leon Williams–quite a downgrade, huh?
  • Mike Jenkins had his worst game as a professional.  I’ve never seen him get turned around like that and have such trouble tracking the football.  He has the best ball skills of any Cowboys cornerback, but he looked like an undrafted rookie yesterday.  Orlando Scandrick performed pretty poorly as well, but Terence Newman was his normal Pro-Bowl caliber self.  When he’s healthy, he’s one of the top cover men in the NFL.
  • Romo threw three picks, but I thought he played really well considering the amount of pressure that was on him.  The first interception that bounced off of Martellus Bennett’s hands was a bad decision, but the second pick was tipped and the third was forced into coverage due to the game situation (down seven very late in the game).

I will begin looking at the game tape and try to post my game review tonight or tomorrow.

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9 Responses to Cowboys vs. Titans Week 5 Initial Post-Game Reactions, Observations

  1. chris stallcup says:

    plus side offense put up points, downside too many penalties

  2. Omar says:

    133 yards in penalties, the team is undisciplined…which is on the coach; the penalties have haunted this team for a while and it’s shown. Wade Phillips should have been fired after that god awful showing in Philly in the 2008 season, but since he wasn’t Jerry should take this opportunity to make a change. At this rate he’s not going to be there next year, so they may as well let a guy who has a shot at being coach next year have a chance with the team.

  3. Mark Watkins says:

    Just nauseous after that game. They continued to play sloppy, undisciplined football and as is often the case, looked unprepared. I still believe it starts with Wade Phillips. This team has too much talent to be playing as they have been. I’d love to see a new coach, but even if Jerry brings someone else in, he will most likely bring in another yes man who will be too weak willed to bring about serious and much needed change. And Jerry will continue to attempt to build a championship team by himself so he can stroke his enormous ego. It’s a sad situation, very similar to what Al Davis, Jerry’s mentor, has done with the Raiders. I feel like their window of opportunity is passing and I fear that we may end up with a similar situation to what the Raiders now have. I hope that Jerry doesn’t completely lose his sense of reality, as Al has done, and allow this team to go entirely downhill.

  4. Vince Grey says:

    Team wide loss. O-line was manhandled at times, Two of Romo’s picks looked to be on him, especially that last one trying to force a ball into Witten, who was clearly covered. The celebration rule may be stupid, at least in that instance, but Witten damn sure should have known better. Overall, I thought the receivers played very well.

    The defense continues to be irritatingly inconsistent. No where near the dominant force they seemed to be becoming at the end of last season.

    I’m pretty hesitant to blame Wade for the penalties. After all, he’s not the one committing them. That said, not having the team ready, after a bye week AND at home, is definitely on him and the staff. He doesn’t seem to have any desire to seriously hold guys accountable for poor play or silly mistakes. Jimmy would likely cut someone after a 1-3 start and a game like that. It was harsh, but it made for a great attention-getter.

    I know this: We don’t have many losses left if we plan on making the playoffs. Probably have to go 10-2, 9-3, the rest of the way at worst.

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  6. Mark–I am starting to become very impatient with Phillips as well, but I wouldn’t compare JJ to Al Davis. JJ has actually been a fairly good GM the last five years, while Davis is just insane.

    Vince–Yeah, 9-3 at worst…going to be very difficult with the upcoming schedule and the way the ‘Boys are playing. I don’t think the last pick was totally on Romo though. Yeah he forced it into coverage, but at that point he had to make throws like that. No sense in being conservative, so I’d give it a 50/50 split of blame between Romo and the game situation.

  7. Pingback: Dallas Cowboys-Tennessee Titans Week 5 Review: What We Learned About Dallas – Top Sports Hub

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  9. john coleman says:

    Too many penalties and no forced turnovers. I am really tired of Romo getting blasted for picks that weren’t his fault. The last one I agree he was trying to go downfield and game situation dictated that. The last one to Bennett, I question the play call to start with. The one Bennett tipped was a little high, but I believe if you get your hands on it, you catch it. Sad sad way to lose. that was probably our best offensive game of the year. The defense wasn’t as bad as it seems either. The penalties and turnovers made them look bad. The DBs other than Newman were terrible. Brooking looks like he is in his final season.

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