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