For those of you who have grown accustomed to the season recaps I have been posting on Tuesdays, I again apologize that this one is so late. Week seven’s Monday night home matchup against the New York Giants was a turning point of sorts for the Cowboys’ 2010 season, but not for the reason’s one might think.
For the fifth time this season, Dallas came up with a loss, and once again, the Cowboys lost by one score. Overshadowing the final score in this one was something more important. This was the game in which Tony Romo broke his left collarbone, prematurely ending his season, and along with it, the Cowboys’ skin-of-their-teeth playoff hopes.
One thing that writer Matt Mosely points out that is interesting to look back on deals with Wade Phillips’ future with the team.
“Now you have to wonder whether Tony Romo’s injury could provide Jerry Jones with the excuse he needs to keep Phillips around. With the way the Cowboys’ defense played Monday, however, Phillips doesn’t have much to hang his hat on.”
As we all know, that certainly wasn’t the case for Phillips. While Jones publicly supported him on several occasions early in the year, the continuing decline of this team left Jones with little choice but to get rid of Phillips. That’s not for a few weeks yet, so I’ll try not to get too far ahead of myself.
And now for the glorious highlights:
Just as it has always been the first half of this season, the Cowboys were in this game, and they actually held the lead for awhile. Two early Eli Manning interceptions let Dallas build a 10-0 lead, and in the second quarter they held a 20-7 lead. However, the Giants promptly came back and led by four points at intermission, 24-20.
It only got worse in the third quarter, as Dallas slipped farther and farther out of this game. By the time the fourth quarter began, the deficit had increased to 18 points, as New York reeled off 31 straight points. A couple of garbage time touchdowns and a failed onside kick attempt at the end yielded a respectable score in a game that started off in Dallas’ favor but quickly swung in the other direction for the rest of the night.
Part of this could be attributed to Romo’s injury, as he went out early in the second quarter when Dallas had a 10-7 lead. As Mosley states in his recap, the Cowboys even increased their lead before folding, which is somewhat odd. Kitna played alright in Romo’s stead, but he had zero help from the running game. When a guy like Kitna hasn’t taken a meaningful snap since week five of the 2008 season, what can you really expect? He threw two touchdowns and no interceptions (though he did lose a fumble), so this loss isn’t on him.
No, once again the golden turkey award goes to the defense (mostly). All you have to do is skim through the highlights and count up all the missed tackles to figure out what happened. All told, Dallas gave up 200 yards rushing and Manning had 300 yards passing. Yeah, he did throw three interceptions, but he also had four touchdowns.
The only real bright spots were Jason Witten, nine catches for 95 yards and a touchdown, and Dez Bryant, who caught four passes for 54 yards and two touchdowns, along with a 93 yard punt return score. Bryant gives me hope for the future, as it seems that he is quickly becoming the main man in terms of big, game changing plays.
The box score is kind of strange for this one. For once, Dallas had fewer turnovers (five to two), and fewer penalty yards (46-42), but it still didn’t matter. To counter that, the Giants had almost twice as many total yards, and they held the ball for a full quarter longer than Dallas. Throw in a first down disparity (25-14) and the improvement in these problem areas was more than negated.
Well, there’s not much else to say about this one. The Cowboys lost and Romo’s season ended.
Record to this point: 1-5