N.Y. Giants 37, Dallas 34: Cowboys’ Pathetic Collapse Is All Too Familiar
The features of the 2011 Dallas Cowboys:
(1) We get to see shot after shot of Rob Ryan for no real reason.
(2) The Cowboys completely rip our guts out by finding yet another way to blow a game.
Dallas took a 34-22 lead over the Giants with 5:41 when Tony Romo hit Dez Bryant on a 50-yard touchdown pass. Yes, that’s a 12-point lead with 5:41 to go.
Then the defense of the greatest defensive coordinator in the league needed to make just one stop. Maybe this defense could have just slowed down the Giants.
Nope. The Giants moved the ball 80 yards in two and a half minutes to cut the Dallas lead to 5.
Then Dallas just needed perhaps one first down to secure the win. On 3rd-and-5, Romo found Miles Austin streaking up the right sideline on a go route. It would have been a touchdown, or at least put the ball deep into Giant territory to secure the Dallas win.
At that moment, my television literally froze for a second, but it was clear enough that Romo missed Austin’s outstretched hands.
Dallas had to punt, and at just the moment that Mat McBriar needed to nail a 60- or 70-yarder, he hit one off the side of his foot for a 33-yard effort. New York just had to move the ball 58 yards.
How else could Dallas help the Giants stay in the playoff hunt?
How about a holding penalty on Frank Walker that gave the Giants a first down rather than having to face a 3rd-and-10 from the Dallas 24?
How about a large tight end named Jake Ballard catching two passes for 39 yards to put the Giants at the Dallas 1?
How about Dallas not having any answers at the goal line, allowing the Giants to score and then convert a two-point conversion?
Dallas moved the ball back into field goal range. Dan Bailey kicked what looked to be the game-tying field goal, but the Giants called time out. The Giants then blocked Bailey’s second attempt, ending the game.
This had become a season of magical performances by two key rookies. DeMarco Murray provided a rushing attack that the team had lacked, and Bailey was hitting field goal after field goal.
Well, that magic is gone. Murray fractured his ankle and is probably gone for the year. Bailey has missed game-winning or game-tying field goals in each of the last two weeks.
As for Ryan’s defense, the Cowboys should have won the game despite the secondary’s effort. Dallas had no answer for Hakeem Nicks, who caught 7 passes for 154 yards. Mario Manningham came from nowhere to catch a 47-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter thanks in large part to a completely blown coverage by the Dallas defense, which got caught trying to make last-second substitutions.
(Yes, some other teams get caught making substitutions, but are their defensive coordinators featured by the networks every 30 seconds?)
Dallas had some good performances, including those by Romo and Laurent Robinson. Romo put the team in position to tie it at the end, but the team would not have had to do so if he hadn’t missed Austin on the 3rd-and-5 play.
Anyway, many people, including me, thought the Cowboys were an 8-8 team. There is no reason to think they will be in any better than that. A win over Tampa Bay will give everyone a small glimmer of hope, but then Dallas will have to beat the Eagles and Giants in consecutive weeks to pull out the NFC East.
Logically, why would anyone believe that will happen?