Having a hard time being not-so-serious today. Posted this earlier on The Blue and Silver:
Can’t help today but to be reminded of the Cowboys’ 24-21 win over the Redskins in 1991. Dallas came into that game at 6-5, having lost 3 of its previous 4. Washington was 11-0 and, of course, on its way to a Super Bowl title. Backup Steve Beuerlein helped the Cowboys to secure the win after Troy Aikman left with a leg injury. Like Sunday’s win over the Colts, the win came immediately before the Thanksgiving Day game. Dallas played three of its final four games that season at home, and won all four.
That was the point in time in which the 1990s version of the Cowboys started learning to win. They entered games expecting to win, they played with confidence, and–sure enough– the bounces started going their way. The winning streak included a 25-13 win over the Eagles at Veterans Stadium.
What does this have to do with Sunday’s game? We’ll know in a few days. This team just kicked a previously undefeated monster in the mouth, and even though that monster had a chance to put the Cowboys away, Dallas came through. Here’s to hoping that the Cowboys learned what they should have learned from the victory.
So we have some glorious answers to last week’s Questions Without Answers.
1. Does the Dallas pass defense hold up against the Colts attack? The Cowboys rank 9th in the league in pass defense (195 yards per game) while the Colts rank 2nd in pass offense (272 yards per game). Bill Parcells today said that we should not expect the Cowboys to shut down the Colts passing, but here’s to hoping that the defense can slow Indianapolis down a bit.
Manning had 254 yards and 2 TDs, but he also had two interceptions. Definitely bent, but the defense did not break when it mattered the most. Holding the Colts on 4th-and-2 from the Dallas 8 with about 3:00 to play was huge.
Kevin Burnett’s interception return for a score is worth watching again. And again.
2. How does Flozell Adams stand up against speed rusher Dwight Freeney?
I’ll let Mickey Spagnola answer this:
Hey, sure Flozell Adams got whipped the first Cowboys pass of the game, Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney speeding past him to knock the daylights and the ball out of Tony Romo, the Colts recovering what ended up the Cowboys first turnover in their last 12 possessions. But after that, Adams handled Freeney pretty well, and how about Marc Colombo’s performance on the right side? Did you even know Robert Mathis played? He had two tackles. That’s it.
3. Can the Cowboys’ rushing attack take advantage of the Colts weak run defense? The Colts rank dead last in run defense this year, and Julius Jones and Marion Barber have been improving throughout most of this season.
The stats weren’t overwhelming– Barber and Jones combined for 114 yards– but Dallas wore down the Colts defense in the fourth quarter. That is how you play Bill Parcells’ brand of football.
4. Can Terrell Owens take advantage of the Colts’ two-deep zone? Owens will probably have somewhat of a cushion, and if he can break a few tackles, he could have some game-breaking opportunities.
Owens was not a huge factor. He had what would have been a huge 28-yard reception at the end of the first half, but Mike Vanderjagt missed a 46-yard field goal attempt on the final play of the half. Terry Glenn, though, was vital in the fourth quarter, catching several slant passes. Glenn finished with 6 catches for 78 yards, compared with Owens’ 4 for 70.
5. Do we have to watch any more chick shows now that Dancing with the Stars is finally over?
6. Prediction: Dallas 35, Indianapolis 21. I have a gut feeling that Dallas controls the first half and jumps out to a lead. The Colts will keep it close, but Dallas finally puts an entire game together for the upset win.
In the first half, this looked like a dumb prediction. Dallas certainly didn’t control the first half. But the second half was another matter entirely. If the Cowboys had scored on that last drive, we are looking at a 28-14 win, and I wouldn’t have been too far off at all.