Carolina 33, Dallas 14: Thanks for the Myths

A handy montage of myths and mythical figures.

A handy montage of myths and mythical figures.

During the Dallas Cowboys’ seven-game losing streak, Tony Romo’s abilities became almost mythical.  The quarterback who had a record of 25-28 between 2010 and 2013 was going to return from a clavicle injury and lead Dallas to seven consecutive wins and a run to the Super Bowl.

Much of this talk focused on how well the Cowboys did in 2014, plus the team’s first two wins in 2015. After all, the team was 2-0 when Romo went down with his injury.

Of course, we have chosen to forget that Romo was just one piece of the puzzle that caused Dallas to finish with a 12-4 record in 2014.  The running game took pressure off Romo, and the Dallas defense played well over its head after horrible showings in 2012 and 2013.

We chose to forget that Cowboys probably should have lost to the Giants in week 1 in 2015 and only won because of some poor mistakes by the Giants and the referee. Yes, Romo led the game-winning drive, but the drive would not have occurred had the Giants and referees not made mistakes before that drive.

We also chose to overlook Romo’s two interceptions in the win over Miami last week. Romo was bound to be rusty, and he did manage to throw two touchdown passes in the win. However, he took plenty of hard shots from the Miami defensive line and did not look especially sharp.

We lastly overlooked what has tended to happen during Romo’s career when he has tried to do to much on his own. For instance, a Dallas quarterback has thrown five interceptions in a single game seven times during the past 56 years. Romo  has done that twice.

Anyway, the Romo myth helped to make the Cowboys favorites against the undefeated Panthers on Thanksgiving. It became evident that it might be a long day when Kurt Coleman picked off a Romo pass less than a minute into the game and returned the pick for a touchdown.

Dallas never really recovered. Romo threw another pick-6 when Luke Kuechly snagged a pass intended for Jason Witten and returned it 32 yards for another score. By that point, the Panthers led 20-3.

A third Romo interception led to another Graham Gano field goal, giving the Panthers a 23-3 halftime lead. It was the worst halftime deficient on Thanksgiving Day in the history of the Cowboys.

And yes, it could get worse. On the final play of the third quarter, Thomas Davis sacked Romo, and Romo immediately grabbed his left collarbone. It was fairly obvious that he re-injured his clavicle, and the team sent him in for x-rays.

Whether he returns in 2015 does not seem to matter, though. The defense succeeded in forcing field goals against the Panthers, but the idea that Dallas has a playoff-caliber pass rush with Greg Hardy and others is another myth. Dallas did manage one sack of Cam Newton, but far too often, Dallas never came close to creating pressure.

Ah, yes, the Kraken. The legendary sea monster…who tries to swim inside a line of Panthers and suddenly becomes invisible.

Carolina did not have a huge rushing today, but Jonathan Stewart regularly managed three, four, or five yards on first down. Carolina was able to win the time of possession by holding the ball for more than 35 minutes.

On the other side of the ball, the Cowboys were supposed to have The Best Offensive Line in Football such that any running back would easily duplicate what DeMarco Murray did last year.

Darren McFadden has had his moments, but his performance on Thursday made The Best Offensive Line in Football story look like yet another myth.

During the past 10 years, the Cowboys (and their fans, including me) have made the mistake of talking about the Super Bowl, even though the team has not shown the ability (or resolve, or talent) to win more than a single playoff game, if that many. The current Cowboys are talking about making a playoff run when the team could not win a single game for two months and now cannot win more than one game in a row.

The Panthers showed they are elite right now. The Cowboys should start thinking about 2016.

Touchdown Connections in Dallas Cowboys History

Tony Romo has connected with Dez Bryant on 50 touchdown passes, setting a team record.

Tony Romo has connected with Dez Bryant on 50 touchdown passes, setting a team record.

Tony Romo and Dez Bryant set a team record on Sunday by connecting on their 50th touchdown. This mark broke the previous high of 49 set by Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin.

Here is a look at the highest number of touchdown connections in team history, organized chronologically by quarterback.

Eddie LeBaron (1960-1963)

LeBaron threw 45 touchdown passes during his career in Dallas, connecting 21 times to Frank Clarke.

Don Meredith (1960-1968)

Meredith had 135 touchdown passes during his career from 1960 to 1968. He connected with Bob Hayes on 36 of those.

Craig Morton (1965-1974)

Hayes was also at the top of Morton’s list. Of Morton’s 80 touchdown passes as a Cowboy, 21 went to Hayes.

Roger Staubach (1969-1979)

Two receivers had 27 touchdown receptions from Staubach. Both Billy Joe DuPree and Drew Pearson had 27 touchdown receptions from Staubach, who had a total of 153.

Danny White (1976-1988)

White threw two more touchdowns than Staubach, finishing with 155. He connected with Tony Hill on 31 of those.

Steve Pelluer (1984-1988)

No, Pelluer does not belong on this list. He connected with Irvin on four touchdowns, but the player who caught the highest number of Pelluer’s 28 touchdown passes was Ray Alexander. Remember that name?

Troy Aikman (1989-2000)

Aikman connected with Irvin for 49 touchdowns between 1989 and 1999.

Quincy Carter (2001-2003)

Another one who I could omit, but I included him anyway. He connected on five touchdowns with three different players, including Antonio Bryant, Terry Glenn, and Joey Galloway.

Drew Bledsoe (2005-2006)

Bledsoe threw 30 touchdown passes with Dallas. He connected with Jason Witten on six of those.

Tony Romo (2003-present)

Romo shattered the team record for touchdown passes, as he has thrown for 247. In addition to the 50 touchdowns to Bryant, Romo has also connected with Witten 37 times and Terrell Owens 34 times.

Dallas 24, Miami 14: Some Clue How to Win

The Dallas Cowboys scored 10 points in the fourth quarter to pull out a 24-14 win over the Miami Dolphins.

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Tampa Bay 10, Dallas 6: No Clue How to Win

The Dallas Cowboys could not score a touchdown and could not hold on to a fourth-quarter lead in a 10-6 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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Then and Now: Long Losing Streaks

Compare losing streaks by the Dallas Cowboys in 1960 and 1989 with the current losing streak.

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Philadelphia 33, Dallas 27: Life? Just Kidding

The Philadelphia Eagles all but closed the door on the Dallas Cowboys’ 2015 season with a 30-27 win in overtime.

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Meat-on-the-Bone Trivia Featuring Joseph Randle

How many Dallas running backs have started at least eight games but never rushed for at least 100 yards in a single game?

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Seattle 13, Dallas 12: Plenty of Ways to Lose

The Dallas Cowboys gave up a late field goal in a 13-12 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

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Then (1974) and Now (2015): A Four-Game Losing Streak

Compare the 1974 and 2015 seasons of the Dallas Cowboys.

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Stat Review: 29 or More Carries

Darren McFadden became the ninth Dallas running back to carry the ball at least 29 times in a game.

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