Dallas Cowboys: Their Last 10 Games

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 24:  Dallas Cowboys o...

Jerry likes what he sees from a team that has gone 3-7 in their last 10 games. Hopefully the Cowboys can keep Tampa Bay on the schedule.

The Cowboys had their typical December collapse in 2011 after posting a 7-4 record after a Thanksgiving Day win over the Miami Dolphins. Although Dallas picked up the victory on Thanksgiving, some problems that occurred in that game have shown up a number of times since then.

Dallas had 11 penalties for 59 yards and lost the turnover battle thanks to two interceptions. The Cowboys narrowly won thanks to a field goal by Dan Bailey.

Since that game, the Cowboys have played ten more regular season games. Their record is 3-7, and two of those wins came over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who suffered through a ten-game losing streak to end the 2011 campaign.

A few disconcerting numbers about the Cowboys in their last ten games:

  • Dallas has been called for 102 penalties for 535 yards. Many of these penalties have caused drives to stall because they are often called on offensive linemen for false starts and holding penalties.
  • Opponents’ penalties during that ten-game span: 59 for 448 yards.
  • The Cowboys have committed 16 turnovers in the last ten games. This includes 10 interceptions.
  • The Cowboys have caused 7 turnovers during that span, giving the Cowboys a turnover differential of -9 in the past ten games.

Compare the Cowboys’ turnover differential with numbers from the New York Giants. New York finished the 2011 season by going 6-0, including the playoffs. During that time, the Giants recorded 12 turnovers and only gave up 2. That’s a differential of +10.

The Giants haven’t been quite a strong in 2012, but they are still 4-2. They have recorded 14 turnovers and have given up 7 for a differential of +7.

Therefore…

Giants in their last 12 games: 10-2, with a turnover differential of +17. Super Bowl title.

Cowboys in their last 10 games: 3-7, with a turnover differential of -9. Demented owner thinks team can vie for the Super Bowl title.

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Cowboys Spoil Great Rushing Day

Felix Jones contributed nearly 100 rushing yards on Sunday.

Several radio commentators noted this today, but until Sunday, the Cowboys had never rushed as many as 42 times for 227 yards and lost the game. Here’s a further breakdown of where this ranks:

200-Yard Rushing Days

The Cowboys have gained 200 rushing yards or more as a team 84 times. The team’s record in those games is 72-11-1.

The team record for most rushing yards is 354, set against the Colts when they were in Baltimore in 1981.

Most Rushing Yards with Only One Touchdown

The Cowboys ran for only one touchdown on Sunday. That is not unusual. In the 84 games when the Cowboys have rushed for at least 200 yards, the team has scored one touchdown or no touchdowns in 29 of those games.

The most rushing yards the team has ever gained while only scoring one touchdown also came against the Colts in 1978. Dallas rushed 45 times for 278 yards in a 38-0 win at Texas Stadium.

Most Rushing Attempts in a Loss

The Cowboys nearly set a team record for the most rushing attempts in a loss. The team record was set in an overtime game in 2000, when Dallas ran the ball 46 times in a 16-13 loss to Philadelphia.

Overall, the Cowboys have rushed at least 42 times in 94 games. The Cowboys’ record in those games is now 91-3.

* * *

DeMarco Murray increased his rushing total in 2012 to 330 yards. He would be on pace for more than a 1,000 yards but will likely miss next Sunday’s game with a foot injury.

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Baltimore 31, Dallas 28: Showing Heart, but Few Brains

Felix Jones rushed 18 times for 92 yards and a touchdown after DeMarco Murray was injured against the Ravens on Sunday.

The Cowboys had plenty of chances to quit on Sunday against the Ravens. After all, the team trailed 31-23 after Baltimore scored with 4:41 remaining.

Dallas then went on a drive that was equal parts epic and boneheaded. The Cowboys committed four penalties (even if a chop block call on Felix Jones was nonsense). At one point, Dallas faced a 3rd-and-27 play.

Yet somehow, the Cowboys found ways to convert  two third downs and two fourth downs on what turned out to be an 18-play, 81-yard drive. Dez Bryant capped off a great day by catching a four-yard touchdown pass to pull Dallas to within two.

Then Dez immediately assumed the role of goat when Romo’s pass on the two-point attempt bounced right off Bryant’s hands.

But the game wasn’t over. Dan Bailey hit an onside kick up the middle instead of to the sideline, and Andre Holmes recovered.

More luck: On the first play after the recovery, Chykie Brown was called for interference on a pass attempt to Kevin Ogletree, giving Dallas the ball at the Baltimore 34. There were 26 seconds left, and Dallas still had a timeout. Plenty of time for…

One play? For one yard?

Yep. When Romo threw a slant to Bryant, the play gained a yard. The offense tried to organize to do something, but nothing happened. It looked as if neither Romo nor Garrett knew what they were supposed to do. (And I’m not the only one who thinks that.)

Instead, the Cowboys settled for a 51-yard field goal attempt. Bailey had not attempted one from that far this year.

And, of course, he missed. The audience saw a shot of Jason Garrett smiling. The pregnant Rob Ryan shouted something I won’t write on here. Romo pouted. Bryant received consolation.

Dallas is now 2-3. As the time of this writing, the Eagles had fallen to 3-3, and the Giants and Redskins were still playing. It is very possible the Cowboys could wind up in last place after today’s action.

Throughout the game, the Dallas offense rarely snapped the ball with more than three seconds left on the play clock. Few have offered solid reasons why the team has to check off so much while running the risk of delay-of-game or other penalties.

Nevertheless, the team showed heart. Felix Jones scored his first touchdown since the beginning of the 2011 season. The defense mostly shut down the Ravens offense in the second half.

But the same mistakes that have haunted the Cowboys, and it’s past time to question decision-making across the board.

Doug Free can’t go a game without a penalty. Tyron Smith doesn’t seem to understand what he is required to do to avoid holding penalties. As a team, the Cowboys committed 13 penalties for 82 yards. That gives Dallas a total of 46 penalties in five games.

The kickoff coverage team that was so bad in 2010 allowed a 108-yard kickoff return to Jacoby Jones. That occurred when Dallas had cut the Baltimore lead to 17-13 in the third quarter.

On top of that, the Cowboys were called for both pass interference and for having 12 men on the field on a play where Torrey Smith scored late in the second quarter.

* * *

The biggest positive was the rushing attack. Even after DeMarco Murray left the game with a foot injury, Jones, Philip Tanner, and Lance Dunbar had some nice runs.  As a team, the Cowboys rushed 42 times for 227 yards.

On the other hand, Kevin Ogletree is showing he isn’t close to a solid #3 receiver. He was targeted four times but did not manage a single reception. He didn’t come close to catching the pass when Brown interfered with him late in the game.

Dallas will travel to Carolina next Sunday.

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As the 2008 Draft Class Has Failed

Felix Jones and Isiah Stanbeck

Felix Jones, former All-American kickoff returner and former contributor to the Dallas Cowboys (Photo credit: Wikipedia).

The year was 2009. The Cowboys needed a win over the Philadelphia Eagles at home to secure the NFC East title. Dallas led 17-0 at the half.

Second-year running back Felix Jones, taken in the first round of the 2008 draft, took a pitch to the left and raced 49 yards for a touchdown. That effectively ended the game.

One week later, the Cowboys hosted the Eagles in the first round of the playoffs. It marked the first playoff game at Cowboys Stadium.

Jones again broke the game wide open in the third quarter when he scored on a 73-yard touchdown run. He finished the day with 148 rushing yards. Another 2008 pick, Tashard Choice, scored in the second quarter to give Dallas a 14-7 lead.

Yet another first-round pick from 2008, Mike Jenkins, snagged an interception in the second half. A fifth-round pick from 2008, Orlando Scandrick, helped in a secondary that mostly shut down the Eagles.

Dallas won, 34-14.

Okay, so what’s my point? Well, let’s look at what the Cowboys have done since beating the Eagles in the playoffs on January 9, 2010.

* The Cowboys barely showed up in a 34-3 loss at Minnesota in the second round of the playoffs.

* The Cowboys’ overall record since January 9, 2010: 16-21.

* Since scoring on long touchdown runs in back-to-back games at the end of the 2009 season, Jones has scored a total of three touchdowns. He has not scored since the opening week of the 2011 season.

* Since rushing for more than 100 yards in back-to-back weeks in 2009, he has rushed for more than 100 yards a total of four times. He has 13 rushing yards in four games in 2012.

* Since Jenkins intercepted the pass against the Eagles on January 9, 2010, he has had a total of two interceptions. That is the same total as Orlando Scandrick during that time.

* Draft picks Choice, Martellus Bennett, and Eric Walden now play for other teams. Although Choice hasn’t done much, Bennett has three touchdown receptions for the Giants, and Walden has been a part-time starter with the Packers.

There have been plenty of things that have gone wrong since the promising end to the 2009 season. The entire 2009 draft was a monumental failure, thanks in large part to a terrible trade for Roy Williams. Several key players aged quickly, leading to the current rebuilding effort.

The 2008 draft class, though, certainly hasn’t helped matters. Those players showed so much promise only to regress almost immediately.

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Dallas Record After the Bye Week: 16-7

Please insert “window of opportunity” comment.

The Cowboys return to action next weekend with a 2-2 record. Nine teams in the NFC now have a better record, including every team in the NFC West.

Nevertheless, the Cowboys are usually pretty good after bye weeks. Since the league first started giving teams a week off in the middle of seasons in 1990, the Cowboys have  total record of 16-7 after bye weeks. This included five consecutive wins between 2005 and 2009.

The bad news is that the Cowboys have lost games after bye weeks during each of the last two seasons, and both losses were most frustrating. Two years ago, the Cowboys allowed a long kickoff return to the Titans late in the fourth quarter after Dallas had tied the game. Tennessee scored and won the game 34-27. Last year, Dallas held a fourth-quarter lead at New England only to let fans watch a patented let-down in a 20-16 loss.

In 2012, the Cowboys have to travel to Baltimore to face the Ravens, whom the Cowboys have never defeated. The last time Dallas faced Baltimore, the Cowboys added to their recent legacy of disgrace by blowing the final home game at Texas Stadium in 2008.

Here is a look at the games following bye weeks.

1990

Record before the bye: 6-7

Next game vs. Phoenix: W 41-10

1991

Record before the bye: 5-2

Next game vs. Detroit: L 34-10

1992

Record before the bye: 3-0

Next game vs. Philadelphia: L 31-7

1993 (first bye)

Record before the bye: 1-2

Next game vs. Green Bay: W 36-14

1993 (second bye)

Record before the bye: 4-2

Next game vs. Philadelphia: W 23-10

1994

Record before the bye: 2-1

Next game vs. Washington: W 34-7

1995

Record before the bye: 6-1

Next game vs. Atlanta: W 28-13

1996

Record before the bye: 2-3

Next game vs. Arizona: W 17-3

1997

Record before the bye: 2-1

Next game vs. Chicago: W 27-3

1998

Record before the bye: 4-3

Next game vs. Philadelphia: W 34-0

1999

Record before the bye: 2-0

Next game vs. Arizona: W 35-7

2000

Record before the bye: 2-3

Next game vs. N.Y. Giants: L 19-14

2001

Record before the bye: 1-4

Next game  vs. Arizona: W 17-3

2002

Record before the bye: 3-6

Next game vs. Indianapolis: L 20-3

2003

Record before the bye: 1-1

Next game vs. N.Y. Jets: W 17-6

2004

Record before the bye: 2-1

Next game vs. N.Y. Giants: L 26-10

2005

Record before the bye: 5-3

Next game vs. Philadelphia: W 21-20

2006

Record before the bye: 1-1

Next game vs. Tennessee: W 45-14

2007

Record before the bye: 6-1

Next game vs. Philadelphia: W 38-17

2008

Record before the bye: 5-4

Next game vs. Washington: W 14-10

2009

Record before the bye: 3-2

Next game vs. Atlanta: W 37-21

2010

Record before the bye: 1-2

Next game vs. Tennessee: L 34-27

2011

Record before the bye: 2-2

Next game vs. New England: L 20-16

2012

Record before the bye: 2-2

Totals:

Winning records before a bye week (counting the 1993 season twice): 13

Losing record before a bye week: 7

.500 record before a bye week (including the 2012 season): 4

Record after a bye week: 16-7

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So the Good News…Sean Lee Again Leads the League in Tackles

The Cowboys have at least one star. You know, someone who tackles opponents and generally does his job all the time. That kind of star.

The stat sheet isn’t looking good for this Cowboys team.

Tony Romo is the 23rd rated passer in the NFL, just behind Sam Bradford. He leads the league now with eight interceptions.

DeMarco Murray ranks 18th in rushing, but he has a per-run average of just 3.9. He also has only one run of 20 yards or more.

Jason Witten and Dez Bryant both have 21 receptions to lead the team, but they both have more drops than we care to count.

Felix Jones ranks 27th in average kickoff returns. I’ve barely ever heard of half the guys ahead of him.

So the positive stat? Sean Lee has 46 total tackles to lead the league. He is now one ahead of San Francisco’s NaVorro Bowman. If there is a single Dallas player who should even watch the Pro Bowl this year, it’s Lee.

DeMarcus Ware is tied for third in the league with 5.0 sacks. That’s good, too.

Then there are more bad stats, as in the 20 players with more interceptions that the entire Dallas defense combined. As we know, it only takes two picks to surpass the entire Dallas defense.

As a team, Dallas ranks 16th in total offense, averaging 364.0 yards per game. The defense still ranks 4th, allowing 277.5 yards per game.

The Cowboys have scored just 65 points this year and allowed 88. At this rate, the Cowboys would only score 260 points in the entire season. That would be the lowest output since 2002, when the Cowboys went 5-11 under Dave Campo.

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A Pathetic INT Drought

We shall not soon forget that Tony Romo threw five interceptions last night. That’s for sure.

Defensive backs for the Chicago Bears picked off four of those passes. This idea—defensive backs intercepting passes thrown by the quarterback— presents a concept about which the Cowboys are unfamiliar.

Dallas has had one interception this year, and that was by Sean Lee. Thus, we already know that neither of the former first-round picks nor the $50 million shut-down corner has had a pick this year.

Anyone want to take a guess about the last time a Dallas defensive back recorded an interception?

The last time the Cowboys forced an interception in 2011 was against the Giants on December 11. Who recorded the pick?

Sean Lee.

The Cowboys went 1-4 to finish the 2011 season, and Lee’s interception against the Giants was the only one during those five games. Moreover, the Cowboys did not have an interception on Thanksgiving Day against Miami, either.

The answer to my question above is Orlando Scandrick, who intercepted a Rex Grossman pass on November 20, 2011.

Thus, in the past ten games, the Cowboys have managed two interceptions, and both were by Sean Lee.

The Cowboys did manage three picks against the Bills in week 10 last year. Terence Newman made two of those picks, while Frank Walker made the other. Of course, neither is still playing for Dallas.

Mike Jenkins had five interceptions in 2009. Since then, he has had a total of two. Brandon Carr has had a total of eight career interceptions, all while playing for Kansas City. Of course, Morris Claiborne is still waiting for his first career interception.

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Chicago 34, Dallas 18: Staring a 6-10 Record Right in the Face

Jerry won’t sleep well with that window of opportunity slamming shut so hard.

There were points in tonight’s game against the Bears that Cowboys fans had reason to believe. All of those points occurred before the 2:46 mark of the second quarter.

It was then that Tony Romo threw a pass towards Dez Bryant, who was apparently supposed to  run a hitch route. He didn’t, and Charles Tillman picked off the pass and ran it in for a touchdown.

Sure, the Cowboys managed to cut the score to 10-7 going into halftime, but the nightmares were really about to begin.

The secondary had no answer for the Bears in the second half. The $50 million addition to the backfield, Brandon Carr, was burned badly on two different plays by Brandon Marshall. Morris Claiborne never saw Devon Hester blow right by the rookie corner on a 34-yard touchdown.

Tony Romo threw two picks that weren’t his fault. The last three picks were all his fault. The first of those three, and his third of the night, ended up in the arms of Lance Briggs, who raced 74 yards for a touchdown.

Nothing good came from the second half. Romo might have had the worst game of his career. Dez Bryant is the goat for the next week thanks to mental mistakes and dropped passes.

Jason Witten had a good game, but few of his 13 receptions came at times when they mattered. At times, it felt as if the team got Witten the ball for the sake of getting him the ball.

DeMarco Murray ran the ball 11 times for 24 yards. Felix Jones had one nice 13-yard run, but on kickoff returns he continues to insist on running the ball out of the end zone from near the back line.

Sean Lee is still a bright spot. He had 14 total tackles. Victor Butler had a decent game filling in for Anthony Spencer and even had a fumble recovery. However, Butler also did an Almost Anthony impression by failing to wrap up Cutler on what could have been a sack on third down.

Can it get worse? The next five games—

at Baltimore

at Carolina

vs. N.Y. Giants

at Atlanta

at Philadelphia

Anyone have confidence? Would you care to share that confidence with the rest of us?

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How Many Former Dallas Cowboys Have Been Television Commentators?

The original NFL Network logo, used from 2003 ...

Employment with the NFL Network is part of the Dallas Cowboys’ retirement system.

Most would acknowledge that the most famous member of the Dallas Cowboys to serve as an television announcer was Don Meredith with Monday Night Football (as well as NBC during a time after he left ABC).

While Meredith was at the height of his popularity, however, few other former Cowboys appeared on television. Don Perkins was a color commentator for a year in the early 1970s, as was Roger Staubach in the early 1980s.

(Staubach is and will always be my hero, but his announcing was awful.)

Charlie Waters and Drew Pearson were on some broadcast teams during the 1980s, but neither was memorable. In fact, I would bet that some long-time Dallas fans would not have guessed that Waters or Pearson ever appeared as color-commentators on television.

Fast-forward to today, when you can barely turn on a football program without seeing a former member of the Cowboys. You’ll see Troy Aikman, Daryl Johnson, Deion Sanders, Michael Irvin, Keyshawn Johnson, Darren Woodson, Mike Ditka, Bill Parcells, Brian Baldinger (yes, a former Cowboy), and Martellus Wiley (yes, a former Cowboy).

So I did some digging and tried to come up with a complete list of former Cowboy player and coaches who have served as television commentators. I did not attempt to find those who appeared on radio. I am fairly sure I’ve missed a name or two (or more), but below is what I know/found. Let me know who I am missing.

1960-1980s

Brian Baldinger (NFL Network studio analyst)

Frank Clarke (CBS color commentator)

Mike Ditka (NBC, ESPN commentator/studio analyst)

Jean Fugett (CBS color commentator)

Butch Johnson (NBC color commentator)

Eddie LeBaron (CBS color commentator)

Harvey Martin (NBC color commentator)

Don Meredith (ABC, NBC color commentator)

Drew Pearson (CBS color commentator)

Don Perkins (CBS color commentator)

Dan Reeves (NFL Network studio analyst)

Roger Staubach (CBS color commentator)

Charlie Waters (CBS color commentator)

1990s-2000s

Troy Aikman (Fox color commentator)

Steve Beuerlein (CBS color commentator)

Butch Davis (NFL Network analyst)

Michael Irvin (ESPN, NFL Network studio analyst)

Jimmy Johnson (Fox studio analyst)

Keyshawn Johnson (ESPN studio analyst)

Daryl Johnston (Fox color commentator, NFL Network analyst)

Ken Norton, Jr. (NFL Network analyst)

Bill Parcells (NBC color commentator, ESPN studio analyst)

Deion Sanders (CBS, NFL Network studio analyst)

Emmitt Smith (NFL Network analyst)

Marcellus Wiley (ESPN studio analyst)

Darren Woodson (ESPN studio analyst)

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Cowboys Will Try to Improve Their Monday-Night Record

Roger Staubach may have fared well in Aurora’s Monday Night Football computerized game, but he only went 6-7 as a starter on the real MNF.

As one of the NFL’s highest profile teams, the Dallas Cowboys were often featured on Monday Night Football. The Cowboys appeared on MNF at least once each year between 1970 and 1988. After returning in 1991, the team has been featured on a Monday each year except 2002.

At 43-31, the team’s total record on Monday Night Football is respectable enough. The Cowboys have won four of their last five games on Monday night, with the only loss coming against the Giants in 2010 when Tony Romo was knocked out for the season after a hard sack in the first half.

Each of the last five games was rather memorable, including the team’s 25-24 come-from-behind win over the Bills in 2007. Here are those games:

Oct. 8, 2007: Dallas 25, Buffalo 24
Sept. 15, 2008: Dallas 41, Philadelphia 37
Sept. 28, 2008: Dallas 21, Carolina 7
Oct. 25, 2010: N.Y. Giants 41, Dallas 35
Sept. 26, 2011: Dallas 18, Washington 16

A few trivial matters:

  • Dallas has faced Chicago on Monday Night Football only once, losing at Chicago to open the 1996 season.  That marked Deion Sanders‘ first game as a starting receiver. He caught 9 passes for 87 yards.
  • The team played on Monday three times before ABC introduced Monday Night Football in 1970. Those games included a 20-13 loss to the Cardinals in1965, a 28-17 loss to the Packers in 1968, and a 25-3 win over the Giants in 1969.
  • The most successful starting Dallas quarterback on Monday Night was Troy Aikman, who had a record of 13-9. Danny White went 9-7, while Roger Staubach surprisingly went just 6-7. Tony Romo is now 4-2.
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