Rams, I Repeat, Rams 34, Cowboys 14
Or, take a deep breath, heal some wounds, give a pep talk and – the only thing that’ll really fix the Cowboys – play better.
Look, yesterday in St. Louis was an unmitigated disaster. No way around it. The Rams entered the game last in the NFL in points scored and points allowed. But, after jumping to a 7-0 lead on the first drive of the game, the Cowboys were outscored by those clowns an embarrassing Thirty-Four-To-Nada until garbage time.
Humbling. Maddening. Embarrassing. It was, by far, the worst performance of the Wade Phillips era and one of the most humiliating pratfalls in franchise history.
“I don't have an answer for it,” Phillips said.
The trouble started an hour before kickoff, actually, when Mike Doocy’s live pre-game show on Fox 4 featured – I shit you not – Nita Wiggins’ keys to the game. Good. Gawd.
Of course I didn’t watch, but wonder if wise ol’ Nita’s keys included Mike Jenkins looking in over his head, Flozell Adams looking over the hill, Roy (Safety) Williams looking done for the season, Andre Gurode looking like a dude who is clueless on how to perform a shotgun snap, Terrell Owens looking like a two-catch role player, Dave Campo looking like an assistant coach who has harpooned a decent secondary, Phillips looking like a dufus whose headset probably wasn't even working and Brad Johnson looking like, well, exactly what I expected him to look like – a quarterback lucky to barely post a rating (45) higher than his age (40).
Like it or not, the Cowboys have abruptly deteriorated into a mediocre team. I don’t usually play the role of Mr. Sunshine around here, but all, however, is not lost.
Tony Romo will get healthy. Felix Jones will get healthy. Terence Newman will get healthy. Jenkins will get better. Roy (Receiver) Williams will get comfortable. Phillips will get mad. Jerry Jones will get madder.
“I've had all the fire knocked out of my butt tonight,” Jerry said. “That doesn't mean it's gone for good.”
There is, of course, precedent for a good team playing like a shitty team and growing into a championship team. The ’70 Cowboys went to the Super Bowl despite a 38-0 home loss to the Cardinals. The ’92 and ’93 Super Bowl champs suffered road losses of 24 in Philly and 19 in Washington.
And just last year, a certain team was 7-3 when it hosted the 4-6 Minnesota Vikings on Thanksgiving weekend. The certain team’s quarterback threw four interceptions that day in a stunning 41-17 defeat in which playoff hopes were buried and players were booed.
That certain team? The New York Giants.
The Cowboys – 6-6 since last December – have health concerns and leadership problems and schematic deficiencies. But what if this is the year they finally bottom out in October and peak near Christmas, instead of vice-versa?
After yesterday’s historic hiccup, it’s about all we have left. – Richie Whitt