Despite losing the lead in the NFC East and Tony Romo once again treated like the biggest fourth quarter choker in the galaxy, the NFL playoffs are very much within reach for the Dallas Cowboys. All they need to do is win both of their division games against the Washington Redskins and the Philadelphia Eagles, and they’re in the playoffs.
Sounds simple, right? Not when your defense is bleeding yards and touchdowns to every backup quarterback on the planet. The Cowboys are last or close to in almost every defensive category, especially when it comes to the passing game. They’re banged up, but it’s also about Monte Kiffin and his Cover 2 system that isn’t really delivering the good. What used to be a defense that at least created turnovers now just sits back and fails at getting stops.
Tony Romo, as much as it is popular to say, isn’t the issue. It’s the coaching staff. Yes, Romo did change the play on his own when he threw that interception, but quarterbacks should be able to read the defense in front of them and make up their minds. This wasn’t about ego, this was about getting the most of the situation, which got complicated because Bill Callahan and Jason Garrett decided to run the ball only 7 (!!!) times the entire second half through DeMarco Murray, who finished with 18 carries and 134 yards.
The Cowboys are a better team than the Washington Redskins, with or without the starting quarterback. Kirk Cousins is a quite capable backup in any case, so there’s no relaxing for a hounded and belittled defense that needs to find a way and look better in the next two games. It means different schemes, obviously, but the bottom line is simply playing better individually.
It’s been almost four years since the Cowboys last made the playoffs. They’ve had good teams finish 8-8, missing the cut on the final game of the season. Somehow, they’ve set it up to be that way once again, but that’s only if they manage to beat Washington this week. The Philadelphia Eagles are a very different story and problem, probably a bigger one. However, thinking that far ahead isn’t going to get Dallas anywhere.