Posted: 5:45 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013
By Dave Halprin
The Dallas Cowboys dropped a close game on the road to the Kansas City Chiefs, 17-16. It's a game they could have won, but they didn't and it's situation normal for the team from Dallas. The Cowboys can never build a big lead and hold it. They had a chance to start putting this game away when they led 10-7 and drove the ball deep into the Chiefs territory. A touchdown puts you up 17-7 and starts putting real pressure on the Chiefs offense. Instead they settled for a FG. No play was more indicative of how the Cowboys consistently lose football games than the play-call on 3rd and goal from the nine yard line.
All game, when Dez Bryant was in one-on-one coverage, he was winning the battle. That's exactly the coverage they got on that 3rd and nine. Instead, the Cowboys got themselves caught up in a WR screen trying to take advantage of an aggressive Chiefs defense. The play went nowhere, with little wonder. If there is one thing the Cowboys do poorly on offense it's run screens, so naturally that's what they choose to do. Instead of hitting the Chiefs with slants or back-shoulder passes, plays that had been working all day, or even a fade to Dez, they decide to run a play they stink at, that's the Cowboys in a nutshell. You'll hear lots of talk about how it was a good call based on what the Chiefs had been doing on defense on 3rd downs, or the alignment they were in, or the position of the moon. Don't buy it. They simply tried to get cute and it cost them.
After that, the mistakes cascaded. Two consecutive turnovers kill drives. Dez Bryant had a rare drop on a wide open pass. Tony Romo in the last real drive for the offense threw three consecutive passes that traveled maybe a total of three yards and he wasn't under that much pressure. Dallas had to kick a FG. The Cowboys stuffed the run all day, yet couldn't do it at the end of the game when everybody knew the Chiefs would run it. On a third down with the game still in doubt, Morris Claiborne committed a penalty instead of simply letting the Chiefs catch the ball short and making the tackle. On the Cowboys final play, instead of launching it long and praying for a miracle, they ran a screen to DeMarco Murray. Okay, I realize the chance of getting a pass interference or some slip up that leaves a Cowboys player free to run behind the secondary is very unlikely, but don't you want to at least try?
This takes nothing away from the Kansas City Chiefs, they deserved to win, they were the smart team. Dallas played like its normal self and lost this one. A season full of close games will put you at 8-8 again. The Cowboys better learn to build leads and hold them, only then will they be contenders.