I don’t talk enough sport on my blog. I need to change that.
One of the things I do enjoy doing is reading Gregg Easterbrook’s weekly Tuesday Morning Quarterback column that is currently a weekly feature at ESPN’s Page 2. He writes wonderfully about all the games from the previous weekends, and has some long standing rules about how football should be played, the common coaching mistakes that end up costing a game. His style is that football is still a game that should include a running game, don’t get all pass-wacky and defense and clock-management matter. With that said, I think I can predict that Gregg will touch on a few points regarding last nights incredible Cowboys comeback.
If you turned off MNF last night after Tony Romo through his fifth interception, or when T.O. dropped the game-tying two point conversion, or after the last second icing the kicker time out, you probably now know you missed out on one of the more exciting MNF games in recent memory. It was supposed to be common MNF fare (of late) where the dominant team (Dallas 4-0) gets the prime time chance to show off against a much weaker team (Buffalo 1-3). But Buffalo doesn’t get many chances to play their 90s Super Bowl rivals, and the fans were pumped. Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas were on the sidelines. Marv Levy was haunting the coaching booth upstairs. And the Bills came to play. They haunted Tony Romo, who missed an opportunity to sell himself in his contract negotiaions (though Jerry said, his stock went up…yeah, we’ll see Jer.) by plucking his passes out of the air, and running them back for scores. Their special teams lit up the Boy’s suspect return team for another score. The Cowboys were down 8 with less than two minutes left. (Though the defense only gave up a field goal all game… 21 points on INT and Kick returns, yeoouch, that’s a hole). Some how the football gods wanted to bless the Dallas Cowboys.
[update: Here is today’s TMQ, where Gregg says exactly what I’m about to say… only better with more snark…]
]But it wasn’t all the blessings of the gods, the shrewd Bills coach had a chance to seal the deal before the two-minute warning. 3:58 left on the clock, third down and long, Buffalo calls a pass-play. Incomplete. Up eight points, I think run the ball, keep the clock moving, force Dallas to burn a time out, or take another 45 seconds off the clock. That happens we don’t have the on-side kick, maybe not even the potential game-scoring touchdown and two-pointer. Instead the incomplete, stops the clock, and give Dallas almost 4 minutes and 3 timeouts to set up the craziest 20 seconds in football.
But let me also cast a sidelong glance at the Cowboys. Passing on a two-point conversion with the Predator, Marion Barber not even in the backfield??? What? Seriously, get your big men up front, have the tired and demoralized Buffalo front men set up, and shove the ball to Marion who will get into pay-dirt from two yards out with the game on the line. Passing to T.O. who dropped umpteen passes in the game over the top. They deserved having to onside.
The icing call was such the icing on the cake. The Buf coach would have been hailed as genius, even though his fourth quarter play calling kept the Boys in the game. And how great a Folk-lore has been started with the rookie kicker with ice-water in his veins. Not only hitting back to back 53
57-yarders, but also changing the hike count on the second kick that induced the Bills offsides, and would have given him a third chance to win the game.
Tony, if you get a signing bonus, make sure you take that Folk kid to dinner.