It wasn't all that long ago that the Dallas Cowboys had the number one offense in football. Better than the New Orleans Saints; better than the Minnesota Vikings; better then the Indianapolis Colts. Of course, the word "better," here, means statistically better, which is a categorically incomplete designation, but still, this is impressive stuff.
It is also, however, an illustration of where the Cowboys have been and, to this point, how far they've fallen from an offensive standpoint; it seems now that fans are left gazing up at this peak, remembering a better time, poring over stats from a month ago as jilted lovers do with pictures from a relationship long gone.
Dallas has scored 14 points over the last eight quarters, and seven if we choose to disqualify the Roy Williams touchdown grab in garbage time last week in Green Bay, for reasons of defensive indifference.
Whatever the source of the struggle, Jason Garrett, Dallas's increasingly scrutinized play-caller, has little time to figure it out. Oakland comes to town on Thursday, for a Thanksgiving Day match-up that should be, reasonably, nothing more than a comfortable win, a bit of diversion after turkey. However, a team must score points to win, and this is an area in which Dallas has struggled, uncharacteristically over the past two weeks.
There is precious little time. The unit must figure itself out over the next four days, and this is as much a challenge to Garrett as it is to the players--to Romo, who was inaccurate for most of Sunday's win, to Roy Williams, who struggled with a bout of alligator-arms on several plays, etc. At least in this regard, Garrett seems to know what he (and the team) is up against.
"We've got to clean it up quickly this week," Garrett said after the win. "We'll be back in this locker room soon, on Thursday, but you clean it up and go to the next one.
"But we have to improve."