In the football, the process of improving from game to game is simple enough: play the game, watch the film, identify the shortcomings, address them in practice, hopefully have them smoothed out by the next week. Which makes the Dallas Cowboys 34-27 loss on Sunday all the more troubling.
On Sunday, Dallas’ efforts were once again self-sabotaged by penalties and turnovers--obviously, this is nothing new. The team struggled woefully with penalties and turnovers in the first two weeks of the season on their way to an 0-2 hole. But the Titans game stands out for two reasons:
First, Dallas was coming off an impressive victory over the Houston Texans on the road and, more recently, a bye week. With a recent history of coming off the bye week strong and the idea that in the Texans game, perhaps we had seen the “true” Cowboys finally putting it all together, fans were about as optimistic as they’ve been all season coming into Sunday; only to have those same, seemingly remediable problems rear their ugly head once more.
Second, the Cowboys may have been worse on Sunday than in either of their first two games which, if you remember those games, is quite a statement. For the most part, Tony Romo had a great day. But he also had three interceptions. The Cowboys occasionally showed instances of that “talent” we’re so constantly told they keep in droves. But the team also showed a painful lack of discipline, with 12 penalties for 133 yards, the most since November of 2006.
No, on Sunday, the Cowboys took a step back--it’s no surprise, then, that they lost. What is a little surprising is that they still managed to make it that close. Then again, maybe that’s Dallas’ always-talked-about talent gets you, when combined with little to no discipline: losses, yeah, but close losses.
Oy. This could be a long season.
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