Oh yeah, I know: "We woulda totally whupped em if tony had bin playin"
Save it, homers.
The St. Louis Rams dominated the Dallas Cowboys today. Yes, the major difference was not total yardage or first downs. It was turnovers ... and Brad Johnson had three of them. But would Tony Romo have prevented Marion Barber from losing his fumble? And what about on the other side of the ball?
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The Cowboys defense was ranked 10th in the NFL, allowing an average of 300 yards per game. Well, they allowed the Rams to pile up 325 ... a Rams offense which was only gaining an average of 237 (good for 31st in the NFL). Romo doesn't play linebacker.
I understand the Cowboys have injury issues on defense. Of course, the issues are in the secondary -- even moreso with Roy Williams (the defensive one) going down. None of the front seven were banged up entering the game, though, and Steven Jackson -- with his patchwork offensive line -- embarrassed the formerly seventh-ranked run defense with 160 yards on 25 carries.
On the flip-side, we'd be remiss not to mention the winners. The Rams are now 2-0 under Jim Haslett. We know from many sources that the players were really sick of Scott Linehan, and maybe these two games are a sign that Haslett somehow breathed some life into the Rams. In a terrible division, you can't really count them out at this point ... though I don't think the Cardinals are faltering this season.
Still, you'll start to see the confidence grow in this Rams unit, and I don't believe they'll be embarrassed again this season. I don't really see them taking more than six games, but after the 0-4 start I'm sure their fans are fine with 6-6 finish.
For the Cowboys, rosier times are ahead when some guys heal, sure, but you can't blame everything on injuries. If this team was as beastly as you guys all thought after three weeks, they would have taken care of business today. Clearly some things need to be fixed. I'm also not sure this mix of personalities is best suited to deal with adversity. We've seen Terrell Owens when things don't go his way. Pacman Jones already cost them. Roy Williams has never been especially quiet. These are just a few examples of the fact that there are a ton of big personalities here, including the owner who assembled this group.
Romo's return will obviously help the recovery process, as will the infusion of Roy Williams into the offense. The secondary, however, is totally in flux right now, and might never get fixed. Terrance Newman's return would help, but he hasn't exactly been an ironman the past few seasons concerning injury history. When Donnie Avery is torching you, I'd think having to face up against Plaxico Burress in the playoffs would be a daunting task.
If they even make it. Because if the playoffs started this week they would not. Who woulda thought that a few weeks ago?