10. “Next Man Up!” is cute and courageous. But when Sean Lee goes down and the “next man up” is anyone not named Sean Lee … it rings horribly hollow. Silver lining: Lee’s hamstring injury looks bad but at least next week is Dallas’ Bye.
9. Cowboys have now lost eight consecutive Sunday Night Football games on the road. Last win was at Washington, Dec. 27, 2009. Average margin of the defeats? 17.3 points.
8. We can’t seriously be saying Rob Ryan got his “revenge” on the Cowboys can we? Sure his defense played well, but to me the story of the game was probably New Orleans amassing 625 yards and Dallas’ defense surrendering an NFL-record 40 first downs.
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7. The Cowboys have used 17 defensive linemen this season. No other team has used more than 12. Not an excuse. Just a stat. A defining stat. Oh yeah, and to make it worse, 13 of the 17 are in their first year in Dallas. The result of that revolving door? This year’s defense has allowed single-game franchise records for points allowed in a home game (51), points allowed in a 4th quarter (24), total yards allowed (625) and first downs surrendered (40). And they came within one more Drew Brees completion of allowing their NFL-record 5th 400-yard passer. Brees finished with 392. Small steps.
6. DeMarco Murray ran with a lot of heart on Dallas’ early scoring drive, which went 72 yards with 68 via the ground. But did somebody cut out his spleen? His bloody jersey looked like a scene right out of Saw VI.
5. Cowboys are 1-8 all-time vs. the Saints at The Superdome. They’re 1-0 in that building against teams not named the Saints. Super Bowl XII ring a bell?
4. Jeff Heath is a try-hard, fired-up, over-achiever. But at this point he’s more suited for special teams and way in over his head as a starting safety. Embarrassing. But let’s not even begin to compare tonight with Wade Phillips’ final game as Cowboys’ coach, a 45-7 Sunday night loss in Green Bay in 2010. In that game they absolutely quit. Or have you forgot Mike Jenkins refusing to make tackles?
3. Lee’s injury cratered everything from spirits to game plan, but nonetheless there’s no excuse for that type of offensive ineptitude. Romo had 20 yards passing at halftime. Dez Bryant was targeted once in the game’s first 43 minutes. Sorry, but penalties in the Red Zone and chaos out of timeouts are not characteristics of a winning offense.
2. I liked the initial game plan. Come out with six offensive linemen. Go with two tight ends. Run, run, run Murray. Shorten the game. Keep Brees off the field. But, um, that all changed when Lee went down and the Saints turned up the game’s tempo. For what it’s worth, I hated the late game plan. Why was Tony Romo in the game getting sacked twice with Dallas down 32 points and five minutes remaining? He gets injured there and, yes, that’s a fireable offense by head coach Jason Garrett.
1. Rip Monte Kiffin all you want, but on Darren Sproles’ touchdown run just before halftime four of the Cowboys’ defenders not tackling him were named Drake Nevis, Jarius Wynn, Heath and Micah Pellerin. Good luck with that. Without DeMarcus Ware and Lee, for most of the night the Cowboys were without seven of their 11 projected starters from training camp. And at one point they had three undrafted rookies (Heath, Micah Pellerin and Jakar Hamilton) in the secondary. Ouch.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently writes a sports/guy stuff blog at DFWSportatorium.com and lives in McKinney with his fiancee, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.