Breaking Down Cowboys vs Redskins
An Emerging Star or the Same Old Story?
The Dallas Cowboys (8-7) are in a winner-take-all NFC East Championship game for the second straight year. Last year they played the New York Giants in the Meadowlands, where their secondary of Terrance Newman and Orlando Scandrick looked lost as Eli Manning and Victor Cruz took the Cowboys defense for a joy ride in a 31-14 victory. As we all know, the Giants rode that momentum all the way to their second Super Bowl title in fives years.
This year, the Cowboys find themselves in a similar situation against another hated rival. The Washington Redskins (9-6) have had one of their best seasons in over a decade with the only rookie Pro-Bowler in the NFL, Robert Griffin III, leading the charge. The last time these two teams met, on Thanksgiving in Dallas, RG3 shredded the Cowboys secondary, in what has been an ongoing issue in Dallas. Although the Cowboys get a second shot at the Skins, the consensus from Dallas fans is that RG3 will do much of the same, and the Redskins will be celebrating their first NFC East Championship since 1999.
Despite the Dallas pessimism, since the Thanksgiving loss to the Redskins, two major developments have occurred for the Dallas offense. First, Dez Bryant has emerged as one of the top receivers in football with eight touchdown catches over the past five games, and 12 overall. He has also tallied up 1,311 yards, as his yards and touchdowns are his current career highs. With he and Romo finally on the same page, and playing well together, they have an opportunity to tear apart a weak Redskins secondary. The second major development in the Dallas offense is DeMarco Murray, who did not play in their first matchup with the Skins. Murray has been a breath of fresh air at running back and is a clear game-changer that they have lacked for the six weeks he was injured.
Murray, Bryant, and Romo are becoming a dangerous trio as they are making a playoff push, but what happens if the Cowboys lose on Sunday night? The answer that many Cowboys fans might not be happy about is, nothing. Jason Garrett and Rob Ryan have done a great job in the eyes of Jerry Jones, in light of all the injuries the Cowboys endured this season. The Cowboys have six starting defensive players done for the year on IR and other key players missing time. Those players include stud middle linebacker Sean Lee and developing linebacker Bruce Carter, along with backup linebacker Orie Lemon, who are all done for the year, making the linebacker position very thin. Emerging safety Barry Church tore his Achilles in just week three of the season. Corrnerback Orlando Scandrick broke his left hand. Josh Brent, the emerging nose tackle was charged for intoxicated manslaughter after killing his best friend, and teammate, Jerry Brown. Starting defensive end Kenyon Coleman was also put on injured reserve, and starting nose tackle Jay Ratliff has missed nine games this season and has no timetable for return. DeMarcus Ware has been battling elbow and shoulder injuries and has not looked right in weeks.
As you see, on the defensive side of the ball, the Cowboys have been gutted with injures and the offensive side of the ball has not been a cakewalk either. Murray was absent for 6 weeks with a foot injury, and during that time the Cowboys ranked worst in the league in rushing. Bryant is now playing through a broken finger on his dominant hand, which has limited his abilities in certain situations. However, despite all the injuries, the Cowboys are one win away from winning the NFC East. Garrett and Ryan are safe this year no matter Sunday’s outcome, because of what they have done with a team that looks nothing like they had planned in training camp. However, a loss would make it the same story of late with the Cowboys. They have all this talent and potential and seem to get nowhere with it every year.