I almost picked the Cowboys to upset the Broncos.
Key word: ALMOST.
But I couldn't do it.
Something didn't feel right as I was going through my picks one last time and I was asking myself, "Can Dallas upset the Broncos?"
They could because ANY team is beatable.
But the Cowboys?
There is an Achilles heel associated with this team that shows up at the most crucial point in a game.
In Kansas City it was the inability to stop Jamaal Charles as he was pounding most of his rushing yards on the final drive and questionable pass interference call that allowed the Chiefs to run more clock down.
Against the Chargers it was Dallas leading 21-10 in the second quarter after Sean Lee's interception for a touchdown but from that point onward the offense was unable to sustain drives while the Chargers went pass happy on the Cowboys secondary. Dallas could have closed the gap on San Diego with less than 4 minutes to play, but a fumble by rookie receiver Terrance Williams inside the Chargers 5 yard line as he was trying to get to the goal line snuffed out any chances of a Dallas comeback.
Now, if you didn't have a rooting interest or you had player on your fantasy roster (points to self, I own kicker Matt Prater), this was a great game to watch. It looked like the Cowboys could do it and hand the Broncos their first loss of the season which is what happened the last time a Peyton Manning led team came to Dallas. The Colts first loss in 2006 came at the hands of a visit to old Texas Stadium.
Then Denver came back and it looked like they were getting ready to blow the Cowboys out of
Cowboys Stadium AT&T Stadium Jerry World, but every
time Denver scored, Dallas scored. It turned into a track meet.
Tony Romo threw for a franchise record 506 yards and possibly could have broken the single-game record for passing yards in a game that has stood since 1951. Dallas had three receivers go over 100 yards. Terrance Williams, replacing the injured Miles Austin, caught 4 catches for 151 including one for an 82-yard catch and run for a touchdown. Dez Bryan caught two touchdowns. Jason Witten was being Jason Witten led the team with 7 receptions.
Peyton Manning threw for 414 yards and 4 touchdowns. He even did something he hasn't done in while.
Well... he did throw his first interception of the season.
He ran for a touchdown.
It was his first one in 5 years.
When the NFL Network revisits it's Top 10 Quarterback Duels list, this game should make the list.
Denver is still unbeaten and faces a Jaguars team that is so bad there is already talks about how they would fare against the number one ranked college team, Alabama (we have these talks EVERY year, a pro team would beat a college team by AT LEAST two touchdowns). Denver is favored to win by at least 4 touchdowns. The last time there was point spread that wide for a regular season game was between the Steelers and Buccaneers in 1976.
Spoiler: I'm picking Denver to win that game.
Could Denver run the table? There was a discussion between me, Eli, and Monica about that very topic. While I have taken the position that Denver has a very good chance go unbeaten, Eli brought up some good points about how Denver's secondary is still very suspect and someone will beat them. Peyton Manning will have a bad game sometime down the road. The question is when and will the other elements that make up the Broncos step up when that happens.
It is fun to think who could challenge the 1972 Dolphins unbeaten season, but it's only 5 weeks into the season. Check back around mid-November and let's see who remains undefeated before we talk about perfection.
For Dallas, people are going to talk about how Tony Romo will never lead this team to title with the way he plays and that the Cowboys should dump and get a quarterback in the draft.
Right... let's review the list of quarterbacks between Troy Aikman and Tony Romo.
Off the top of my head: Randall Cunningham, Anthony Wright, Quincy Carter, Ryan Leaf, Chad Hutchinson, Drew Henson, Vinny Testaverde, Drew Bledsoe
Remember the 5-11 years?
Or how about how last season after a loss to the Redskins on Thanksgiving, the Cowboys kept pace in the NFC East race with a come from behind victory in Cincinnati and then an overtime win over the Steelers at Jerry World. Folks seem to forget about those games so conveniently. Those were pretty big games.
But we know how last season ended with Tony Romo tossing a floater that was intercepted by the Redskins. And we know how this game ended with Romo doing what we both love and hate him for doing: making plays out of an impossible scenario and forcing the ball into coverage.
This game could haunt Dallas. While they put up 48 points and most of the time that wins you a game, their defense gave up 51.
51 > 48
Not good enough for this game.
Things to remember: Dallas is at 2-3. Up next is the Redskins who trail Dallas by half a game and then after that is a trip to the City of Brotherly Shove to play the Eagles. Both the Cowboys and Eagles are tied for first in the division. Dallas could win the next two games and get to 4-3 before playing at Detroit, hosting Vikings in Week 9, and traveling to New Orleans in Week 10. Dallas has a bye week in Week 11 that conveniently starts their final six games where they will be fighting for a playoff spot.
I said at the beginning of the year that Dallas is capable of winning 11 games. I should have followed that statement up with this tweet in response to my own article:
@mjwatts1983 Clarify: I use the key word CAPABLE. #Cowboys can win 11, but reality: 9-7 w/o playoffs. Garrett fired but not GM Jerry Jones.
— Michael Watts (@mjwatts1983) September 5, 2013
In the NFL, capable does not win games as we saw on Sunday against Denver.
Brace yourselves Cowboys fans. I think I've seen how this movie ends.