Now that I've had a few hours to digest the outcome of the game, I will give my thoughts.
Firstly, I'm always grateful for a win, including and particularly against the Texans. I'm also always grateful for a 10+ win regular season. Not to mention that it's a back to back 10+ win season.
On the other hoof, we were incredibly lucky to get out of that game with a win. The Cowboys, as a team, played a very sloppy. It seemed to me that, after the first TD, the Cowboys seemed to think that they had the game in the bag. Instead, they nearly bagged a loss.
The miscues were particularly infuriating. I want to make CRYSTAL clear to those that are thinking that I'm complaining about the result. I am NOT complaining about the win. However, I WILL complain about the miscues and mistakes. I understand full well that "it's not how you start, it's how you finish". That being said, can we at least be analytical and admit that it was particularly concerning that we had the miscues and mistakes that we had? I know all teams have them. I understand that the Texans treat us as their Super Bowl. I understand all of that. Those mistakes are concerning to me because it shows a lack of discipline on this team that WILL get us eliminated in the playoffs if they are not corrected. Here are some of the ones that I was particularly upset about:
- Turpin's muff – I understand that all punt returners muff a punt every now and then. However, this one seemed to be lack of concentration. It seemed to me that he never set his feet properly and reached for the ball. The latter of which is a mistake that would drive Parcells mental as reaching for the ball will cause fumbles. This completely changed the momentum early. The Cowboys looked to be primed to destroy the Texans up until then. However, from then, the game turned into a harder fight than it needed to be imo. Not saying it'd have been a blow out, but the momentum was sucked away from the Cowboys. Against a team like Philly or San Francisco, that momentum may not return.
- The turnovers – the turnovers (not counting the muff as that's been discussed) were concerning. The first interception was on the WR, and the second one was the fault of Dak. Then we had the late turnover on downs. Those are key mistakes that MUST be avoided if we are to reach out potential this season. We will not get away with those mistakes against playoff teams.
- The missed blocks – there were several missed blocks on our oline that forced Dak to either pull up on his throws at times or got the running back taken down in the backfield earlier than they should have been. The oline needs to hold their blocks better. We are a run heavy team, and the line was crap in run blocking imo early on.
- Our DBs – Yes, I'm having a go at our defence too. As I said, the team in general was sloppy. Firstly, our DBs did not seem to take the WRs seriously. Kelvin Joseph looked lost out there, especially early. He sorted himself out later in the game, but he was disappointing early on in the game.
- Our issues with running QBs – Jeff Driskel was absolutely destroying our defence. We seem to struggle defencively with running QBs. Considering a QB in our division, this MUST be sorted out!!! If Driskel was having the success that he was having, how are they going to handle Hurts?
- Micah Parsons – I like Micah, and I've made that clear. However, I'm the kind of fan that will credit players when they deserve it, and I will criticise a player when I feel that it is deserved. I felt that Parsons was a bit MIA today. I do think he might be dealing with an injury or something, but I'm not sure he even got much pressure on the QBs, and Mills isn't that mobile.
Thus, there was a lot that this team did wrong. These are just a few examples. However, there were things that I thought that this team did well.
- The Cowboys showed grit. This was a kind of match that the Cowboys under Garrett would have lost. As embarrassing as it'd have been, they'd likely have just conceded this game and decided to take it to the next week. Yet, this team won it. Even last year, this team struggled here. The game against the Broncos is one example from last year. That was a team that we were also, on paper, a better team than. Last year, we got absolutely whipped by the Broncos. This time, we beat the Texans. I do see some improvement there.
- Not every game is going to be a blow out, and this game can certainly help the team understand how to play in a tight game and win it. That can be useful, and it can be used to remind the team what plays are needed to win it at the end.
- Dak was very good on that last drive. He played a below average game overall, but that drive was absolutely clutch. 98 yards to score the TD was a job well done. That CAN be useful for the team going against a playoff team as the team can now say that they've had a long game winning drive this season. This is something to build on for the team.
- Our defence performed strongly toward the end when it mattered. They made key stops when they had to at the end to give our offense a chance. That's important for Quinn to be able to build further with.
- This team has shown that they perform well in the 4th quarter the last few games. We had a tight game going into the 4th quarter against the Giants, and we ended up flattening then. It was only 21-19 against the Colts entering the 4th quarter, and we put another 33 points on them that quarter to destroy them. Finally, we were trailing this game, and we came back to win in the 4th quarter. So, this team is showing that they can play well in the 4th quarter.
In conclusion, I'd give this team an average score for this game. On a scale from 1 – 10, my impressed meter for this game is a 4 maybe 5 if I'm feeling generous. The team was awful to start, and we looked like a team that will struggle in the playoffs with how atrocious the team appeared to be. However, this team did manage to pull themselves together and win this game. If this team wants to make it to and beyond the divisional round, then the Cowboys MUST be more consistent. Inconsistent play means the Cowboys season will end in the playoffs with no trophy. Only one game this season have the Cowboys played a complete game, which was against the Vikings. If the Cowboys play a complete game with consistency, then the Cowboys are one of the premier teams in the league. However, that's IF they play that way. Today was not that. The Cowboys need to be more consistent, or this team will not be in the NFC Championship game.