|A 6-PACK OF REASONS 'BOYS BEAT THE PACK|
|by Mike Fisher||Fri, Nov 30, 2007, 08:28 am|
A Six-Pack Of Things I Thought I’d See. … and how they worked out for me in Dallas’ 37-27 win over Green Bay on Thursday night:
6. Green Bay’s Aaron Kampman will demonstrate why he’s the NFL sack leader. But Demarcus Ware will counter by demonstrating that he’s a contender for the throne.
HOW’D THAT WORK OUT FOR ME? My logic with Kampman was that a wounded Marc Colombo would not be a match for Kampman’s double-your-pleasure combo of physical ability/high motor. My logic with Ware was that if you know Green Bay’s not going to run – and the Packers simply cannot, right? – Ware will be free to focus on one singular goal: pressure Brett Favre. Oh, and he’ll get to do it while being checked by a limping Mark Taucher.
I get a half-point there.
How many times did Kampman and the Packers even TOUCH Tony Romo? Colombo was brilliant. His running mate at tackle, Flozell Adams, was just as special. Those two fellas are going to have a blast watching themselves in the film room today.
Meanwhile, Ware was brilliant (again). With the Cowboys playing tons of dime defense, Demarcus occasionally dropped into coverage. But mostly, Wade Phillips and Brian Stewart relied on a gameplan designed to bring crazy pressure on Favre. Greg Ellis had two sacks. And the key play of the game was all about pocket pressure, when a blitzing Nate Jones pressured Favre into an interception and forced the icon to leave the game with an injury to his right arm and an injury to his left shoulder.
“If you don’t go after Brett Favre, he’ll pick you apart,’’ said Jones, something less than a blue-chip Cowboy in that he was cut earlier this year before being re-hired. “So we went after him.’’
5. Like I said, the Packers simply cannot run, right?
HOW’D THAT WORK OUT FOR ME? In a lot of the Packers games I’ve watched, they haven’t even bothered to even pretend to “keep ‘em honest’’ by running. In a league where a 100-yard rusher is a decent milestone, the Packers AS A TEAM came in averaging 20 yards fewer than that.
Well, Ryan Grant did have an early 62-yard TD run. But guess what? Over the course of the entire rest of the game, on 18 other runs, Grant, backup QB Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the Pack rushed for a total of only 62 more.
It’s going to be a fatal flaw for Green Bay, I think; it’s hard to hold down good teams when you can’t eat up a little clock.
4. Tony Romo is Favre-ish. At the least.
HOW’D THAT WORK OUT FOR ME? One of the gaps yet to be closed between Romo and his idol (and yessir, he was and is his idol) is that Favre has loads of experience in games of this magnitude. Romo, meanwhile, probably won some enormous games for Eastern Illinois. But Romo – like Favre – takes such joy in what he’s doing that “pressure’’ doesn’t seem to be an issue.
Example: I have it on good authority that Romo is indeed dating Jessica Simpson. They’ve gone out on three dates. The most recent was on Monday night. Now, understand this: 72 hours before the biggest game of his life, Tony Romo is goofing off with Jessica Simpson?
And then he goes out in what one local commentator called “the biggest regular-season game in Dallas Cowboys history’’ and gives the home team 19-of-30 for 309 and four TDs?
“There’s only one Brett Favre,’’ said Romo buddy Jason Witten. “But Tony proved he could play.’’
And Favre proved. … that he wasn’t exactly in the mood to “play within himself.’’ Favre did almost nothing except randomly lob passes deep down field. His performance seemed so casually disinterested I think he thought he was performing in a Wranglers jeans commercial.
For the record – and this Cowboys team is setting a lot of them – Favre is 0-9 at Texas Stadium.
Also for the record: The NFC Playoffs almost now certainly come through Texas Stadium.
Tony Romo is, in his joie de vive (that’s French), Favre-like. Let’s just keep the kid off the Vicodin and the Bud Light, eh?
3. The Packers cornerbacks can control Terrell Owens by matching his physicality. But some other Cowboy pass-catcher will come up big.
HOW’D THAT WORK OUT FOR ME? Tony Gonzalez did it to them. Chris Cooley did it to them. Antonio Gates did it to them. Why wouldn’t Jason Witten do it to the Packers, too? That was my logic, and in the second half, it certainly came true as Witten registered six catches for 67 yards, all of them seemingly in the clutch.
But I gave Al Harris and Co. way too much credit. And maybe, gave Dallas O-coordinator Jason Garrett too little.
Not only could the GB corners not control Terrell (he had 7/156/1 for the game, and dropped another easy potential TD), they couldn’t even control Patrick Crayton, who scored twice.
Heck, they couldn’t even handle Miles Austin, who burned them on kick returns and then was on the business end of two interference calls that gave Dallas 40 and 42 more valuable free yards.
Part of Dallas’ success was strategic: Owens, especially, was moved around the line of scrimmage like a chess piece, getting him away from Harris. T.O. in the slot, T.O. in the backfield, T.O. in motion. … If it’s T.O. vs. A.J. (Hawk) one-on-one in coverage, don’t you kinda like Dallas’ chances?
2. This game could last until midnight.
HOW’D THAT WORK OUT FOR ME? This was an easy call, for three reasons. A) The ceremony honoring the 1977 and 1992 Cowboys ate up some time. B) I figured somebody from the cable company might sabotage the game by unplugging something. C) These defenses, as accomplished as they are on the whole, are also quite capable of allowing 700-plus passing yards.
But it didn’t all quite come true. The ceremony was actually quite reserved; “Here’s Roger, Here’s Troy, let’s play,’’ and that was about it. The 700-passing-yards thing? Nah. (“Only’’ 542.) And the whole NFL Network/cable TV thing? Nobody unplugged anything. But maybe somebody should’ve, especially when the NFL Network’s play-by-play man, Bryant Gumbel, consistently sounded like he hadn’t watched football in a year. At the beginning of the game, the cameras showed the Cowboys emerging from the tunnel and Gumbel said, “Here come the Pack. … er, Cowboys!’’ (Bryant, here’s an easy way to remember: the team in green is Green Bay.) In the middle of the game, he called Marion Barber “the heartbeat of the Packers offense.’’ (And said it twice.) And at the end of the game, I swear he said something about the “star of the game,’’ or something, and referred to “Rick Romo.’’
Rick Romo? Could he mean “Ricky Romo’’? Al Pacino’s character in “Glengarry Glen Ross’’? Who the hell is Rick Romo?
1.Dallas would win, and cover the seven-point spread.
HOW’D THAT WORK OUT FOR ME? “We’ve got ourselves in the driver’s seat,’’ Owens said. “Now we’ve got to stay there.’’
True. But for now, it’s Dallas 37, Green Bay 27. The best team in the NFC is 11-1, and is 10 points better than the second-best team in the NFC. Even though that prediction was, er. … not for gambling purposes. … it works for me!
written by Matt (Washington DC) , December 03, 2007
This article would not have been complete without referencing the incompetence of those booth idiots. You mentioned Gumbel...Collinsworth was just as hard to listen to. Both were an embarrassment to the NFL Network. Cowboy games deserve better. Well done Mike.
written by Sggtrs54 , December 03, 2007
we just to damn good and will run till we get old and gray.
written by Sggtrs54 , December 03, 2007
we to good to be real will be 1 and 1 sunday super bowl dalas and new england
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