Cowboys: No Offensive Game Plan Against Patriots


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The Dallas Cowboys have yet to figure out that their opposition over the last three games realizes that Tony Romo and Dez Bryant are out.

Okay, so you’re tremendously unlucky in sustaining a rash of injuries that’s seldom ever seen in the world of football. Since there’s no sympathy coming from either the fan base or future opponents, the only way to stay afloat is to go unconventional.


Not if you’re head coach Jason Garrett.

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Against the defending world chumps on Sunday, Garrett and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan seemed to come out with the same ultra-conservative game plan that’s been unsuccessful for the last two weeks.

Sure, the Week 3 game against the Atlanta Falcons saw some early scoring via a running game that was previously unseen, but there’s been little else since then.

The main problem is that New England was the best team that the Cowboys had faced all season. To come out running on first down drive after three-and-out drive in the first half just made no sense.

This was one of those games where you literally tell yourself, “We’ve got nothing to lose here, so let’s go for it.”

Instead, the Cowboys brass decided to approach the Patriots the same way they were able to handle most opponents a year ago.

Sure, if quarterback Tony Romo and wide receiver Dez Bryant were healthy and in uniform, then this just might work.

But with backup quarterback Brandon Weeden entering this game with back-to-back losses to Atlanta and the New Orleans Saints, who were 0-3 at the time, it was time to stretch the field, call some gadget plays, or at least some offensive plays that haven’t been seen before.

Granted, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick would probably know about anything discreet that the Cowboys might be planning, but relying almost solely on a running game that’s been highly inconsistent in 2015 while trying to protect your backup passer is just pointless.

It’s important to stress that the Cowboys are looking at another month, at least, without Romo and Bryant. The task at hand is to win a few games until then, and the current approach isn’t working at all.

No, Matt Cassel isn’t the answer either. His presence isn’t going to improve the blocking on the offensive line or convince the opposition to back off to create running lanes that opponents just aren’t willing to give up.

When the Cowboys did finally get some running lanes, and subsequent passing yards, to begin the second half, the lack of imagination from the Cowboys offense was on full display.

On 3rd and 3 from inside the New England 10-yard line, Dallas chose to attempt just the second completion of the day to tight end Jason Witten. Good idea, at least until you see that Weeden fired a one-yard pass to the flat that created 4th and 2 – field goal.

This was not a situation where a field goal was even close to an option – not after the Patriots took the opening kickoff of the second half for their second touchdown of the game and a 20-3 lead.

Ball game.

Five sacks by a defense that had less than a handful coming into this game was a good sign. If the Cowboys rally during late November and December to clinch a playoff spot, a healthy defense, which includes newcomers like defensive end Greg Hardy and middle linebacker Rolando McClain, will absolutely be a part of it.

Until that time, be ready to continue watching Dallas play its extended ‘Preseason 2.0’ with an offense that just has no clear game plan.

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  • Published on 10/11/2015 at 23:37 PM
  • Last updated at 10/11/2015 at 23:38 PM