I'll be the first to admit that the season looked like a lost cause six weeks ago after the Cowboys lost to the Falcons to drop to 3-5 and the news came out that Bruce Carter was out for the season. How could this team with an inconsistent offense and a defense decimated by injuries possibly rally to get back into contention for a playoff spot?
I've watched it all happen and I'm still not sure that I completely understand exactly how the Cowboys keep winning games against good teams. But they are getting it done. It is taking better play from the offensive line, the return of DeMarco Murry, big plays by the best defensive players, and timely plays in crunch time on both sides of the ball. And we can't forget to throw in the big plays on special teams from Dwayne Harris and Dan Bailey.
I am having more fun with this season than any year since probably 2007. And the reason has to do with my expectations for the team. Even with the Cowboys winning five of their last six I have no delusional thoughts of the Cowboys running the table to win the NFC East. I know it can happen, but I still see their chances of winning each of the next two games as 50-50 at best. But there does seem to be something special building with this team.
It has been refreshing to go into each and every game with very low expectations and see the team play above themselves even if it is only for a short stretch of the season. It is funny how quickly the national media has jumped on the Tony Romo bandwagon when all he is doing is playing the same football in December that he has played for the last three or four seasons. The difference this year has been his supporting cast. But don't tell those talking heads that. They all want you to believe that Romo is somehow playing differently this year than in years past.
Jason Garrett does seem to be more decisive over the last few weeks as well. He did have an interesting thought at the end of the game last week when he had Dan Bailey line up for a 61 yard attempt before rethinking the move after a Steeler time out. I'm not sure the Cowboys would have actually kicked the field goal without the time out, but it would not have been a fundamentally sound call. But with the way things are going right now Bailey probably would have nailed the kick anyway.
DeMarco Murray is the biggest difference in the offense over the last few weeks. It is amazing how much more efficient the offense has become in the red zone with the ability to run the ball even in short yardage situations. It is sad to think what could have been last year had Murray not been injured but we can't go back in time so I have to let that go. But it has been nice to see DeMarco Murray not only on the field over the last few weeks but seemingly getting more healthy as the weeks go by. The Cowboys only have a real shot at winning out this season if Murray stays healthy.
I'm not going to make any more predictions this season. My plan is to sit back and enjoy the rest of the games. I'll still be posting on my blog, but I'm really going to just appreciate watching a team that continues to surprise me. I hope it doesn't end. This season is reminding me how fun it can be to be a loyal fan. Don't forget to remind your family and friends who jumped off the bandwagon as they begin to jump back on that they gave up on their team.