Abysmal. Hapless. Harmless. Wholly unwatchable. Thoroughly unsatisfying. And over before it barely started.
Nope, not the flimsy, fraudulent matrimony of Kris and Kim Kardashian. I’m wagging a disapproving finger in the general direction of the Dallas Cowboys’ shameful performance last weekend against the Eagles. We tuned in to the Cowboys in Philadelphia needing a therapeutic distraction from the Texas Rangers’ epic World Series collapse and were trick-over-treated to their worst performance in the 15-game Jason Garrett era.
The Eagles scored on their first six possessions, rolled up 495 total yards and LeSean McCoy violently gouged a defense that entered the game No. 1 against the run, transforming himself into Curly Neal to Cowboys’ Washington Generals. By the time NBC could get around to introducing the Cowboys’ offense, Dallas was down 14-0 and headed for a 34-7 shellacking. Garrett’s previous losses as head coach: 3, 3, 1, 3, 4 and 4 points.
Most hideous thing I’ve seen since Mike Napoli’s ankle greeted second base in St. Louis.
In the post-game locker room, however, owner Jerry Jones refused to sift through the ashes. Instead, he flushed the toilet, sprayed some Febreze and pretended the malodorous incident never took place.
“There’s no alarm,” said the owner, who in the same locker room stood by head coach Wade Phillips in the wake of a 44-6 loss that ended the 2008 season. “I want to be clear here: There’s absolutely no alarm. This can happen in the NFL.”
So can this: One month from today, the Cowboys will be 7-4. You heard me.
Not that these Cowboys are now — or have ever been — Super Bowl contenders. But there is precedent for getting pantsed in prime time providing a pivotal season turning point. In 1992, the Cowboys lost an October Monday Night Football showdown in Philly, 31-7, beat the Seattle Seahawks at home the following week and went on to win Super Bowl XXVII. In 1970, Dallas was embarrassed 38-0 by the St. Louis Cardinals on a forgettable MNF in the Cotton Bowl, but didn’t lose again until Super Bowl V. Shoot, even the Dallas Mavericks lost a game to the Lakers in March by 28 points en route to a championship, and the Rangers were routed, 16-7, by the Cardinals in Game 3 of the World Series before winning the next two games and… well, okay, it doesn’t always turn out rosy.
For the Cowboys, the resurrection commences Sunday with a home win over Seattle, fortified by a victory in Arlington over the Buffalo Bills, a win on the road against the cratering Washington Redskins and another home win against another horrendous opponent, the Miami Dolphins, on Thanksgiving Day. Blowout loss, meet four-game winning streak. It says as much about Dallas’ lame schedule as its team, but in the aftermath of 34-7 I see 4-0 heading into December at Arizona.
The Cowboys aren’t nearly as bad as they appeared Sunday night.
And I still think they can be pretty good.