Tuesday, December 15, 2009

All I want for Christmas is a win in December

By Danny Udero Sun-News Sports Editor

SILVER CITY — Like a script out of the Christmas Carol, the ghost of Decembers past came back to haunt the Dallas Cowboys during this past Sunday's football game against San Diego. Dallas lost its fifth of six December games, dating back to 2008, and it doesn't look like it may get any better this month, with the Cowboys still having to travel to face the undefeated Saints next week and then Washington and Philadelphia.

Dallas must win at least one of these three games to keep its playoff hopes alive, and I'm asking all America's Team fanatics to ask Santa Claus for a Tony Romo win in December. Romo is 5-9 in the month of December, and let's all face it ... He's the leader of our offense, and he has to get the team motivated enough to score points.

We can ask ourselves a bunch of questions as to why our beloved Cowboys are failing in December, and there are a lot of reasons that have surfaced.

First of all, if you look at stats, Romo isn't doing too bad. He had 249 yards passing and two touchdowns in this past Sunday's loss. The previous week against the Giants, he set a completion record in passing. So why are we faltering all of a sudden?

If you looked at Sunday's game, we need to ask the question, why didn't offensive coordinator Jason Garrett run the football from the get go. It took him until the third series to figure it out, and we were too busy trying to play catch-up after that.

We get down to the goal line running the ball, and then he calls the exact play over and over again to Marion Barber. My seven-year old son even knew Barber was going to get the ball again, and he was stuffed at the goal line after four tries. Miles Austin is having a great year, and I still don't see him added into the offensive mix more and more. He should be electric, and he probably should be returning punts. A playmaker like Austin could add some spark and energy to the special teams.

On defense, you have cornerbacks playing 10 to 12 yards off the ball on a third and short situation. This has happened over and over again. I know you don't want to get beat on the long ball, but giving up the short yardage isn't what you want to do either.

I think Garrett's play calling has become as stagnant as malaria in Vietnam. By now, everyone knows what he is going to do and where he is going to go. You see the receivers running routes for seven yards when we need 10. You see conservative play calling a lot more as the season goes on. With three running backs in the mix, there shouldn't be no reason why we couldn't have punched the ball in from the goal line this past weekend. Even if everyone knew there was going to be a running play.

Nick Folk continues to miss field goals. This turns around the game in a huge way with momentum. Gets the crowds quiet at home and then gets them riled up when you are on the road.

Starting the game in shot gun mode this past week, was like watching the Christmas Story. Everyone should have been telling Wade Phillips, "Romo will shoot his eye out." Our running game is what sets the tone, and only then will our passing game open up. I think a lot of arm chair quarterbacks know this, but how do we get Phillips, Jerry Jones and Garrett to figure it out.

I still believe Dallas has the potential of winning a Super Bowl this season. But, a lot has to change before that is going to happen, including a win in December. If I could get a visit from the ghost of Christmas future, he might predict a win and a playoff appearance. Let's start by getting a win in New Orleans, and let's not let the Saints go marching in.

Knocking off New Orleans from its pedestal is what the Cowboys need to do to kick-start them into a playoff run and maybe a deeper appearance in post season football. And, well if we can't beat the Saints, lets focus on Washington and Philadelphia. But, these games will be rivalry contests with the Eagles banking on a playoff appearance as well, so I am asking Kris Kringle for a win in December and against the Saints. Forget health care and budget problems. I want a victory in December. I'll take this one for the Boys in New Orleans.