Sunday, January 17, 2010

Cowboys - Vikings Notes: Second Half

> During the halftime brayathon, Jimmy Johnson can't avoid the Cowboy Pronoun Issue, or the Romo Apologia. The others cite the Adams Injury -- alas poor Dallas, subject to an actual injury! -- and I suppose it's better than Favre Haggery, though to be honest, the latter is defensible. It's also cited that in the 50-year history of the franchise, they've only had one comback from 14 points. I'd love to point out how this shows their essential gutlessness, but the uglier truth is that most of those years were spent smacking the rest of the league around, so it's not like they've had lot of opportunities to come back from that kind of hole...

> The usual touchback starts things. Peterson on a sprint draw for seven good looking yards. A traditional give to the back gets nothing. Third and three sees Favre from the gun draw a flag, and the QB takes a big hit on what he thinks is a free play; the result is a Harvin flag and Suspicious Flag #3, in that post whistle hits on the QB are almost always flagged in this era of the NFL. Favre can't connect with Harvin on third, and Suspicious Flag #4 is the uncalled defensive holding (and post-whistle taunt) that prevented the completion. A good punt and coverage is wiped by an ineligible man downfield, and the re-kick results in a false start against the Vikings -- ye gads, this is getting ugly -- and a Newman fair catch at the Cowboy 43. The flags and rekick gives Dallas 14 yards of field position, Loud and Angry Viking Fans, and momentum for their first offensive possession of the half.

> Jones for 17 around the left side, and he's so much better than their other backs, it's not funny. He gets nine to the right and a seat on the bench, because that's how the Modern NFL is. Yeesh. Barber takes advantage of a gaping hole for seven more, and the Cowboys are already in field goal position. A toss to Barber, Not Jones, results in a 7 yard loss and millions of Cowboy Fans wondering why you can't give Jones more than two carries a series. Second and 17 sees Romo from the gun to Bennett for three. Third anf 14 from the gun sees Romo take one of his usual make two men miss and get snowed under sacks, and the loss forces a 49 yard field goal attempt from Suisham that's so close, it looked like it touched the upright flag. Why, it's as if he's a Redskin Reject! Wade Philips on the sidelines is looking very Dagnabbity, almost as if he's got a lifetime 1-4 playoff record, and I'd like to point out to him that had he just, well, continued to give the ball to his good RB, instead of his bad one, there's no reason why that last drive had to go to the crapper. Jones has 8 carries for 46 yards; Barber has 7 for 13. Ye Gads.

> Favre nearly throws the game-changing pick on a first down slant, and that's worrisome, because when he makes one bad throw, another is usually quick to follow. Peterson gets four on a play that's helped by a defensive hold on NT Jay Ratliff, and he's really not having a good day. Dallas's first penalty of the day (!) brings the ball to midfield. Harvin makes a 14-yard run out of what could have been a 10-yard loss on pure burst. Peterson for two in the middle, and you get the feeling that the Vikings are just throwing those plays not so much as to gain yards as to soften Dallas for later. A false start makes things harder, then Peterson gets three on one of those talent runs. Third and 11 s a field goal down, and CB Orlando Scandrick upends Rice on a short cross. Rather than try a long field goal, Childress goes for a punt, and P Chris Kluwe does the job with a perfect coffin corner job at the Dallas 2. Big play for the punter there with 20 minutes left in the game.

> The loud dome should help the home team here, and on first, they give to Barber for his 2 yard average carry. Romo from the gun on second has time and an open man, but misses Witten on a McNabbish loss of concentration. Third and 8 from the four has Romo from the gun to Austin, but the WR can't get his feet down as S Tyrell Johnson wisely forces the feet out of bounds. I don't mean to read too much into body language, but that Dallas series had a lot of quit in it. P Mat McBriar draws a five yard flag with a quasi-flop, and after commerce, he rekicks to good advantage, gaining 10 yards as Fox announcer Joe Buck blows the idea that defensive teams can force the offense into taking a penalty. Ah well, it's not like he's paid a lot of money to know about the game or anything, and he eventually gets it right.

> Favre and Harvin can't connect on first, then Peterson gets nothing. Dallas doing a lot of talking for a team that's down by two touchdowns with 18 minutes left. On third and 10 from the gun, Favre is sacked by Ratliff, and a fumble happens post-whistle. Kluwe can't duplicate his punt, and the Cowboys will start at their own 20 with a lot more life than expected.

> Jones gets four out of nothing on a throw to the flat, then dithers in the backfield on a sweep for a four yard loss. On third and 10, Dallas looks out of sorts, and then Romo makes an unconscionable pick to LB Ben Leber. Aikman puts it on the pass protection in an act of what I can only see as Brokebackian Love, because I'm not sure how throwing the ball right to a guy in the wrong laundry off a pump fake is ever not the QB's fault. But I suppose that I shouldn't complain about such things, since it keeps Romo from thinking that he needs to get better, rather than take annual in-season vacations and affairs with stupid celebrities. Protect The Romo!

> Taylor and Peterson gain a little and kill the quarter, and it looks like the Vikings are content to make this a three score game, rather than risk a turnover. Fave backs up that theory with a safe bubble screen to Harvin, and the Longwell field goal makes is a 20-3 game with 14 and change left. We're getting to the point of the game where Dallas just might not have enough possessions to come back. Lots of loving in-fighting for the men with stars on their hats, too!

> Jones with an overly patient kickoff return that doesn't work. Romo flips to Witten for 8 yards as Edwards leaves with knee issues. Romo finds Witten again for 23 more yards, and that's the biggest gain of the day for Dallas, but the TE hobbles off. A Jones screen is stopped by the first defender and comes back on a flag. Witten returns for 7 yards as Romo holds the security blanket hard. A quick one to Crayton gets four and pain, and given the time and place on the field, we're looking at four downs... that is, unless, Romo is spun down for a disastrous sack from a stunt. The sixth Viking sack of the day is a huge one, and the McBriar punt is fair caught inside the Vikings 20. If the Vikings offense can move the sticks, this one is over.

> Twelve minutes left as Peterson gets five from a moving wall of heart and power. Harvin shows a burst to the sticks from a traditional set, and the clock runs. Peterson for three more on the left as Fox decides to show a split screen of Prince and Bud Grant. No, I don't know why either. Favre milking every second from the clock, then rolls right and finds Rice for 20 yards as Buck remembers to fellate The Ol' Gunslinger; big play. Peterson for two more carries as the clock goes under eight minutes. A third and four from the gun has Favre lofting it for Rice, who beats CB Mike Jenkins like a rented mule, then takes time off the clock as he walks into end zone. Ball and Game, Folks, and while the Vikings really haven't been 24 points better than the Cowboys today, that's what the scoreboard says. Vikings 27, Cowboys 3.

> We're in that magical part of the game where the defense goes for maximum pain on the QB, otherwise known as why the Buddy Ryan Eagles teams were so beloved. As Viking Fan sings their intentions in regards to who they will rock, Romo to Witten for eight, then an incomplete shovel to Jones, rather than just scramble and take the first down. From the gun on third, Jones loses two on an odd call, as Dallas owner Jerruh Jones paces the sidelines looking for someone to fire. The game effectively ends on Romo to Witten before the sticks, and he's stopped for the ball over on downs. If you want to make the point that Dallas played that entire series to make sure Romo didn't get his feelings hurt any further, I won't argue the point.

> Peterson into the line three times to provoke Dallas timeouts as Buck and Aikman start the Full Throttled Favre Haggery. Did you know that a lifetime of bad picks is OK now that he didn't do that this year? Or how this is a huge win, or how there is something to be said for wining a playoff game? I can feel my brain cells die here. Rather than try a 47 yard field goal or punt, Childress goes for the Confetti Bucket Touchdown to Rice, who can't get both hands on it in the end zone. Curious, really; I think I would have punted, not that it will matter in the slightest.

> Romo's first two passes are tipped and down, and I'm wondering if we'll see Tarvaris Jackson to close it out. At this point, it's easier to count the Cowboys who are still trying, as opposed to the ones that have quit. A flip from pressure to Jones gets seven yards, and on fourth and three from the gun, Austin won't catch the hot slant. You know, I wouldn't put it past Jerruh to fire Philips after this game, I really wouldn't.

> Peterson, who seems to be carrying the ball right now just to prove that he can get through a game without fumbling. A bubble screen to Berrian gets the Vikings into the red zone, then Peterson goes over the left side for five yards and stays in bounds. The drive ends as the world starts thinking about Vikings - Saints with Favre to TE Vincente Schiancoe for the rub it in touchdown on fourth and three, and that's Favre's fourth touchdown pass of the game as Cowboy MLB Keith Brookings Does Not Appreciate That. Oh no, Vkings, now you've made Brookings mad! Vikings 34, Cowboys 3, and anyone who didn't see that coming hasn't watched a lot of the Vikings this year.

> Jones on a draw for nine as the world looks to see if any fights will break out. He does it again for the first, and Brookings really should keep his helmet on. Jones for another six as Dallas would rather not score, rather than prolong the game. The game ends on another handoff to Jones, and that is that. Dallas just didn't make plays early, when they controlled the game, and eventually Favre did. The postgame scene shows the Ol' Gunslinger barely getting through things without bawling like a baby, and he someone manages to avoid talking about retiring, so I guess we have to praise him for that.

I really do suspect that the Saints will turn this Vikings team inside out, because they haven't been the same team on the road, but more about that later. Congrats to the Vikings for ending the Cowboy Menace, and we'll be back for the late game in a bit.

3 comments:

John Bradley said...

"McNabbish"

Sir, even though you were using it as an adjective, I do believe you've just coined a new noun.

Related to "nebbish", this one describes the sort of guy who can fly high and look like a God's Own Gift when things are going well, but just put him into a pressure situation and watch things fall apart.

Sample usage: "Remember Mike Schmidt? Jeeze, what a mcnabbish that guy was!"

DMtShooter said...

Schmidt has a ring, and a 48 homer year in the year that he got the ring, including the pennant-winning home run in Montreal. Shame on you.

John Bradley said...

Bah. Exception that proves the rule, says I.

Yeah, he was MVP in the '80 Series. But I distinctly recall the actual series being vaguely 'easy', a let-down after the regular season race and the tightest, Most Incredible-ist NLCS Ever.

And when the team was most in need of his talents (the Astros series), the ol' bum kinda stunk up the joint. (5 for 24, .208 BA and an .490 OPS). Of the starters, only Boone had comparably crappy numbers.

But details of one particular glorious season 30 years ago, I'm thinking more in terms of career-spanning generalities. And Schmidt was never the guy (imho) you'd call for in the "game is on the line, we need a clutch hit *right now*" situation.

How 'bout Eric Lindros, another mcnabbish?

Iverson: definitely not.

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