For the third consecutive year, the Dallas Cowboys find themselves facing a dreaded “play in game”. Let’s face it, these haven’t gone well for Dallas in recent years and they face added adversity especially at the quarterback position, going into this showdown with the Eagles.
Tony Romo, who hasn’t performed well in these type games anyway, has a major back injury.
Orton is an experienced but unproven backup and out of desperation the Cowboys signed former backup Kitna who is a math teacher currently. I’m reminded of a scene from the Blues Brothers movie:
Elwood: “It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark…..and we’re wearing sunglasses.”
Jake: Hit it.
In a way the Cowboys are on a mission from God in a quest to finish with a winning record and make the playoffs for the first time in years. Losing this game means finishing 8-8 again and missing the playoffs …again. It’s almost unthinkable. Another offseason of Jerry Jones telling us the Cowboys are pretty close to “Super Bowl ready” and coaching changes that never pan out the way they were intended.
While it may seem like the same scenario as the previous two years, it feels different this time. The NFC east was as winnable this year as we have seen in a long time. The Redskins were awful, the Giants down this year, and then the Eagles with their new coach Chip Kelly from the college ranks. It was there on a silver platter for Dallas to take but they found themselves in a must win game last week and again this week. Fighting for survival.
This time Dallas faces a clearly defined crossroad for the organization. They either get over the hump and build a team that can contend or they lose and have to hit the reset button and just start over. They turn the corner or crash and burn. I can’t see much in between.
In my Blues Brother analogy, Elwood points out all the adversity that makes their mission not likely to succeed. For Dallas it’s easy to list many reasons why their mission will likely fail Sunday night. There is the defense that has allowed tons of yardage and points this season and the Eagles offense coming in after scoring more than 50 last week against the Bears. Then the whole shaky QB situation with Orton on a big stage and the coaches hoping they don’t have to put the math teacher in.
I could go on about all the injuries but it’s too easy to focus on the obvious reasons why the underdog Dallas will probably finish 8-8 yet again. Instead like Jake who focuses on the mission and simply tells Elwood to “hit it”, Dallas can’t fail. They must find and create a way to win by coming up with a turnover or two, getting a timely sack, and giving the ball to Murray to help their QB.
This is not the time to focus on why this mission is likely to fail. On Sunday night it’s just time to hit it and accomplish the mission one way or another.