GALLOWAY: Dallas Cowboys’ defense had chance to step up, but instead quit

http://www.star-telegram.com/2010/10/26/2575639/dallas-cowboys-defense-had-ch…

gallowayARLINGTON — Go ahead and rejoice, all you local Romo haters.

That does it for Tony, gone for who knows how long after suffering a broken left collarbone Monday night.

What do you figure here, out five weeks? Six? Longer? More details on that will be available at some point today.

But there’s no reason for a medical rush job on Romo. At 1-5, the season was/is over, and this injury merely confirmed it.

So, please, no sob-story excuses that this kind of rotten luck wrecked the Dallas Cowboys’ season since there was already wreckage up and down Randol Mill Road for the last six weeks, or long before Romo was slammed shoulder first into the turf.

And in what would eventually become an easy-does-it 41-35 misleading final score of a win for the New York Giants, the Romo knockout blow didn’t explain one of the most despicable Cowboys defensive performances in recent memory.

Did they quit on defense? They quit, and this creates a serious challenge this week for even Wade Phillips to mealy mouth his way through an explanation for a defense — his defense — that back-doored the Alamo.

Over the second and third quarters, the Giants scored on five straight possessions, resulting in 31 unanswered points. It was a Cowboys comedy clinic of whiffing on tackles and losing receivers in coverage.

Wade, of course, will think of a smokescreen for this embarrassment. It will be something stupid. It always is. And if last week was any indication, Jerry Jones will give Phillips his full vocal support, giving us Dumber and Dumbest.

But don’t even attempt to alibi that the defense was in Romo-withdrawal-shock when it tanked for a couple of quarters. Of course, Wade did in his postgame whine, saying there was “a letdown.” No, actually, the defense quit.

The Cowboys had a 10-7 lead when Tony took the hit and departed. A field goal on that same possession made it 13-7, all of those points coming on New York turnovers. Then Dez Bryant had a 93-yard punt return for a 20-7 lead.

The defense could have dug in. Instead, it threw up.

Giants linebacker Michael Boley was given a free shot at Romo early in the second quarter because somebody screwed up something in the blocking scheme. Several different names got the blame, although rookie fullback Chris Gronkowski appeared to have missed a read when he missed Boley steaming in the direction of the QB.

For that vocal local minority that thought Romo had become a waste of quarterbacking time, well, now there’s Jon Kitna..

Be careful what you wish for, even if Jerry Jones in training camp this summer declared Kitna the best No. 2 QB in the NFL. How would he know?

Kitna hadn’t played in the NFL in two years before he entered in the second quarter, and he hasn’t won a game in three seasons.

At least he had the emergency-duty excuse of rust on Monday night, and it showed. The game plan for Kitna was keep it short and safe, partly because of an offensive line that was short-handed and struggling.

Under those restrictions, Kitna knew where to find success. Locate rookie Dez Bryant, and let him do the rest.

Dez scored after catching two short passes, and also had the punt return TD.

But in playing out what is still a long, long season, Kitna is now in charge of an offense that will need plenty of defensive help to stay in games.

Lets just say there was nothing to indicate Monday night that it’s a defense that can be counted on to provide that kind of leadership.

Did someone mention though the summer and into the season that the ultimate goal was to host a championship game this season on Randol Mill Road?

Well, it happened.

The Rangers will. And now the Rangers do own all the local spotlight, beginning Wednesday night in Game 1 of the World Series.

But again, being bounced by the Giants, combined with the Romo injury, didn’t confirm that the Cowboys wouldn’t. It was just a final goodbye to being even a so-called contender in a bad-bad division and conference.

With one win in the first five games before Monday night, the Cowboys had already become fraudulent Super Bowl hopefuls.

Now, they join the Lonely Boys of the NFL. Early January, and the end of the season can’t come fast enough for teams just playing out the schedule.

Randy Galloway can be heard weekdays 3-6 p.m. on ESPN/103.3 FM.

Randy Galloway,

817-390-7697

 


Giants Cowboys KB 217

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