Offensive Whoas

If what Harry Truman said was true, then the buck stops here. Considering the last three years and one game of football by the Dallas Cowboys, the offense stops here, as well. The 2003 season opened at Texas Stadium with the Dallas Cowboys facing the Atlanta Falcons.

Atlanta showed up with their pro-bowl quarterback Michael Vick, watching from the coach's box with a broken foot. Atlanta 27, Dallas 13 should have Bill Parcells and company praying their thanks he didn't play.

The Falcons took the opening kick-off on a 10 play, 56-yard scoring drive that took 6:20 to put up a field goal. The drive was a classic mixture of runs and passes. Dallas was pushed back time and again without getting any real pressure on Doug Johnson, the starter replacing the wounded Vick.

Yet the play that wasn't was a pass to Quentin McCord for a 23-yard touchdown brought back because McCord pushed off on Terrance Newman. McCord ran toward the center of the field in a deep arc to turn and race to the pylon. He was not touched after the push and beat Woodson to the endzone. But flags flew and Atlanta was forced to kick the fieldgoal.

Dallas woke up two series later as the third play from scrimmage went for a 63-yard run up the middle by Avion Cason. He found an opening and then broke it outside and outran everyone. Dallas took the lead and the momentum. The rest of the first half was Dallas just barely missing their opportunities to score. Mostly they shot themselves in the foot by mistakes. Johnson was out-of-sync and Dallas took advantage by taking the ball away twice. Once on a fumble by Johnson and another by an interception.

But ultimately Dallas couldn't move the ball any closer than the Atlanta 15 where Billy Cundiff missed a chip shot fieldgoal which would have put Dallas up by 7. Parcells won‘t tolerate this kind of gaff and Dallas could be shopping for a kicker as of Monday morning. Brett Conway is the best of the unemployed, and may be earning his star by default.

The second half was the exact opposite of the first. Dallas took the kick-off and Quincy Carter proceeded to fumble the ball to the Falcons. After a first down, Quincy was flushed from the pocket. As he ran he didn't tuck the ball away and was stripped by Patrick Kerney and recovered by Matt Stewart. Four plays later Warrick Dunn receives a pass from Johnson and took the lead for good.

Atlanta spent the third quarter with field position in the Dallas end of Texas Stadium. And it resulted in the Falcons taking charge of the game. Dan Reeves influenced the offensive play calling and pulled out some bootlegs and tricks to go up by ten before the quarter was over. With a screenplay rolling right, Johnson threw back to the tight end Alge Crumpler who outran everyone for 41-yards and a touchdown.

When asked about the defense perhaps being out of gas because they were on the field for so long, Parcells dismissed it. "I wouldn't say it (the defense) was worn down. They (Atlanta) got the ball at the fifty-yard line. That was the first series of the third quarter. We weren't worn down then."

Not much has changed from last season. Or the two prior to that. Dallas is still undisciplined at times and makes both physical and mental errors. And yet there are times where flashes of a competitive team emerge.

With Atlanta being forced to put in an inexperienced safety, Dallas capitalized buy throwing deep to Joey Galloway. On a nifty flag patterns where the offense lined up both Galloway and Glenn on the sane side, they tricked the defense as both players ran what appeared to be fly patterns only to turn toward the sidelines. Carter threw his best pass of the day and Galloway took the ball from the defensive back, and pushed him into the endzone. Yet as if this was a rerun from last season, the lead couldn't be trimmed and Atlanta scored again to put it out of reach. Untalented teams don't win close games and let close games get away. This game was far closer than the 27-13 final. But talent is the difference in these two teams.

The offense truly stops in Dallas. In 41 of the last 49 games Dallas has scored less than two touchdowns. Unfortunately for the fans and the Cowboy defense, it's the wrong offense that stops.

Questions And Comments Did Reggie Swinton take the day off on kick returns?

Other than Leroi Glover, did the defensive tackles make a play today?

Is a wounded Larry Allen still better than his back up?

Other than a play where the Falcon defender made the wrong choice, what did Antonio Bryant bring to the table today?

Terence Newman wasn't spectacular, but he was better than the laundry list of players that have been across from Edwards over the last two seasons.

Has there ever been a safety that is as intimidating in the pass rush as Roy Williams?

Did the coaching staff make mental mistakes when calling time outs toward the end of the game?

Who said Darren Woodson was done?

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