What a week it's been. Personally, dealing with the severe weather has thrown any semblance of a routine into a tailspin. For the Dallas Cowboys, there is no such thing as routine. Since dropping a crushing thriller against the Giants, all we've heard about in Cowboy land is how we should bench the QB and fire the Head Coach. We've also heard bit pieces about family drama with the Smith's, Dez Bryant staying up past bedtime, and how our Defensive Coordinator is guaranteeing victory's again. It's time to get back to normalcy, and what better way than the second installment of our "Monday Morning Headline Predictor"!
For those of you that missed the first one, we'll be giving you a headline and describing the game scenario that led to said headline. For the first time, we've looked to Facebook for a "Fan's Choice" and will continue that in the future. Let's get into the printed media business and predict those headlines!
The Cowboys sure hope the headline reads something kind come Monday morning (Tim Heitman / US PressWire)
Headline 1: Falcons Soar as Long Ball, Romo's Errors Ground the Cowboys 35-17
Scenario 1: Unfortunately, nobody would be too surprised to see this headline come Monday. The Falcons possess one of the best downfield passing attacks in the league, and if the Cowboys can't stop the ball going over the top it'll be a long night. Morris Claiborne again has his work cut out for him, as he will line up against either Julio Jones or Roddy White. Both White and Jones are big, fast, number-1 type receivers that have been productive so far. In this scenario, both White and Jones go for over 100 yards on limited receptions. The Cowboys keep the game close in the first half, but the 3rd quarter sees Matt Ryan finally hit two 70+ yard TD passes. Tony Gonzalez plays the part of Jason Witten and has a workmen-like 8 receptions for 89 yards.
If Romo can't start holding on to the ball with more consistency (13 interceptions, 4 fumbles) the Cowboys simply won't be able to win games. Take away the takeaways, and the Cowboys could realistically be 5-2. Can they be corrected this week? According to this headline, no. Romo throws two crucial picks in the red zone, along with a fumble inside his own twenty. The calls for his benching continue, and are exasperated when Orton leads a garbage time TD drive.
Headline 2: Sunday Night Curse Strikes Again, Dallas Cowboys Fall on Last-Second FG 17-16
Scenario 2: This one is full of more heartbreak for the Cowboys, something they're not unfamiliar with this season. This scenario see's the Cowboys coming out swinging. A strong balance of Phillip Tanner and an efficient Tony Romo gives the Cowboys a 10-0 halftime lead. As the second half kicks off, the Falcons are finally able to catch a break. A downfield pass-interference call against Brandon Carr gives the Falcons the ball inside the 10 yard line, and they cap it off with a Ryan pass to Gonzalez.
The Cowboys are able to add two FGs before the end of the quarter and have a commanding 16-7 lead with only 6 minutes to play in the 4th quarter. Ernie Sims drops what would've been the game-sealing interception, making Cowboys fans miss Sean Lee all the more. The Falcons score a TD with 1:32 remaining, and a Garrett pass play on 3rd and 1 falls incomplete and gives the Falcons the ball back. Atlanta is able to drive the course of the field in less than 90 seconds and put their kicker in position for a game-winning 46 yard FG. Garrett ices the first kick, which drifts wide left. The second chance gets drilled through the uprights and the Cowboys lose another game they should've won. Garrett finally starts to feel the heat and Jerry Jones comes out during the following week with a strong criticism of his head coach.
Headline 3: Dallas Cowboys Beat the Falcons 27-17, but Lose Austin, Bryant in the Process
Scenario 3: The Cowboys have been bitten pretty hard by the injury bug, and this scenario continues the hard luck. Dallas is able to sustain long drives, but loses their top two receivers in the first half. Austin finally aggravates that ever-so-fragile hamstring and Bryant takes a blatant shot to the head while fighting for extra yards. The oft-injury prone receivers finally succumb and the Cowboys are left scanning the sidelines for anyone to line up on the outside.
Even without their top two threats, the Cowboys offense continues to meander easily down the field. Short passes to Witten continue to be the answer on 3rd down and Dallas converts 7 of 9 3rd down situations. Cole Beasley steps up in the slot and has a Wes Welker-like 11 catches for 121 yards and a touchdown. The Dallas defense is also able to shut down the edge receivers for Atlanta, and Claiborne records his 3rd-straight game with a turnover. Everyone appreciates the win, but people begin to question whether or not this team can continue to compete with all the talent on the injury list.
Headline 4 (Fan's Choice): Once Again the Cowboys Beat the Unbeatable, Drop the Falcons 38-17
This headline comes straight from one of our most active fans, John Carr. As I've noticed throughout the monitoring of the page, John is a die-hard believer in the Cowboys and will defend them incessantly against detractors. His views come through in this scenario, as the Cowboys come ready to play against the Dirty Birds. This headline also points to the fact that since 1991, the Cowboys have gone 3-0 against opponents with a record of 7-0 or better. Most recently, the Cowboys ended the New Orleans Saints undefeated dreams in 2009, but the Saints got the last laugh while hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in February.
As John predicts, the Cowboys beat them up pretty soundly. The running game gets on track early, and the time-share backfield is led by Tanner to over 170 yards on 37 carries. Tony Romo is able to throw the ball to players with only stars on their helmets, and the offense thrives. It's a vintage Romo stat-line, throwing only 21 times but competing 19 of them for 318 yards and 3 touchdowns. Jason Witten coasts past Michael Irvin's franchise-record for receptions in the 2nd quarter and finishes with 11 catches. The defense also steps up and pitches a first half shutout as the game is never really in doubt. Two 4th quarter TDs by the Falcons make the score a bit more respectable, but the Cowboys are the one's flying high after this butt-whooping.
What do you think of this week's headlines? Remember, watch the Facebook for next week's MMHP post and leave us a comment to be considered for the article. And, as always, go Cowboys!
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