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Eagles beat Cowboys but Vick is still taking too many hits

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 12: Quarterback Michael Vick  of the Philadelphia Eagles runs for a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on December 12, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Here are a six-pack of observations on the Eagles’ slim 30-27 victory over the Cowboys on Sunday night.

1. Michael Vick is still taking too many shots.
I don’t know who asked the question, but Cris Collinsworth relayed a comment by Vick that was interesting. Vick said that if he was defending himself, he would do what the Texans and Cowboys did the past two weeks: keep hitting him. Even he knows the best way to stop him is for the defense to deliver as many clean shots whether he’s in or out of the pocket. While he went on to complete 16 of his 26 pass attempts for 270 yards and two touchdowns, he threw two interceptions (one wasn’t his fault as the catchable pass went off his receiver’s hands and into the arms of a defender) and 151 of those 270 yards came on two plays (a 60-yard reception to DeSean Jackson on the first play of the game and a 91-yard touchdown to Jackson at the start of the fourth quarter). On a whole, Vick wasn’t spectacular and you have to wonder if the pounding he’s been taking is starting to add up. His sizzling numbers in the middle of the season were bound to drop, but he’s looking mortal with each passing week. Andy Reid did a better job of getting LeSean McCoy more involved on Sunday night. But he and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg still have work to do when it comes to figuring out a way to protect Vick.

2. Jackson is electric but he needs to mature.
DeSean Jackson once again showed how incredible a player he is by racking up 210 yards and one touchdown on just four catches. As previously mentioned, two of his catches went for 151 yards and the play he made in the fourth quarter on his 91-yard touchdown reception was thrilling. But once again, he flashed his immaturity. On the 91-yard touchdown, he stopped inches short of the goal line, put his back to the end zone and as defenders were closing in, he laid back with his arms outstretched and fell backwards into the end zone. Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth debated whether or not he should have been flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct (he was), but it really doesn’t matter. The gesture was unnecessary and while I know the kid is just having fun, what’s the harm in racing into the end zone, flipping the ball to the ref and celebrating with your teammates sans the penalty? This is the third time since high school where he’s played around at the goal line and with the playoffs coming up, it would be nice to see DeSean kick this nasty habit. He’s such a good player; I would hate to see his antics at the goal line take away from his talent.

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If/when he’s healthy, should the Cowboys play Tony Romo?

Dallas Cowboys' quarterback Tony Romo (R) is seen next to backup quarterback Jon Kitna (3) during warm-ups prior to the Cowboys' game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Arlington, Texas October 31, 2010. Romo broke his collar bone last week against the New York Giants and is not expected to return for 8 weeks. UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom

Even if the Cowboys were somehow able to get back into the NFC playoff picture, it appears as though Tony Romo wouldn’t be able help them until Week 16. And even that seems a little optimistic.

According to a report by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Cowboys aren’t expecting Romo to recover from his fractured collarbone until Week 16 at the earliest. He was able to throw Sunday for the first time since the injury, but an X-ray showed that the bone was still broken.

Let’s play the “What If?” game for a second. If Romo were healthy by Week 16 and the ‘Boys needed two wins to have a chance to make the playoffs, should they play him? Or should they stick with Jon Kitna?

Granted, the answer to that question seems obvious: There’s no way in Hades that the Cowboys are making the playoffs. The second obvious answer would be, “Absolutely you do – you have to play Romo.”

But riddle me this, Batman: If the Cowboys were on the verge of making the postseason at the end of the year, a lot of that would have had to do with Kitna, no? There’s a stark difference between Romo and Kitna, but at that point I would think the Cowboys would have to ride the hot hand. Why insert Romo back into the starting lineup if he hadn’t played in two months?

Again, this scenario is far-fetched and probably not even worth discussing. For the Cowboys to climb back into the playoff race, they’d also have to have a couple of teams (Falcons, Packers, Eagles, Giants, Bears, Bucs, etc.) collapse down the stretch. But it’s an interesting situation nonetheless.

Cowboys smoke Giants in Jason Garrett’s debut

Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett walks the sidelines during the first quarter of their NFL football game against the New York Giants in East Rutherford, New Jersey, November 14, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Segar  (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Jerry Jones would have fired Wade Phillips a month ago if he knew the Cowboys would have played as well all season under Jason Garrett as they did in New York on Sunday.

The Cowboys routed the Giants 33-20 in Garrett’s debut. Even though Dallas’ win was only by a 13-point margin, I use the term “routed” because many believed that this New York team was the best in the NFC coming into this game. (Not to mention the Cowboys have looked like an utter train wreck for most of the season.)

There really was no secret to how the Cowboys dismantled the Giants: they stayed balanced offensively, they won the turnover battle and they produced some big plays. The Giants turned the ball over three times, including once at the goal line as Bryan McCann picked off Eli Manning and returned the gift 101 yards for a touchdown. It was the longest interception return for a score in franchise history for the Cowboys.

Jon Kitna, who clearly located a genie sometime this week and cashed in one of his three wishes, threw for 327 yards and three touchdowns. Rookie Dez Bryant caught three passes for 104 yards and a score, while Felix Jones (who saw a lot of playing time after Marion Barber was benched) caught three passes for 85 yards and one touchdown.

Outside of Mario Manningham (10 receptions, 91 yards, 1 TD), it was a day the Giants would like to forget. Dallas punched them in the mouth from the opening bell and New York had no response. They tried to make it close at the end, but a Hakeen Nicks touchdown was wiped off the board because of a holding penalty and then Manning turned the ball over twice on the Giants’ next two possessions to ice the game for the Cowboys. (Although a botched snap was part of the blame for one of Manning’s turnovers.)

It’s not completely shocking that a divisional rival was able to walk into the New Meadowlands (a dark New Meadowlands at that, as the stadium suffered a couple of power outages during the game) and beat the Giants. What’s shocking is that the divisional rival was a Dallas team that had just fired its head coach earlier in the week and had played like crap in its previous three games. If I’m Tom Coughlin, I don’t even watch the reply from this loss. Just pitch the tape in the trash and look ahead to next week.

Cowboys reach a new low in blowout loss to Jaguars

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 31: Quarterback Jon Kitna  of the Dallas Cowboys looks to throw a pass against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Cowboys Stadium on October 31, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Down 14-3 with less than 20 seconds on the clock before halftime on Sunday, the Cowboys moved the ball to the Jaguars’ 1-yard line and faced a third-and-goal.

Punch the ball in and at 14-10, it’s a whole new game. Fail to convert and the misery that is the 2010 Cowboys’ season continues.

Naturally, the Cowboys settled for the latter.

On 3rd-and-1, Jon Kitna (who is only starting now because the Dallas’ O-line failed to pick up a blitzing Michael Boley last Monday night, which lead to Tony Romo being sidelined for the next 6-8 weeks) spun around and handed the ball off to Marion Barber, who was stuffed at the goal line. On 4th-and-1, Kitna ran into Barber at the exchange and once again, Barber was stuffed at the half-inch line.

Turnover on downs: Jacksonville football.

The two plays didn’t cost Dallas the game (a 35-17 Jaguar beatdown), but they personified what the 2010 season has become for the Cowboys. It’s not only that they fail to execute – they fail to execute because they mentally (and physically, apparently) get in their own way. They can’t block, they can’t tackle, they can’t run simple dive plays like the two Barber failed to score on. They’re just bad. They’re a bad football team.

Just because your starting quarterback is out, doesn’t mean you mail it in. Just because your starting quarterback is out, doesn’t mean you allow David Garrard to throw four touchdown passes and allow your opponent to treat your home field like it’s their own personal Mardi Gras celebration. It’s embarrassing. What the Cowboys did on Sunday was embarrassing.

But should anyone be surprised? This is what the season has come to for Dallas. Poor execution, dumb mistakes and ugly losses. But at this point, it is what it is. Wade Phillips isn’t going anywhere at the moment and Jerry Jones will just have to ride out the rest of the season before he can make wholesale changes.

Too bad he has to watch this monstrosity for another nine weeks.

Captain Morgan NFL Halloween Weekend Preview

Make your Holiday legendary with Captain and Cola. Join the party on Facebook!

Captain Morgan and The Scores Report have teamed up to preview this Sunday’s games in the NFL and in the spirit of Halloween, here are a couple frightening matchups that players/teams face this weekend.

1. Steelers @ Saints: Drew Brees vs. Pittsburgh’s Defense
You can bet that the fans in New Orleans will be dressed up for this one, although they’re always dressed up so what’s the difference? If Brees thought the Browns abused him last week, he’s in for a real treat (trick or treat? Ah, hahahahahaha…Halloween) this Sunday night with Pittsburgh coming to town. The Steelers are second in the NFL in yards allowed and first in both run defense and points allowed. Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush look like they’re bowing out of this matchup and who could blame them? If Brees can’t move the ball through the air, he’s in for a long night.

2. Packers @ Jets: Aaron Rodgers vs. Rex Ryan’s Front Seven
Aaron Rodgers can’t be feeling too good about things these days. His offensive line is once again banged up, he doesn’t have much of a running game at his disposal, his second best receiver (Donald Driver) is also injured and he’s facing a well-rested Rex Ryan defense coming off its bye week. Oh yeah – and Darrelle Revis (hamstring) is completely healthy now, too. There’s no doubt Ryan will throw the kitchen sink at Rodgers in terms of looks and expect the Jets to send extra defenders early and often. It’s going to be a real freight fest in East Rutherford this weekend! Hahahaha – weeeeeeeeeeee!

3. Vikings @ Patriots: Favre, Vikings vs. the prospects of another loss
Brett Favre’s consecutive starts streak isn’t the only thing on the line this Sunday when the Vikings travel to Foxboro. At 2-4, Minnesota is already two games back in the win column in the NFC North and another loss will sink its postseason hopes even more. If Favre can’t go, Tarvaris Jackson will start and that means Adrian Peterson will have to shoulder the workload. Of course, even if Favre starts, Brad Childress may want to keep the ball in AP’s hands anyway. Given how well the Patriots have played at home under Bill Belichick, this isn’t the matchup the Vikings needed to get back on track. They should be spooked (spooked! Hahahahaha…Halloween) out of their minds right now.

4. Broncos vs. 49ers: London vs. the worst matchup in NFL history
Okay, I’m exaggerating – this isn’t the worst matchup in NFL history. The worst matchup in NFL history would probably be the ’08 Lions vs. the ’09 Rams. Now that’s scary (scary! Halloooooweeeeeennnn theme!). That said, the folks out in London can’t be too thrilled with this one. The 49ers and Broncos have combined for three wins this year and 11 losses and while San Fran couldn’t beat a previous winless Panthers team last Sunday, Denver is coming off a loss in which they gave up 59 points to the Raiders…at home, no less. With apologies to Frank Gore, Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree, talk about a starless game for the London crowd.

5. Jaguars @ Cowboys: David Garrard vs. Jon Kitna
Look, there’s nothing funny about this matchup. It seriously is frightening and the thought of anyone paying money to see this horror show is terrifying. Happy Halloween, Dallas!

CAPTAIN MORGAN Original Spiced Rum. Puerto Rican Rum With Spices And Other Natural Flavors. 35% Alc/Vol. ©2010 Captain Morgan Rum Co., Norwalk, CT. Drink Responsibly – Captain’s Orders!®

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