Kicker David Buehler will wear the goat horns, but the Cowboys Christmas day heart-breaker was another concerted (team) effort in losing.
All-pro linebacker DeMarcus Ware summed it up pretty succinctly, saying, "We started at the beginnig of the game messing up all the way to the end, that's what you'll get, you'll lose."
The Cowboys have shown resilience under interim head coach Jason Garrett, but there's a reason they've had to be that way. And against the Cardinals, the mistake riddled, at times seemingly brain-dead performance was a regression to the sort of performance that got Wade Phillips fired. How much it impacts Garrett's ability to have the interim removed from his title is up to Jerry "mad as hell" Jones.
In the meantime, veterans like Ware and tight end Jason Witten, who've both played well down the stretch, are forced to suffer though it, "End it like that, its just surreal," said Witten, "seems like its happened a lot throughout most of the veterans careers around here; dissapointing because that's what you want to avoid."
But the Cowboys can't avoid the meaningful miscues - ones that are physical, mental, and discipline-oriented. Name a mistake and the Cowboys can make it with the best of 'em. Just ask Marion Barber III (although I doubt you'll get a response, he doesn't do media much). Coming off his best run of the season, one that brought the Cowboys right back in the game, Barber committs the sort of excessive celebration penalty that lost this team a game earlier in the season. Jason Garrett said he was dissapointed. Unfortunately, not one member of the Cowboy nation should have been surprised. Its what this team is - mistake-prone and lacking good judgement. In the great state of Texas, the more direct term is just plain "dumb."
With the game on the line, kick David Buehler misses and extra point, and you just knew a field goal was coming, didn't you?
The defense nearly got the job done, but on fourth and 15, the one guy you had to cover, HAD TO COVER, was open for a first down that allowed Arizona to pull off a Houdini heart-breaker.
"When you got 'em on the hook you got to finish 'em," said Witten, "and that's as a team probably the toughest thing to swallow."
For Witten and Ware both, 2010 simply can't end soon enough.
"We just made a lot of mistakes at the beginning and didn't concentrate like we should. We can't give up big plays on defense," said Ware. "We can't give up interceptions...its just the big plays in general on both sides of the ball."
Witten agrees, "that's this league that's what it comes down to is a few plays and the dissapointing thing is continuously we're not making those plays."