Cowboys, 3 – Raiders, 0
I confess to having watched every second of the trainwreck last night that was Cowboys vs. Raiders. The ugliest NFL team in the ugliest NFL town playing in the ugliest NFL stadium in front of the ugliest NFL fans against the team with one of the ugliest post-season track records over the past decade and a half can produce but one thing: ugly, ugly football.
What a mess.
Of course, I have been a connoisseur of the NFL long enough to understand that anybody who reads anything into—or takes anything away from—an NFL preseason game is delusional. It makes absolutely no difference how a team performs in week one of the preseason. It is in no way a predictor or precursor of things to come.
And thank God for that, if you are a Cowboys or Raiders fan.
Against the NFL's worst defense from a year ago, the Cowboys' number one unit managed 22 yards in 11 plays.
Most of those yards came on the one play that might give a fan some hope: a Tony Romo back-shoulder pass to Dez Bryant. In fact, that play went for 24 yards, which puts the 22 yards gained into perspective. Most of the time, Team Romo was going the wrong direction.
Bryant, however, looked like a beastly man schooling a middle schooler, the way he turned the poor cornerback inside out on that play.
On defense, the Cowboys' best play was anytime the Raiders threw the ball to Jacoby Ford. It isn't that the defense was able to cover Ford. They weren't. But the poor guy couldn't catch a cold if he was barefoot in Moscow in the dead of winter.
How's the "D" in Big D?
Rob Ryan's defense picked up where they left off a year ago, which is throwing everything but the kitchen sink at a quarterback and hardly ever getting to him. Honestly, when have you seen a defense with as many blitz packages as Ryan's fail to get pressure on the quarterback? He continually leaves cornerbacks on islands they cannot defend while throwing his forces against offensive lines more than capable of thwarting their advances.
Rob Ryan may be the most overrated member of the most overrated (and irritatingly arrogant) family in football.
Nevertheless, Barry Church appears to be a marked improvement at the strong safety position. Brandon Carr is an upgrade at cornerback. And Sensabaugh, who had an interception, may be set to perform at a higher level with the improved play around him.
In the battle for third receiver, the 6'4" Andre Holmes seemed to take an early lead on his fellow competitors. Holmes snagged three passes for 40 yards. He showed good hands, catching the ball away from his body. He caught the ball in traffic and he held on when hit.
It's official: replacement officials must be replaced!
On the bright side, neither the Raiders nor the Cowboys were the worst team on the field last night. That dubious honor belongs to the scabs in stripes. At one point, Tony Romo had to instruct the them where to place the ball.
The best thing about week one in the 2012 NFL preseason is that it is over and we are one week closer to actual football.
You may be ready for some football, but your team isn't. Hopefully by September 5, they will be.