IRVING, Texas -- Nothing, it seems, can slow down the Dallas Cowboys offense at the moment.
If teams want to load up to stop the run, Tony Romo has Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, Cole Beasley and Terrance Williams to pick and choose from. If teams want to sit back so Bryant does not kill them, the Cowboys counter with the NFL’s leading rusher DeMarco Murray.
It’s a formula that worked quite well for the Cowboys of the 1990s with Michael Irvin, Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith.
But the Cowboys’ numbers in December are just astronomical.
“The fast starts have been big in December for us,” passing game coordinator Scott Linehan said after the Cowboys’ 44-17 win against the Washington Redskins. “I think it’s been a big part of our ability to play well. It certainly doesn’t hurt our confidence level to be able to come out and score on the first four drives of the game or whatever it is. Is it going to happen every time? No, but I think our guys have believed in what we’re doing to come out and execute our game plan from the onset and then just keep playing til the final gun sounds.”
Actually, the Cowboys scored on their first five possessions against the Redskins. They scored on their first four possessions in the 42-7 win against the Indianapolis Colts and their first three against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Against the Chicago Bears they actually punted twice on their first two drives before scoring on seven straight possessions.
Excluding their kneel-down series against the Bears and Eagles, the Cowboys enter the playoffs having score on 26 of their last 44 possessions.
They scored 165 points in the month of December, the most in the NFL. The New York Giants were second with 123 points.
The Detroit Lions pose a threat that the Bears, Eagles, Colts and Redskins didn’t whether Ndamukong Suh plays or not. They allowed just 17.6 points per game on the season. They have the NFL’s best run defense and safety Glover Quin led the NFL with seven interceptions.
But last week the Green Bay Packers put up 377 yards, 24 first downs and converted on 8-of-13 third-down chances in a 30-20 win against the Lions. Eddie Lacy ran for 100 yards on 26 carries. An injured Aaron Rodgers completed 17 of 22 passes for 226 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He had a 139.6 passer rating.
The Packers were efficient but not as efficient as the Cowboys have been.
“As much as anything else we come to the line of scrimmage and have a balanced attack,” coach Jason Garrett said. “You run the football, control the football, control with different guys and you just execute and do your job over and over again, knowing good things are going to happen. We have playmakers on our team. If guys go out there and do their job, plays are going to be made. We believe we have that and it starts with having a physical offense – physical up front, physical on the edge physical runners and physical receivers. That is the most important thing and we emphasize that maybe more than anything else – come off the ball and control the line of scrimmage and be a physical team and everything will follow from that.”