MINNEAPOLIS -- It did not help the Cowboys' cause when LT Flozell Adams left the game with a strained right calf in the second quarter.
However, it'd be a real stretch to say Adams' absence was one of the primary reasons the Cowboys were routed.
"He’s one of the best left tackles in the league and has been for a long time, but Doug Free had played," offensive coordinator Jason Garrett said. "He’s played for six or seven weeks when Marc [Colombo] was out. He stepped in, and you’ve just got to go forward. I think we’ve done a good job handling the different injuries that have come up, so you put the next guy in and go forward."
Free, like most tackles, had trouble with All-Pro DE Jared Allen. Free did not get dominated, though.
Allen had one sack, and that came on a play that was designed to have TE Jason Witten blocking him one-on-one. That's poor strategy, not a problem with the left tackle. The Cowboys paid with a turnover when Allen jarred the ball loose with a violent hit on Tony Romo's blind side.
But it was Ray Edwards, the other end, who really gave the Cowboys fits. He had three sacks, four tackles for losses, six hurries and a forced fumble. RT Colombo was overmatched.
Maybe if Adams didn't get injured, the Cowboys would have replaced Colombo with Free. Maybe the Cowboys would have continued running right at Allen with success.
But this wasn't a game that was decided by the play at one position.