Even though the national media never gave Dallas a chance to compete this 2021 season, the Dallas Cowboys finished the regular season with a 12-5 record, 6-0 in their division, NFC East champs and owners of the No. 3 seed in the upcoming playoffs. That’s a far cry from a team predicted to finish as low as fourth in their division to no better than third place.
In order for the Cowboys to get to 12 wins, they had to go out and prove it against perceived “better” teams along the way. From losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the season opener to finally beating a Bill Belichick New England Patriots team on the road, the Cowboys were slandered and doubted.
So they should used to the negativity that’s raining down on them in their postseason match-up against the San Francisco 49ers.
The Dallas Cowboys are on upset alert and that is a good thing because that’s when they’re at their best.
For a Dallas Cowboys team that leads the league in points scored (31.2) and seventh in points allowed (22.13), their underdog status comes off as massive disrespect. It’s as if the roles are reversed and the 49ers are the #3 seed with the top scoring, an offense with weapons galore, a top-10 quarterback, and a defense that led the NFL with 34 turnovers-including 26 interceptions. It’s like people think they are the ones that had 22 different players score a touchdown, and not the Cowboys.
All we hear from the media is how scared Dallas should be of the 49ers, how this is a bad matchup for them, how the Dallas defense can’t stop the run, and how the 49ers have won 6 out of their last eight games. The media and critics alike have said and done everything other than hand over the Lombardi trophy to the 49ers this week.
Keep in mind – they had to win their last game of the season just to make the playoffs this year.
To a certain extent, some of the points made by the media is true, but Dallas is not overlooking a legitimate 49ers team at all, like they suggest. This is familiar territory for the Dallas Cowboys. Doubting them is nothing new because they opened up the season on the road as underdogs against a Tom Brady-led Bucs team and against the Los Angeles Chargers and superb quarterback Justin Herbert. Dallas outperformed any and all expectations in those games and forced the NFL to take notice.
Going into Dallas’ next six games, each game came with a unique challenge and used as a measuring stick to gage Dallas as contenders or pretenders. Looking back, the media even hyped up the Philadelphia Eagles, Carolina Panthers and the New York Giants as teams Dallas needed to fear and were picked to possibly lose too. This is so comical.
At the time, the Panthers were undefeated at 3-0, the Giants had upset the New Orleans Saints on the road, and the Eagles were the defending NFC champions. Therefore, the media had something to use as click bait against America’s Team.
Dallas’ Week 2 win against the Chargers was the beginning of their six-game winning streak. This team answered the bell and proved all doubters wrong with an exclamation point with its overtime victory over the New England Patriots in Foxborough (they hadn’t beaten Pats since 1996).
During Dallas’ six-game winning streak, three things were obvious: Dak Prescott was a truly a top-10 franchise quarterback, Dallas’ offense was one of the best in the league, and Dallas’ defense was much improved and was forcing turnovers with Trevon Diggs leading the way.
But what stood out more than anything was how Dallas quieted the noise about any preconceived flaws heading into each game. Do you remember all of the question marks Dallas had to answer before facing each opponent to start the season?
- How the Bucs were supposed to blow them out in the season opener because of Dallas’ defense?
- How LA was going to make them one-dimentional?
- What about Dallas facing a mobile Jalen Hurts and first year coach Nick Sirianni?
- And then beating the Pats on the road sealed the deal until…
Yes, there is an Act II where Dallas went on a two-game losing streak, Dak was in a so called “slump”, the offense wasn’t blowing out opponents, and the media deemed Dallas as a pretender.
To make matters worse, Dallas was losing ground to the Washington Football Team-who had won four games in a row and were within earshot of taking the division lead with two upcoming games against Dallas.
“We want Dallas!” was proclaimed from across the Potomac and the Dallas Cowboys heard it loud and clear, my friends.
Dallas responded and went on semi-impressive winning streak (four games), the narrative was that Dallas beat inferior teams like the Saints, Giants, and WFT twice. I still don’t understand how Dallas didn’t receive credit for winning three of those games on the road and then absolutely destroying WFT 56-14 in a prime-time home game.
Of course, Dallas was doubted even more after losing to the Arizona Cardinals in a close home game, and then criticized even more for wait for it…. beating down a divisional foe because that team played with reserves.
Sidenote: Dallas is the first team in NFL history to have a 4,000-yard passer (Dak had 4,449), 1,000-yard rusher (Ezekiel Elliott, 1,002), 1,000 receiving yards (CeeDee Lamb with 1,102), 10-plus sacks), and a player with 10-plus interceptions (Trevon Diggs had 11).
As you can see, Dallas has had to face an uphill battle of naysayers and critics all season with each loss and with each win. Its either Dak is in a slump, head coach Mike McCarthy is not a good coach/lacks time management, offensive coordinator Kellen Moore is an overrated young teenager, and Dallas cannot beat good teams.
The last part I find laughable because Dallas beat two playoff-bound teams in Philly (twice) and the Patriots, and four of Dallas’ losses came against playoff-bound teams-Bucs, Las Vegas Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs, and Cardinals. Had the 49ers lost, then the Saints would make the third playoff-bound team Dallas had beaten. Take that Haters.
After facing so much criticism throughout the season for various reasons, the last thing Dallas will do is overlook a decent team like the 49ers-a team that’s two years removed from playing in a Super Bowl they should have won.
With a one and done playoff format, expect Dallas’ coaching staff to have this team laser focused on beating the 49ers and taking away their strengths.
But instead of the critics talking about how Dallas presents a problem for the 49ers, the 49ers are getting all of the praise like they’re the better team with superior talent and Super Bowl bound. And that’s fine because to paraphrase Dak in an interview after beating the Eagles, “line them up because we’re ready for a good run!”
The Dallas Cowboys have been on a good run all season long and the 49ers are another team they have to beat to get to the promised land! Dallas has proven the doubters wrong with 12 wins and a #3 seed. So maybe it is the 49ers who should be on upset alert! BOOM!