Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys come to Charlotte to take on the Carolina Panthers. Both teams have their issues.
Tony Romo has thrown only 3 TDs vs. 7 INTs in his last 3 games, losing their last two including the Bears’ game where he had five picks. The win was against a young Tampa Bay team. The other loss was at Baltimore, a team struggling on defense now and having lost ILB Ray Lewis and CB Ladarius Webb during the course of that game.
Meanwhile, the Panthers lost their last 3, including the infamous Cam Newton fumble and defensive breakdowns afterward in Atlanta. He’s only had 2 TD passes in that span with 3 INTs, but none in the last two games.
Romo definitely has to have confidence issues whether they’re in his own play or not. WR Dez Bryant has dropped six – count ‘em six – passes in the last 2 games. Three in each, even with a bye week in between. His last drop was on a two point conversion attempt where he was open in the end zone and the ball glanced off the front of his shoulder pads. He just “missed it.”
Newton for his part threw several passes right into the ground, including a crucial 4th-down pass into the end zone that barely cleared the goal line before hitting the turf.
Clearly, Bryant’s focus isn’t there and his confidence can’t be too high either, despite the image he tries to project. He hasn’t learned to catch with his hands all the time as he tried to trap it and body-catch it with his forearms but mistimed it. Had he caught it, the Cowboys would have tied the game and had the momentum when overtime began. As it wound up, the ‘Boys lost 31-29.
Panthers’ WR Steve Smith has had his own issues with dropped passes. He dropped more than he caught last week and has yet to find the endzone in 2012.
The Cowboys have won 8 straight against the Panthers. While this would seem to help the confidence of the Cowboys’ players and coaching staff, I don’t think they can bank on it given their recent play. The streak is a matter of pride now and gives the Panthers’ coaches an extra weapon to use and the players a little more resentment. That sort of thing CAN translate into a fast start to the game…and give the Panthers some life, and possibly a “Here we go again” feeling for the Cowboys.
If that does happen, I like the Panthers’ chances.