By Kerry J. Byrne
Cold, Hard Football Facts doggie punching champion (@footballfacts)
The pigskin “pundits” occasionally get some things right, much like the eager little bushy-tailed grey squirrel that stumbles upon a big fat walnut in his fall feeding frenzy.
We witnessed one of those moments in the ESPN postgame report following Chicago’s 34-18 win in Dallas on Monday Night Football.
The performance of the Cowboys was low-lighted by Tony Romo’s five interceptions.
Mr. Missouri was ultimately benched in favor of former Bears quarterback Kyle Orton late in the game, offering a sort of delicious irony for Chicago and its embattled QB, Jay Cutler.
Hall of Fame quarterback turned analyst Steve Young stated afterward that Dallas was simply a dumb team.
Credit the man for finally pointing out what Cold, Hard Football Facts readers already knew.
In fact, we called Dallas America’s Dumbest Team BEFORE the game.
Note the graphic that we inserted into our “Epic Fail” column on Yahoo! Sports Sunday night.
The statistical foundation of the America’s Dumbest Team label is the fact that the Cowboys in recent years give up cheap points while generating plenty of yards but few points on offense. We track this lack of efficiency on both sides of the ball with our Bendability and Scoreability Indices.
The poor performances in those two measures of efficiency tell us that the Cowboys are very poor at situational football.
Conversely, teams like Houston, Arizona and Atlanta play smart situational football and rate highly in both indicators. It's no coincidence that those three teams are a combined 12-0.
Dallas's 34-18 loss to Chicago was a perfect example of its inefficiency: the Cowboys outgained the Bears 430 to 360 in total yards. But Dallas lost the turnover battle 5-1, lost the third-down battle 58 percent to 33 percent and handed Chicago two defensive scores (INT returns by Charles Tillman and Lance Briggs).
The Cowboys, in other words, proved once again they are America’s Dumbest Team – much like we said before the game and Young said after the game. Romo is obviously the whipping boy, as the quarterback so often is.
But Dallas's poor performances in our efficiency indicators show that it is a systemic issue in Dallas much deeper than just the quarterback.
We discussed the impact of this inefficiency in our “real and spectacular” Bears-Cowboys pick before the MNF game at CHFF Insider. Dallas was favored by 3.5 points at home.
Here’s what we wrote:
“This match-up actually bodes well for the visiting Bears. Dallas has plenty of big names, but right now is a shocking 31st in scoring offense.
"Tony Romo & Co. have produced just 47 points in three games. You don’t need us to tell you that Dallas’s offensive production is more disappointing than our average dalliance with the ladies ...
"The traditional inefficiency of the Cowboys is evident by its No. 31 ranking in Scoreability. Bottom line: a lot of yards from a talented offense, but few points.
“Or, as they say it in Texas: big hat, no cattle.”