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Kevin is the Editor of Over Served News, but don't hold that against him! He's also a self-proclaimed "MLB Guru", although we'll let you be the judge of that. Don't agree with Kevin? Feel free to leave a comment!

GAME RECAP: Cowboys 29, Eagles 23

Moment Not “TOO TALL” For Witten, Cowboys

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On a night where Jason Witten breaking Ed “Too Tall” Jones’ record for Consecutive starts by a Cowboy looked to be the only good thing to happen, it was none other than Witten himself to secure the game winning catch in OT. The future Hall of Famer had been held to just 1 catch for 11 yards when Dak scrambled and found him WIDE open in the end zone. Throughout the game, Jason Garrett continued to have out of body experiences, diverting from his usual vanilla play calling with trick plays and 4th down conversions in OT. Punter Chris Jones flashed his speed on a fake punt running 30 yards and picking up the first down before stepping out of bounds. Cole Beasley showed off his arm by over throwing Terrence Williams on a screen- WR pass. With all the drama and endless headlines, Dak Prescott was yet again the main story. Prescott finished with 287 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, completing 19 of 39 passes. Through 2 and a half quarters, Dak looked to be opening the door for Tony Romo’s return. The return of Dez Bryant might have had something to do with it as he targeted Bryant 14 times while only completing 4 and leaving Cole Beasley completely out of the equation. Dak repeatedly forced the ball into bad situations instead of taking what the defense was giving him.

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Facing a 10 point deficit in the second half, the game plan went out the window and Dak became the player we have become accustomed to. He spread the ball well, got Cole Beasley involved and Zeke started finding holes. In overtime, Dak completed all 5 of his passes and marched the team 75 yards down the field to win the game on a Romo-esque type scramble to Romo’s best friend. This was the game that Dak finally looked like a rookie, but under the lights in prime time, against a division rival for sole possession of first place in the division and first place in the NFC (at least till tonight when the Vikings play the Bears), he was able to turn it on and get it done. The entire team is rallying behind the rookie passer unlike anything we’ve seen, and it is getting harder to argue that this is still Romo’s team. This, a night that was Dak’s worst, might be the night that solidifies his spot as leader of this offense.

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Defensively, the game ball goes to Sean Lee. Lee was, yet again, everywhere the entire night finishing with 11 tackles, 2 of which were for a loss. The play of the game came with 7 minutes left in the 4th quarter.  Wentz passed short right to Darren Sproles only to have Lee immediately bury him for a 6 yard loss. This took the Eagles out of field goal range and forced a punt, keeping it a 7 point game. The following drive was 90 yards ending in the game tying touchdown to Dez Bryant. The defense stepped up and made plays when it counted even after losing Morris Claiborne (groin) and Barry Church (fractured arm). The Eagles final 4 drives resulted in a lost fumble and 3 punts. The Cowboys bend but don’t break D came through again and to date have not given up more than 23 points in a game and is 4th in the league in points allowed (18.6/game). This no name group of ‘orphans’ is playing as a single unit and having fun doing it.

Keys to the Game Scorecard:

Find a way to get in the backfield: 3 sacks, 11 tackles for a loss and 1 fumble recovery by Tyrone Crawford.

Run: The Eagles stacked the box and begged Dak to beat them. As a result, Zeke only rushed for 96 yards and Dak played poorly under pressure for the majority of the game only completing 48.7% of his passes.

Get Dez started early: This was definitely the focus of the Cowboys game plan and to a fault. Dak was obviously forcing the ball to Dez instead of reading the defense and getting the ball to the open man. Dez did finish with 4 catches on 14 targets for 113 yards and a TD.

Prediction:

Cowboys: 24

Eagles: 10

Result:

Cowboys: 29

Eagles: 23

BREAKING NEWS: It’s always been Romo’s team

AMERICA’S TEAM AGAIN

This has been a very exciting year for Cowboy Nation. The Cowboys are 5-1 on the season, the offense is humming along like a well-oiled machine, and surprisingly, the make-shift defense hasn’t been too shabby either. “America’s Team” appears to be well on their way to actually earning the nickname after decades of habitual disappointment.

But what has been the root of their success? Well, unless you’re oblivious to all social media, it’s pretty clear that the bulk of the fan base gives credit to Dak Prescott for the Cowboys’ miraculous resurrection – which is not unwarranted. Dak has emerged as the clear future of the Dallas Cowboys, touting a passer rating of 103.9 with 1,486 yards and 7 touchdowns. What’s more impressive is that he takes care of the football, with only 1 interception (albeit 4 fumbles) through 6 games. He’s clearly a guy with a knack for managing football games and piling up the W’s, which is why football pundits and arm-chair quarterbacks across the nation are screaming at the top of their lungs: “Do NOT sideline the Dak-Attack for old-man-Romo!”

Aug 19, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) on the field during the third quarter against the Miami Dolphins at AT&T Stadium. Dallas won 41-14. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

FOOTBALL PUNDIT-MANIA

It didn’t take long for a majority of the football “experts” to abandon Tony at the train station and load up on the Dak-Express. Troy Aikman, Steven A. Smith, Phil Simms, Skip Bayless and even Brett Favre are all in favor of Romo donning a headset for the remainder of the year (just to name a few examples). But the sports-media giants are not the only publications chiming in on the debate… With the controversy garnishing nationwide attention, even publications like The Wall Street Journal have tried to capitalize on the hysteria by throwing their opinion into the mix.

WARNING: At this point in the article, I need to ask everyone to take a minute to relax and search for that happy, zen-like place in your mind. Why do we need to relax, you ask? Great question – thanks for asking! It’s because I’m about to step away from the Dak-mania crowd and go full Romo-sexual, which apparently is a very unpopular thing to do. According to recent polls, 78.35% of you have either 1) Renamed your dog (or son) after Dak Prescott, 2) Stopped listening to Carrie Underwood because she once dated Romo, or 3) Re-purposed your Romo jersey as floor mop – But please folks, try to remain calm. We’ve got some important facts to discuss…

Well guess what? The majority of the pundits are simply dead-wrong. Yes, that’s right – I’m talking like forecast from The Weather Channel kind-of-wrong. I mean, Skip Bayless once claimed Tim Tebow was going to take the Jets to a Super Bowl! Are you kidding me?

The problem is most sports commentators, much like stock market analysts, don’t really aim to be “right”. They only try to make the safest bet and avoid being “wrong”. For example, in early 2007, Blackberry, Ltd. was plowing through the competition in the telecommunications industry. The success of the Blackberry cell phone had led the company stock price from $2.00 in 2002 to $230 in 2007. Market analysts at the time declared the company was unstoppable and encouraged investors to continue “riding the wave”. Well, I don’t know about you, but I haven’t seen a Blackberry in quite some time. Of course, Apple, Inc. released the iPhone in 2007 and quickly brushed Blackberry aside as they gained the bulk share of the cell phone industry. The analysts had been short-sighted and encouraged investors into what appeared to be the safe-bet due to the recent success of the stock. Hopefully you see where I am going with this. To be clear, I’m not saying that Dak is about to fall off into oblivion as Blackberry did – We’ve certainly found the future face of the franchise with Dak. I’m just pointing out that pundits and analysts are notoriously sheepish, and that the ability of the competition should be considered whether you’re making investment decisions or deciding which quarterback to start.

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you’ve got some real juevos, shares of Blackberry, Ltd. can currently be swiped up at the low, low price of around $7.00 a share…

NO R.E.S.P.E.C.T

Few people realize or give any credit to Tony’s actual accomplishments. In our “what have you done for me lately” society, fans and critics alike seem to dismiss his top-tier ability because he hasn’t been able to lead the Cowboys to new championships. But the stats can’t be ignored or pushed aside. When it comes to passer rating, Tony Romo comes in at 3rd on the list (All-Time). Yup, that’s 3rd in the entire history of the NFL, not just among active QB’s. Just to list a few names who fall below Tony: Peyton Manning, Kurt Warner, Joe Montana, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Brett Favre, Ben Rothlisberger, etc, etc…

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I can already hear the Romo-Haters now: “Oh wow [sarcasm], he’s 3rd all-time in passer rating, but Romo can’t seem to close out games, that’s why he’s a loser!” Well, the haters are incorrect once again because our boy Tony happens to hold the 2nd highest 4th Quarter Passer Rating OF ALL TIME. Again, that’s an all-time stat (see above list for QB’s who fall below him).

To be honest, Romo has significant standing in practically every major category of the all-time stats, but he never gets credit for his entire body of work – only the memorable losses seem to come to the minds of the pundits when they form their opinions.

2014 RING A BELL?

Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray (29) carries the ball against the Chicago Bears in the third quarter at Soldier Field in Chicago, Thursday, December 4, 2014. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News)

Probably one of the most over-looked reasons for starting Romo when he is fully healthy is due to the success the Cowboys had in 2014. With DeMarco Murray in 2014, the Cowboys were able to bruise their way into leading the league in time of possession (54.69%), which kept the mediocre defense off the field as much as possible. In 2016, the Cowboys have looked very similar with Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield, coming in at 2nd in the league in TOP (55%). This not only limits the vulnerability of our defense, but it significantly opens up the down-field passing game for the quarterback. Dak Prescott has been the biggest benefactor of this, and I firmly believe it’s one of the main reasons that he’s had success this year.

But Tony Romo has more capability to push the ball down-field in the passing game than Dak Prescott does. If there has been any “flaw” in Dak’s performances this year, it’s that he has preferred to check down to the third and fourth pass options and hasn’t really challenged the defensive backs that he’s faced. Dak may have gotten away with this during the first 6 games, but we’ve played some very mediocre teams with a 17-24 combined record – he won’t get away with that kind of strategy down the stretch or in the playoffs. With Romo at QB, he’d be able to stretch the defense down field which would create gaping holes more frequently for the run game. He did it in 2014 for DeMarco and he’ll do it again for Zeke, if afforded the opportunity.

PLAYOFFS! PLAYOFFS?

Admittedly, Romo’s early playoff resume doesn’t exactly impress. As a matter of fact, one of the most common arguments I hear from Romo-haters is that “Tony is a choke-artist in the playoffs.” The “choke-artist” label for Romo first surfaced after he botched the snap on a game-winning field goal during the 2006 playoffs against the Seahawks. I can understand why this debacle would be permanently ingrained into the minds of the fan-base, and the Cowboys’ successive playoff appearances in ’07 and ’09 did little to restore his image either, but he certainly can’t shoulder all of the blame. The 2014 playoffs, however, are a much different story.

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Every time I hear someone accuse Romo for the Cowboys’ quick exit from the 2014 playoffs, I have to question their knowledge of the game. After leading the ‘Boys to yet another 4th quarter comeback win against the Lions in the NFC Wildcard game, Romo was brilliant again against the Packers. He may have only thrown 19 passes, but he connected on 15 of them for 191 yards, 2 touchdowns and a Passer Rating of 143.6 (which is the 25th best PR in playoff history).  Many will remember the game as the “Dez Bryant Catch/No-Catch” game, but the truth is, if DeMarco Murray had never fumbled in the 3rd quarter (leading to a Packers’ FG), or if the Dan Bailey field goal at the end of the 2nd quarter wasn’t blocked, the “Dez Bryant Catch/No-Catch” would have never even happened. Instead of going for it on that 4th and 2, the Cowboys would have just kicked a field goal for the win.

I understand that toying with the starting quarterback of a 5-1 (potentially 6-1) team is a scary proposition for any NFL fan base, but with how the league is shaping up this year, the Cowboys have a very real opportunity to make a deep run in the playoffs and contend for their sixth Super Bowl ring. Dak has been outstanding, and he’s certainly solidified his role as the future of the franchise, but let’s not lose sight of the forest through the trees. This IS and ALWAYS HAS BEEN Tony Romo’s team.

Dallas Cowboys' Tony Romo celebrates a touchdown runby DeMarco Murray during the second half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints, Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

RANGERS: ALDS Game 1 Recap

In our preview of the Game 1 matchup, we highlighted Hamels’ weak finish to the 2016 regular season and his lack of command that plagued his last several starts. It’s safe to say that he wasn’t able to correct the issue prior to his start Thursday afternoon, and the Rangers were pummeled in a 10-1 rout.

It was a tough game to watch, as Hamels struggled hitting his targets repeatedly. He walked 3 in only 3.1 innings of work, allowing 6 hits and 7 runs, a combination that equates to a 16.20 ERA. Things could have faired a little better for Hamels if Adrian Beltre could’ve snagged a third inning rocket by Josh Donaldson that glanced off the tip of his glove, or if Ian Desmond could’ve caught up to the deep fly ball by Tulowitzki that dropped in with the bases loaded. But regardless if they had, Hamels simply wasn’t himself on Thursday afternoon and hasn’t looked like himself for over a month. Jeff Banister may ultimately regret not starting Yu Darvish in game 1 so he would have the possibility of starting Game 5 (if even necessary). Maybe Hamels will have a shot at redeeming himself if the series extends to 5 games, albeit on a very short leash if he does.

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On the other side of the plate, things weren’t any better. Also in our game 1 preview, we discussed how the Blue Jays’ Marco Estrada was a momentum pitcher, and how he could get hot or cold depending on how the Rangers swung the bats early on. As it turns out, our scouting was accurate. The Rangers couldn’t get anything going, and finished with only 4 hits. Estrada fed off that momentum and had a shutout going into the 9th inning before Andrus tripled to Center Field and ultimately scored. Estrada looked very impressive, finishing with a 1.08 ERA and only 4 hits allowed.

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The Rangers will look to redeem themselves when Yu Darvish takes the mound at 12:00pm on Friday. Darvish will be ready for the spotlight – Hopefully the bats will be ready too, or this could be a very forgettable series for Ranger fans.

BREAKING: Jose Bautista slams several Rangers and guarantees ALDS win

Ha! You think he’s dumb enough to say something after this?

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GO RANGERS!

 

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ALDS GAME 1 RECAP


MORE FROM SPORTS OVER SERVED NEWS:

Is it time to trade Romo?

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The One Thing That Will Make America’s Team Great Again

For more information on Sports Over Served, email us at info@sportsoverserved.com and check out the SOS Podcast here.

ALDS Game 1 Preview: Blue Jays @ Rangers

Well folks, that’s it… The 2016 MLB regular season is officially in the books, and for the second straight year the Texas Rangers will face off against the Toronto Blue Jays in the American League Division Series (ALDS). For those of you that somehow aren’t aware of the hostile, often violent relationship between the two clubs, you have a lot of catching up to do.

The Blue Jays advanced by defeating the Baltimore Orioles in the AL Wildcard game on Tuesday night, and if the rowdy crowd in attendance at the Rogers Centre was any indication of the type of theatrics to expect in the ALDS – get your popcorn ready. But before you bust out the Orville Redenbacher, let’s examine the pitching matchups and the keys to a Rangers’ victory in Game 1.

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BLUE JAYS @ RANGERS

Thursday, 10/6, 3:38 PM – Globe Life Park, Arlington, TX – Television: TBS

STARTING PITCHERS

TEX: LH COLE HAMELS (15-5, 3.32 ERA)

hamelsCole Hamels gets the nod for the Rangers on Thursday afternoon, facing off against the Jays for the first time in 2016. Hamels has been shaky over his last 6 appearances, going 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA – Not exactly the kind of momentum you’d like your ace to have heading into the post-season. However, Hamels touts a .267 opponent batting average when facing the Blue Jays current lineup and was strong against the Jays last year in the ALDS, with a 2.70 ERA. In the 2015 ALDS, Hamels led the Rangers to a game 1 victory, allowing only 2 earned runs. He would’ve also won game 5, but a string of errors by Elvis Andrus botched the game for the Rangers and ended the 2015 campaign.

TOR: RH MARCO ESTRADA (9-9, 3.48 ERA)

estradaFor the Jays, the right-handed Marco Estrada will take the mound. Estrada had two no-decisions against the Rangers back in May, allowing 5 earned runs over 12 total innings pitched, but the Jays did pull out the win in each of his appearances. Similar to Hamels, Estrada didn’t exactly close out the 2016 regular season strong, going 1-3 with a 3.98 ERA over his last 6 appearences. However, in the 2015 ALDS, Estrada did pitch well against the Rangers, winning Game 3 by allowing only 1 earned run and 5 hits over 6.1 innings of work.

RANGERS KEYS TO SUCCESS

  1. Hamels must overcome the control issues that have plagued his last few starts. The Blue Jays led the American League in Walks Taken with 3.92 per game, so they are disciplined enough to make Hamels work if they see him struggle with location early on. The Jays’ lineup doesn’t have a history of piling up the base-hits versus Hamels. If he can hit the corners and avoid allowing free base runners, the Rangers should be able to keep the Jays’ in check offensively.

  2. The bats need to get going early and often. Estrada is a momentum pitcher and will get hot or cold, depending on how the Rangers get going. Estrada did very well against the Rangers back in May, but the Rangers’ lineup looks significantly different today with several new bats thrown into the mix. If the new bats (Beltran, Lucroy, Gomez) can help spark the offense early and rattle Estrada, the Jays may be forced to look to a flawed bullpen with a 4.60 ERA over the last month of baseball.

  3. The Rangers need to focus on the ultimate goal, and not get caught up with in-game dramatics . With the media hype surrounding this ALDS matchup, game one will surely bring heightened emotions for both teams. There may be some bat flips or other old-world-baseball faux pas, but Odor has already granted vindication for the entire organization with one right hook that Jose Bautista will certainly never forget. The Rangers need to focus on the game, or even doing some bat flips themselves… Let the fans focus on the drama.

    And on that note, I’ll leave you with this gem… GO RANGERS!

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World Series or Bust?

The non-waiver trade deadline has now passed, and for the second consecutive year the Rangers are turning heads and commanding the attention of teams across the league. They were busy wheeling and dealing down to the last few minutes of the deadline, ultimately landing two of the most coveted trade targets available. But with every acquisition there are costs. Let’s examine the impact of the moves made by the Rangers. Read More

Top 15 DFW Sports Moments (gifs)

Over the years, the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex has seen its’ share of memorable sports moments.  Like other sports-centric communities, DFW has a rich history of both the good and the bad. Some of these moments evoke proud, happy memories of local athletic dominance, but others may stir-up dark, lingering emotions that you thought your therapist and $1,287 had helped you overcome…

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