Unfair Park certainly hopes it isn't a mirage, that the Titans, Rams and Saints aren't just bad. We really want to believe that the Cowboys victories the last three weeks are a sign of positive things to come.
But we've been down this road before. We've had our expectations soar, only to come crashing to earth. We're not saying that's going to happen this time, but just to spare us a little heartbreak down the road, we thought we'd take a look, through the eyes of the Morning News' venerable Tim Cowlishaw, at the 'Boys biggest moment of hope so far this season, alongside high water marks of the previous three 8-8 seasons.
2014 (so far) -- September 28
Behind a dominant performance from the team's offensive line, the Cowboys blew out the Saints 38-17. It was a cathartic win, as the Cowboys suffered through the worst defensive performance in team history in 2013's 49-17 loss to the Saints in New Orleans.
Weekly NFL viewing teaches us to be numb to the great surprise. And then there was this.
It was just last November that the Saints set an NFL record with 40 first downs and rolled to 625 total yards -- most ever against a Dallas defense -- in a 49-17 New Orleans rout of the Cowboys. Sure, this is a new season and things change quickly but ...
This much change? This quickly?
2013 -- October 20
The maligned Cowboys defense forced three turnovers and held Chip Kelly's high-flying Eagles to three points as the Cowboys moved to 4-3 on the year. It wasn't a vintage performance by any means, but it proved the team could win in a weak NFC East.
"The Cowboys have played every kind of game imaginable in the season's first seven weeks. On Sunday, they won an unimaginable game and, as a result, they are kings of the NFC East."
2012 -- December 16
Beating the Steelers 27-24 in overtime, the Cowboys won their fifth game in six to move to 8-6. Tony Romo threw for 341 yards and two touchdowns against no interceptions. Obviously, the Cowboys would not win again in 2012.
"An 8-6 record isn't good enough for first place in seven other divisions. Doesn't matter. The Giants have shown us twice in the last five years that winning the East with something less than a stellar record can be good enough to do great things."
2011 -- November 24
A 20-19 over the Dolphins on Thanksgiving was the Cowboys fourth straight win and left them with a 7-4 record heading to December. Then rookie kicker Dan Bailey hit a 28-yard field goal as time expired.
"Well, that's what a four-game winning streak will do for a team. It puts the Cowboys squarely in the discussion with the New Orleans Saints as to which NFC team is second-best to the undefeated Green Bay Packers."
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