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10. For the first time in 34 years calling Cowboys’ games on the radio, Brad Sham on Sunday angrily suggested a player be benched. Yep: Dez Bryant.
9. We know one thing, Cowboys fans do not need an email from the team reminding them when to boo. They displayed impeccable timing and passion by booing Tony Romo and even Jerry Jones when the owner appeared on Jumbo Jerry for a cancer awareness ad. Said Romo, “I would’ve booed us, too.” Despite fans’ claims, Jerry doesn’t own the Cowboys to make money. He has countless companies that keep him a billionaire. With a ‘b.’ I know fans would like to think sagging TV ratings and decreased attendance and dropping merchandise sales would somehow force him to sell the team or at least change general manager, but, nope, ain’t happening. What Jerry cherishes via the Cowboys is credit, not cash.
8. Obviously the rumors of Jason Witten’s demise were premature. He set an NFL record with 18 catches and a franchise record for tight ends with 167 yards. And that 1-handed grab was sick.
7. Rob Ryan’s defense deserved better. Early on it kept forcing field goals and created 2 turnovers despite being down to 3rd-string linebacker Orie Lemon in the 2nd half. After Gerald Sensabaugh knocked the snot out of Victor Salsa and Danny McCray intercepted, the Cowboys had the lead and momentum. But on the 1st play Nate Livings gave up a 12-yard sack to Chris Canty. Total momentum changer.
6. The 1st 17 minutes were some of the worst in Cowboys’ offensive history. Bad route. Bad throw. Hands-to-face penalty. Bad snap. Receiver running out of bounds to become ineligible. Fumbled punt. And an interception return for a touchdown. Pure circus.
5. And now we know the problem isn’t Felix Jones on kickoff returns, it’s the kickoff-return team. With a goal of “getting past the 20,” Lance Dunbar accomplished it only 50% of the time. His 6 returns were to the 11, 14, 42, 14, 22 and 22.
4. Dez’s fumble on the 1st-quarter punt return was the least surprising turnover in team history. And his almost touchdown is the greatest catch he’s never made.
3. On the game’s final play that was inexcusable by Romo. I realize the Giants pressure him, despite rushing 3 against 6 (Phillip Tanner stayed in to block). But the end zone is 10 yards deep and 53 yards wide. Priority No. 1 is giving your team a chance, and to do that the ball has to land in the end zone, not 7 yards out of it. Nobody was open. Dez was doubled in the left corner. Witten had 3 Giants in his jock. Miles Austin fell down getting tangled with Prince Amukamara. And for some reason Kevin Ogletree was jogging at the 20, hoping for … who knows what? All that notwithstanding, it’s criminal to give your team zero chance for a miracle.
2. Call it the Fail Mary. What Dez did on his almost game-winning touchdown was both a remarkable athletic achievement and another reminder of his insufficient football IQ. He jumped off his left foot at the bottom curve of the Cowboys’ “C”, or about 4 yards into the zone. From there, he broad-jumped almost 20 yards (backward, mind you), high-jumped 3 feet and caught a pass in the middle. But what he didn’t do cost the Cowboys a win, and perhaps a season. After splitting defenders Michael Coe and Corey Webster to catch Romo’s prayer, Bryant sailed toward the back end line and reached out with his right hand to break his fall. After initially celebrating a miracle touchdown, the Cowboys were gutted when replay officials correctly overturned it into an incompletion. I don’t know exactly how, but a player with Dez’s superior athletic skills has to find a way to come down inbounds with that football. Just has to.
1. The Cowboys are 99-100 since 2000. They are 16-15 under Jason Garrett. Dan Bailey could’ve bailed them out with a field goal in Baltimore and Dez could’ve bailed them out with a pinky down against New York. I realize it’s of zero consolation, but safe to say – um, hands down? – they’re the most entertaining mediocre team on the planet.
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