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Cowboys 20, Bengals 19: My Top 10 CBS Contemplations

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Lawrence Vickers #47 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates after the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Dallas won 20-19. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Lawrence Vickers #47 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates after the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Dallas won 20-19. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

10. We’ll never forget the day we watched the Cowboys’ 1st win in Paul Brown Stadium. Tears and football don’t usually mix. But Sunday in Cincy was magical.

9. Last week Cowboys’ cornerback Brandon Carr lost a good friend and former Chiefs’ teammate Jovan Belcher, who committed suicide. On Saturday he boarded Jerry Jones’ private jet to attend the funeral in Austin of former friend Kasandra Perkins, murdered by Belcher. Upon landing, he received a text that current teammate Josh Brent was in jail for driving drunk and having an accident that killed practice-squad linebacker Jerry Brown. Somehow, instead of drowning in despair, Carr flew to Cincinnati with owner Jerry Jones late Saturday and on Sunday intercepted a pass that helped Dallas upset Cincinnati. Tough son of gun.

8. We’ve seen it happen too many times this season, but yesterday it didn’t. The Cowboys score late, gain some momentum and just need a defensive stop to get the ball back and win the game. Against Atlanta and Washington the Cowboys’ defense couldn’t get the ball back, but Sunday they did – with a little help from the Bengals. Leading 19-17 with 6:35 remaining, Cincy called 5 consecutive plays and punted back to Dallas after Anthony Spencer’s crucial sack of Andy Dalton.

7. I know directional punting isn’t the easiest task in the NFL and the Cowboys were fearful of Pacman Jones’ returns, but Brian Moorman had probably the worst punting day in the history of the Cowboys with four kicks under 30 yards. He had a punter’s version of the yips.

6. We’re losing football. If the shoulder-to-chest hit by Bengals’ safety Reggie Nelson to Cowboys’ receiver Dez Bryant is a penalty, we’re losing football. Violent? Yes. Illegal? No friggin’ way.

5. The Cowboys were supposed to hold their annual Christmas party tonight. It’s been canceled. Instead, they are making plans for a memorial for a deceased teammate.

4. Remember the one about Tony Romo being a choker in December? In his last 9 games in this month he’s thrown 19 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Against the Eagles last week he was 10-of-10 in the 2nd half. In yesterday’s 4th quarter he was 11 of 15 for 128 yards and a touchdown. Sunday was a really bad day to be a Romo hater. If you watched that entire game and still don’t respect Romo … you’re simply a football idiot. It was an amazing performance under siege.

3. The Cowboys played well enough to win under dire circumstances, but let’s face it, they got a lot of help from the bumbling Bengals. Cincy dropped at least 2 interceptions of Romo. Leading receiver A.J. Green dropped 3 passes including a 3rd-quarter slant that would’ve been a walk-in touchdown. And for the life of me I can’t explain why the Bengals only gave the ball to BenJarvus Green-Ellis 12 times. He had 3 consecutive 100-yard games coming in. The Cowboys were without their top 2 nose tackles and top 2 inside linebackers. And when Green-Ellis was given his dozen, he averaged 7.4 yards for 89 yards. It’s almost as though the Bengals were determined to be sympathetic, charitable hosts.

2. DeMarco Murray’s key 6-yard run on 3rd-and-5 with 1:17 was all … DeMarco Murray. He got a decent seal block on the edge by receiver Dwayne Harris, but on the sweep right Nate Livings was immediately shoved into his lap forcing him to re-route, Jason Witten’s man slipped inside forcing him further outside and Doug Free totally whiffed forcing him to break a tackle before diving for a precious 1st down. Seriously, the way the play was blocked, the Cowboys are lucky it wasn’t a 4-yard loss that set up a 51-yard field goal that, even if good, would’ve left time on the clock for the Bengals.

1. At one point in the 4th quarter the Cowboys were down to only four original starters on defense because of injuries – DeMarcus Ware, Jason Hatcher, Gerald Sensabaugh and Carr. And considering the 9-point deficit and the emotional weight of losing two players the day before, there was ample opportunity to quit Sunday in Cincy. But they didn’t. They stubbornly played with execution and passion and when Hatcher held up Brown’s No. 53 jersey and Garrett almost collapsed into Rob Ryan after Dan Bailey’s game-winning field goal, for a moment it was okay to be proud of the 2012 Dallas Cowboys.

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