When you think about it that way, perhaps we shouldn’t have been surprised at the amazing catch he made Sunday night that nearly broke the Internet.
Beckham Jr. spent a portion of his pre-game workout practicing one-handed catches like he does every week. In the second quarter of the Cowboys’ 31-28 win, Beckham made one of the best catches you’ll ever see.
With Brandon Carr tugging at Beckham Jr.’s jersey -- Carr was called for pass interference -- the rookie receiver leaped high and snagged the point of the ball with his right hand while he was nearly perpendicular to the ground.
He cradled the ball against his body and stumbled into the end zone, falling on his back for a 43-yard touchdown.
Yes, it was that ridiculous.
“We’ve seen Dez make catches like that for us,” safety Barry Church said. “What can you say? They get paid too. That was an amazing catch. You tip your hat and move on.”
Beckham Jr. finished with 10 catches for 146 yards and two touchdowns. He caught eight passes for 125 in the first half.
“We studied him a lot in the draft,” Jason Garrett said. “He’s not tall, but he’s long, he’s explosive, and he has huge hands. He’s a dynamic player.”
Bryant said he hated to see Beckham Jr. make a grab like that against the Cowboys, but he had to respect the play.
“I respect playmakers, and he’s a playmaker,” Bryant said. “I just don't like it when he does it against us, but I do like seeing receivers ball out in this league. I’m a fan of all wideouts and I love that catch, but I’m happy we got the win.”
“When we land in Dallas, (this) game no longer matters,” wide receiver Dez Bryant said.
The Cowboys landed early Monday morning and will practice at 4 p.m. Some staffers reported straight to Valley Ranch off the plane to get a jump start on the day. The coaches used the bye week to get a quick look at the Eagles but were expected to study them more on the plane ride home.
“You have to watch the tape,” tight end Jason Witten said of the win over the Giants. “We will have to do it on our own because Thursday is going to come on us quick, but it is always good to get a win these games before Thanksgiving.”
The Cowboys needed the win to maintain pace with the Eagles. Dallas trails in the standings despite both teams being 8-3 because Philadelphia has a better division record, but with two of the Cowboys' next three games coming against the Eagles, they can rectify that.
Had the Cowboys lost Sunday, a win Thursday would have been that much more crucial.
“You’ve got to move on,” running back DeMarco Murray said.
Owner and general manager Jerry Jones said he was not upset the NFL gave the Cowboys such a difficult stretch with a Sunday night game on the road leading into a Thursday afternoon game.
“That’s three hours, that’s really nothing,” Jones said. “We’ll get rest on the plane and go in there, but we’ve got three more hours to prepare than Philadelphia, I guess. Did Philadelphia get a bye last week?”
“OK, we got one, so we got the edge,” Jones said.
The Eagles will leave Philadelphia Wednesday afternoon for Thursday’s game.
“And we’re playing at home, so when you look at the edges, which edge would you rather have?” Jones said. “Would you rather have Philadelphia’s having to travel or us when we had a bye week?”
"I don’t know that we’re going to have much time to go too hard," Romo said after the Cowboys beat the New York Giants on Sunday. "I think if you’re playing in football games, I’m sure you can make it through walk-throughs."
They will have a quick practice on Monday and hold a "Wednesday" practice on Tuesday and a red-zone and short-yardage practice on Wednesday.
Romo said he would talk to the coaches and athletic trainers and medical staff on the plane ride home from New Jersey about an exact plan.
"I think just figuring out what gets you in the best position to be at your best come Thursday," Romo said.
Romo moved around much better Sunday against the Giants than he did Nov. 9 against the Jacksonville Jaguars at London’s Wembley Stadium. He suffered two transverse process fractures in his back on Oct. 27 against the Washington Redskins and missed the following game against the Arizona Cardinals.
In his past two games he has completed 38 of 53 passes for 515 yards with seven touchdowns and no interceptions.
"I felt a little bit better," said Romo, who had his first four-touchdown pass game of the season Sunday. "I think hopefully in another week or so I’ll be back to where I’d like to be. That’s just part of playing the game. I’m feeling better, but my movements throughout the week were improved from the Jacksonville week. I could feel that for sure."
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- There's nothing the Dallas Cowboys can say to persuade us they've changed.
They must show us. It's really that simple.
They gave us one more indication Sunday night against the New York Giants that this Cowboys team is different than others that have disappointed you so much over the years.
These Cowboys possesses a mental and physical toughness their predecessors never consistently displayed. This squad plays with poise, and it believes in its coach and each other.
Now, that doesn’t mean the Cowboys are going to win the Super Bowl. Or that they’ll win each of their five remaining regular-season games.
When the game ended Sunday at MetLife Stadium, the scoreboard read: Dallas 31, New York 28
The Cowboys trailed 7-0, 14-3, 21-10 and 28-24. They never flinched.
Why should they?
The Cowboys rallied from 21-0 down at the St. Louis Rams and 10-0 at Seattle Seahawks to victories earlier this season.
Trailing the Giants, who had lost five consecutive games, just didn’t seem that daunting.
Maybe it’s because the defensive players knew it was only a matter of time until they adjusted to the Giants’ no-huddle offense.
Or they figured there were only so many sensational catches Odell Beckham Jr. could make in one game. His dazzling, one-handed grab for a 43-yard touchdown -- easily one of the top plays of the year -- was on Twitter soon after he made it.
“We’ve always been tough,” Cowboys tight end Jason Witten said, “but we haven’t always played with poise. We’ve panicked. We weren’t consistent to start this game, but we knew what we had to do to win it, and we had the poise to go do it.
“We’re a group that fights. We’ve done it before, but we’ve come up short. It feels good to come up on the other side. This win is big, even though we didn’t play great.”
The victory means the Cowboys have matched their win total from last season with a month left in this season. More important, at 8-3 it allows them to keep pace with the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC East.
It’s a two-team race, and on Thanksgiving the teams will meet the first time this season to break the tie in the standings. We all know the difference between 9-3 and 8-4 after the holiday tilt will be more than just one game.
A loss Sunday in New Jersey would have filled the local airwaves with conversations about yet another late-season collapse by the same old Cowboys.
Now their victory sets up a Turkey Day contest between two of the best teams in the NFC.
"I think you just gain an understanding and that you never feel like you’re out of it," Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo said. "You’re comfortable being in uncomfortable situations, if that makes sense. That comes through having been through it, experienced it, and then having to go out and figure out a way to win."
This qualifies as a team win, because all three phases contributed.
The defense, pathetic nearly the entire first half, allowed New York to score touchdowns on each of its first three drives. Then the Giants went six possessions without scoring until they took a 28-24 lead on Adrian Robinson’s 1-yard touchdown catch with 3:00 left.
That gave Romo way too much time to lead the Cowboys to his 23rd come-from-behind win.
And the special teams were just that, with Dwayne Harris, in particular, offering outstanding coverage on kicks and punt returns in the second half.
This win provided one more piece of tangible evidence that Dallas coach Jason Garrett’s process works. You probably get as sick of hearing it as the players do, but it’s all part of creating a culture that’s been missing at the club’s Valley Ranch training facility since Bill Parcells left.
It’s about having the right kind of guys on the roster who can battle through adversity.
“You just have to keep taking it play by play,” Garrett said. “That’s something we emphasize as a coaching staff maybe more than anything else. This game is about one play at a time. Focus, do your job, be physical and be relentless.
“Regardless of where you’re playing, when you’re playing or what the circumstances of the game are, there’s only one way to play. You’re always trying to get players to play that way and your team to play that way.”
“It’s a daily struggle,” Garrett continued. “It’s our job as coaches to get our guys to play like that all the time. We try to emphasize it, but it’s always a work in progress.”
Players such as Romo and Witten have always taken that approach. They learned it from Parcells.
They’re no longer alone. Three consecutive 8-8 seasons have everyone training, practicing and playing with the same vision.
The locker room has a different vibe, one that’s palpable. And it’s helping the Cowboys win games they used to lose.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- There were more than 80,000 people inside MetLife Stadium, but to the Dallas Cowboys, it might as well have been a Thursday practice at Valley Ranch.
The Cowboys (8-3) needed to go 80 yards for a touchdown, and Tony Romo felt at ease.
"It's a calming feeling," the Cowboys quarterback said. "You're almost doing what you decided before the game, if that makes sense. Once you get into the series, then obviously you're going to call the play and going to come up with the stuff that you feel best doing. But more than that, it's just three minutes, you have two timeouts. That's a different situation than one minute and no timeouts. You have to prepare for those situations."
Romo thrived in that situation Sunday night. He completed all six of his passes on the drive for 66 yards. The final throw came after the offensive line gave him enough time to complete the New York Times crossword puzzle before he found Dez Bryant in the back of the end zone with 1:01 to play for a 31-28 win against the New York Giants.
It was as efficient and as cool as Romo has ever been and good for the 23rd fourth-quarter comeback victory of his career, as he continues to excel when others wait for him to fail.
"He is a franchise quarterback," owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. "He has won big games. He's won them every way you can win them. He's won them using his surrounding talent well. He's won them without using his surrounding talent. He's come from behind. He's done the whole nine yards. So with that on mind, when you've got a quarterback like that, you want to put enough around him so that you can compete for a Super Bowl.
"If we don't do that while he's active, it'll be the biggest disappointment for me."
The Cowboys have five more regular-season games to play before they can think Super Bowl. They have eight wins with five games to go, which is something they have not been able to say since 2009.
The Cowboys run their two-minute drill in Thursday practices. The only noise comes from speakers off to the side of the field. The situations vary each week, but Jason Garrett said there is nothing more critical in practice.
"Those are the situations that win or lose games in the NFL every week," Garrett said.
On first down, Romo hit Bryant for 4 yards. On second down, he hit Jason Witten for 5. On third-and-1, DeMarco Murray ran for 9 yards.
"That was the key play," Romo said.
Cole Beasley went for 21 yards on the same play in which he scored a 45-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Witten caught a 15-yarder to the New York 21. Bryant caught an 8-yarder along the sideline.
On second down, Romo bounced on his toes as his five offensive linemen kept the Giants' four-man pass rush away for as long as he needed. This was not one of the scrambling moments that Romo has perfected over the years. This was keeping his eyes down the field the entire time.
"Tony's the best at extending plays," Bryant said. "He's the best at it, and one thing that we have to do -- tight ends, split ends -- we have to stay alive. ... We had to show him the target."
Bryant gave him a target in the back of the end zone, breaking away from Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie just enough for Romo to fit the ball in from 13 yards.
It was Romo's fourth touchdown pass of the game and second to Bryant. He finished the game with 275 yards on 18-of-26 passing. He has 22 touchdown passes on the season and just six interceptions.
"We've seen him do that a lot, but under that situation, I just thought he was so good with the ball, buying time and making some really good throws," Witten said. "That was a big-time drive by Tony."
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A few thoughts on the Dallas Cowboys' 31-28 win against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium.
What it means: The Cowboys absolutely needed to win Sunday night and Tony Romo’s touchdown pass to Dez Bryant with 1:01 to play proved to be the difference.
With the win the Cowboys kept pace with the Philadelphia Eagles and improved to 8-3, equaling their win total from each of the past three seasons with five games to go. The last time the Cowboys were 8-3 was in 2009, and that also happens to be the last time they made the playoffs.
It took some time for the defense to get its legs, but it was able to end the Giants’ final drive with a fourth-down stop by Rolando McClain on a Rashad Jennings catch that was initially ruled a first down before officials used replay to overturn the call. When official Bill Vinovich announced the decision, Cowboys fans erupted.
As a result, the Cowboys were able to take a knee with 23 seconds to play and leave New Jersey with the win, setting up a manic five-game finish that includes two games against the Eagles.
The big plays: The Cowboys have not been as efficient offensively the past few games, but they are getting more big plays. Against the Jacksonville Jaguars, they had three touchdown plays of at least 35 yards. Against the Giants, Romo had touchdown passes of 45 yards to Cole Beasley and 31 yards to Bryant in the third quarter to help erase a 21-10 Giants halftime lead. The Cowboys also had an 18-yard run by DeMarco Murray in the third quarter on his way to his 10th 100-yard game in 11 tries this season.
Game ball: Has Tony Romo put himself in the MVP conversation yet? Romo completed 18 of 26 passes for 275 yards and a season-high four touchdown passes. He saved his best for the final drive, completing all six passes for 66 yards, including a 13-yard strike to Dez Bryant with 1:01 to play. It was the second time Romo and Bryant connected for a score and it marked the 23rd fourth-quarter comeback of Romo's career. It's Romo's first game with more than three touchdown passes since he had five last year against Denver. The Cowboys lost that game on a late interception.
Stock watch: The Cowboys took some time to get acclimated after the bye, especially defensively, giving up three touchdowns on the first three drives, but Rod Marinelli figured something out ... until he didn’t. Leading 24-21, the Cowboys had the Giants pinned at their 7, but New York traveled 93 yards on 14 plays for the go-ahead score with 3:00 to play. The Giants, who converted 7 of 8 third-down tries in the first half, converted both third-down chances on this drive. It was the third touchdown drive of at least 80 yards the Cowboys allowed Sunday and the 11th time it has happened this season. But the offense bailed out the defense on the fourth-down stop by McClain.
What’s next: The Cowboys have a quick turnaround with the NFC East rival Philadelphia Eagles visiting AT&T Stadium on Thanksgiving. It’s just the second time these teams have met on Thanksgiving. Philadelphia pinned a 27-0 loss on the Cowboys in 1989.
The defensive tackle is inactive for Sunday night’s game against the New York Giants. Brent was added to the 53-man roster during the bye week and has practiced for the last month, but the Cowboys do not feel the need -- nor have the spot -- on the gameday roster.
Terrell McClain is also inactive, which means defensive end Jack Crawford will continue to split time at end and tackle.
Quarterback Dustin Vaughan, tackle Tony Hills, tackle Donald Hawkins, cornerback Tyler Patmon and safety Jakar Hamilton are also inactive.
Anthony Hitchens will start at weakside linebacker with Rolando McClain returning to the lineup.
The Cowboys are coming off their bye week and are looking to sweep the Giants for the second straight season. The Cowboys are the NFL’s only undefeated road team this season (4-0), but they have lost four straight road games in prime time.
Their last road win in prime time was the 2012 season opener against the Giants.
With a win, the Cowboys would improve to 8-3. The last time they had that record came in 2009, which also happens to be the last time they made the playoffs.
The stat that means the most to the Dallas Cowboys head coach is turnover margin. Win that and your odds of winning improve. Lose that and you face an uphill climb.
Despite the Cowboys’ 7-3 record, they are minus-1 in turnovers on the season. Entering Sunday’s games, there was only one team with a winning record -- the Philadelphia Eagles -- with a worse turnover margin than the Cowboys. The Cowboys have lost 10 fumbles. Only the Eagles (11) had more.
Tony Romo has had at least one interception in six straight games (nine total) against the Giants, with 13 touchdown passes.
In the first meeting, Romo completed all nine second-half passes for 156 yards and a touchdown in the 31-21 win at AT&T Stadium.
“As the games get later in the year, if you’re lucky enough to be a team that’s going to be playing in January and late in the year, the turnovers are going to be what ultimately decides your season,” Romo said. “You can play a great football game and you can be a better team, but if you give up the ball, you’re not going to be able to accomplish your goals. So, I think that’s a very big key for us.”
In the three games since, Beckham has 21 catches for 357 yards. In that time span he is tied for third in the NFL in catches and second in yards.
“In this league everybody has the physical abilities to make plays,” Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr said. “To survive in this league it comes down to intangibles, the mental part. His confidence is there. He has an elite quarterback I know that’s pushing him, motivating him and trying to get him the ball.”
Giants running back Rashad Jennings didn’t play in the first meeting between the teams. The Giants’ three wins this season have come with Jennings active. He has 109 carries for 455 yards on the season.
“He’s run the ball effectively for them when he’s healthy,” Garrett said. “But the other runners, they have are good players, too, and obviously when you go into any game, the importance of controlling the line of scrimmage and controlling the run is critical. We certainly have to do that this week.”
The ref: Bill Vinovich’s crew will work Sunday night’s game between the Cowboys and Giants. Here is a breakdown of what Vinovich called last week with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Washington Redskins.
Such is the life of waiting for the prime-time games. So what does coach Jason Garrett do to break up the boredom during the day?
“It’s an age-old issue,” Garett said. “You’re always asking about the schedule to try to make sure your players are at their best when you kick it off. Typically what we’ve done through the years is have some kind of walk-through the day of the night game to get them out of bed, moving around, thinking football and then giving them some times in the afternoon before the pregame meal and getting on the bus and going to the stadium.”
Players can get antsy during the day. Several players said they would watch at least some of the afternoon games. Others said they would review the game plan or just sleep some more to save energy.
“Some games you’re like, ‘I’m just ready to get it on,’ and it takes forever,” cornerback Brandon Carr said. “For the most part it goes by pretty quick.”
The thought of playing at night is a real motivation.
“Obviously you’re amped for every game, but you know the whole nation is watching,” defensive tackle Nick Hayden said. “It’s even better because you have the showcase and you can show the whole nation what the Cowboys are about.”
But in getting to the 46-man roster, it creates something of a dilemma.
Josh Brent is eligible to play for the first time since Dec. 2, 2012, but how do the Cowboys get him on the active roster.
As we Ponder the 46 for Sunday’s game against the New York Giants, there just didn’t seem a way to get Brent on the field without taking off a player the Cowboys like.
First, let’s get through the inactives we know: quarterback Dustin Vaughan, tackle Tony Hills, tackle Donald Hawkins, safety Jakar Hamilton and cornerback Tyler Patmon, who has a knee injury.
The leaves two more inactives to find.
Could the Cowboys go with four wide receivers in a game for the first time this season? Rookie Devin Street has not had a catch since the season opener.
Try as I might, I can’t see Brent on the 46-man roster this week. In order to do it, the Cowboys would have to dress four wide receivers, de-activate fullback Tyler Clutts or go light in the secondary. None of that will happen. And Rod Marinelli is a big believer in Nick Hayden, so Brent will not be active over him.
In fact, the Cowboys will have to de-activate another linemen just to keep the numbers right. Jack Crawford offers up versatility and played extremely well in the Cowboys’ last game. Anthony Spencer is looking for his first sack. George Selvie has just one sack. Terrell McClain can play both tackle spots, but he could be without a jersey on Sunday.
The guess at the inactives: Vaughan, Hills, Hawkins, Hamilton, Patmon, Brent and McClain.
With Tyler Patmon out of Sunday’s game against the New York Giants with a knee injury, the Cowboys needed to add Pellerin to have a fourth cornerback on the roster. He joins Orlando Scandrick, Brandon Carr and Sterling Moore. Patmon could miss up to two more games with his knee injury.
Coleman played in the first two games of the season and started the opener and had four tackles. He injured his knee/calf in the weight room and missed two games. He has been inactive for the past eight games. If he clears waivers, he could be brought back to the practice squad.
- Paying Dez Bryant
- Jason Witten's status
- Doug Free or Ronald Leary
- Rod Marinelli or Bill Callahan
- Throwback uniforms
@toddarcher: The simple answer is this: because he doesn't have to. Nor should he respond to any players comments and pay the guy simply because the guy wants more money. Heck, I want more money. You want more money. That doesn't mean our bosses are just going to give it to us. The Cowboys can simply put the franchise tag on Dez Bryant and worry about the future later. It's not the best solution but neither is giving a player what he wants just because he is asking for it. Eventually I believe a deal will get done, but I think the franchise tag is the most likely option right now. If Bryant does not like that, he can blame the union for not getting it out of the CBA. But what will he do, not play? We should all struggle by making in excess of $12 million for a season.
From Twitter: Have we seen the last of the elite pass-catcher Jason Witten? #cowboysmail
@toddarcher: To me Jason Witten's numbers are down simply because of opportunity. The Cowboys are a running team and don't throw it as much. But Witten is still playing at a top level. He is still getting open. He is still getting separation. This might be the best he has ever blocked, too. I don't know if you'll see him put up 85-100 catch seasons again because of the way the Cowboys run but that doesn't mean he's not having a fine season. He is. It's normal to wait for the decline in a player that has played as long as Witten has, but the slippage has been minimal. His offseason work is tremendous. His in-season work is tremendous.
@toddarcher: Good question, Malcolm. I'd go with Doug Free. To me right tackle is a more important position. That's not to knock Ronald Leary. I think he's done a good job. He's a vital part to the Cowboys' success on the ground and in protecting Tony Romo. The Cowboys want to be stout up the middle to protect Romo. But I think Free means more. He is the leader in the offensive line room. He has played fairly well the last two years. I've stumped for the Cowboys to re-sign him a few times. Leary will be an exclusive rights free agent, so the Cowboys have his rights at least through 2016. Free will be an unrestricted free agent and with the voidable years on his current deal he will count against the cap next year whether he is on the team or not. I'd get something done with Free.
Who is more important to the offensive line this year and going foward, Doug Free or Ronald Leary? #cowboysmail— Malcom M. (@cowboys_flyhigh) November 20, 2014
@toddarcher: I don't think so. I know he has said he believes this is one of the best coaching staffs the Cowboys have had in his tenure as owner, but I think there are prices that might be too expensive. And there is another thing to remember: The coaches will be free to sign elsewhere. Despite the happy faces that have been put on the situation, Callahan was upset he was not able to leave in the offeason when Scott Linehan took over as the playcaller. Callahan wants to call plays and will not get that chance here. Maybe another team gives him that shot and he chooses to leave. If Callahan leaves, then the Cowboys can plug in Frank Pollack as line coach. Marinelli's situation is tricky too. He is best friends with Lovie Smith. Things have not gone well for Smith in Tampa Bay and maybe he calls on Marinelli, who has displayed loyalty to Smith in the past by leaving the Bears. The Cowboys don't want to lose either coach, but they might not be in position to do much about it.
#cowboysmail Does JJ pay whatever it takes to keep Callahan and Marinelli past this season??— James Oltman (@odieoltman) November 20, 2014
@toddarcher: I like this one. A little off the board here. You won't see throwbacks again unless the Cowboys want to wear their current helmets with the old uniforms. That's why you will see the Cowboys wear their blue jerseys at home on Thanksgiving against Philadelphia. The league does not want teams wearing multiple helmets during the course of the year with the concussion litigation going on. That makes sense. I've wondered why colleges haven't followed suit on that but I guess recruiting wins out. I miss the Cowboys' throwbacks. I thought they looked sharp. But I'll admit this too: I liked the blue jerseys at home on Thanksgiving last year.
Any chance the cowboys ever where the throwback uniforms again? #cowboysmail— Jared Bernal (@bernal_jared) November 21, 2014