Sunday, November 24, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Dallas Cowboys
By Todd Archer
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A few thoughts on the Dallas Cowboys' 24-21 win against the New York Giants on Sunday.
What it means: The Cowboys find themselves back in first place in the NFC East with the win, thanks to the tiebreaker over the Philadelphia Eagles, and can claim an outright share of first place in the division with a win Thursday against the Oakland Raiders.
The Cowboys are 4-0 in the NFC East and swept the Giants for the first time since 2007. It is the fourth time since 1989 the Cowboys have started out 4-0 in the division.
With two weeks to stew over the worst loss of the Jason Garrett era (49-17 to the New Orleans Saints in Week 10), the Cowboys were able come up with a drive that led to a 35-yard, game-winning field goal by Dan Bailey.
A loss would have been traumatic for a team that would have started its traditional December slide a month earlier. Now, the Cowboys figure to find themselves in the race for the rest of the season. Oh, and they all but eliminated the Giants, who entered on a four-game winning streak.
Stock watch: Tony Romo, rising. With the season on the line, like it was against the Minnesota Vikings earlier in the month, Romo responded on the Cowboys' final drive, completing six of nine passes to set up the winning kick. Two of the incompletions were drops by Miles Austin and Dez Bryant, respectively. With everybody wondering what Romo would do in a big moment, he came up big.
Clutch late: Before the final drive of the game for the Cowboys, the only third-down conversion was Jason Witten’s third-quarter touchdown. On the winning drive, the Cowboys converted three times on third down.
Bryant had a 19-yard grab after a third-and-7 following a Tyron Smith false start penalty. Bryant converted on third-and-5 with an 8-yard grab from the slot. On third-and-10, Cole Beasley picked up 13 yards to set up Bailey’s game winner.
Still can’t stop the run: The Cowboys have been historically bad with their pass defense through 10 games, but what was lost in the New Orleans game was just how poor their run defense was.
The Saints ran for 242 yards against the Cowboys. The Giants ran for 202 Sunday. Andre Brown had 127 yards. Brandon Jacobs had 75 yards.
The Cowboys missed Sean Lee badly. Ernie Sims was consistently out of position, but the defensive line didn’t do much to help the linebackers, either.
It was the third time the Cowboys have allowed 200 yards rushing in a game. The Washington Redskins had 216 on Oct. 13.
What’s next: The Cowboys have a quick turnaround with the Raiders visiting AT&T Stadium on Thursday for the annual Thanksgiving Game. The Cowboys have lost two of their past three games on Thanksgiving but beat the Raiders 24-7 on Nov. 26, 2009.