- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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ARLINGTON, Texas – Morris Claiborne felt at least a small sense of redemption as he pranced across the goal line Sunday night.
The Cowboys’ first-round rookie cornerback had the worst game of his life in the previous meeting with the Eagles, getting called for five penalties and giving up a touchdown, prompting him to make a promise to his teammates after that win in Philadelphia that he’d never perform that poorly again. That made his 50-yard fumble return for a touchdown that essentially sealed Sunday’s win over the Eagles just a little more satisfying.
“I guess so,” Claiborne said. “That’s all part of the game. The penalties that I had last time were all part of the game. I’m just fortunate enough and blessed and thankful that we came out with the win.”
The fumble, which was the only turnover the struggling Cowboys defense forced all night, occurred on the possession after Dallas took its first lead. Claiborne’s eyes lit up as soon as he saw nose tackle Josh Brent jar the ball from running back Bryce Brown’s grip.
“As soon as I saw it pop up, there wasn’t nothing but green grass,” Claiborne said. “I was already (thinking) touchdown.”
Said defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, who had a rough night, to say the least: “That was a pretty damn big relief. That’s all there is to it.”