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Sunday, October 10, 2010
Rapid Reaction: Titans 34, Cowboys 27

By Matt Mosley

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys fought their way back into the game a couple times Sunday, but they could not overcome an enormous special teams play by the Tennessee Titans late in the fourth quarter. Let's break down Dallas' 34-27 defeat:

What it means: The Cowboys are in desperation mode once again with a 1-3 record. The Redskins and Giants both pulled off upsets to improve to 3-2, so the Cowboys can no longer depend on their rivals' ineptitude. Quarterback Tony Romo had a huge day in the passing game, but he made a back-breaking mistake in the fourth quarter that allowed the Titans to take a 27-20 lead. This is a loss that will haunt the Cowboys the rest of the season, and they certainly earned it.

Right tackles shouldn't go to the ground during TD celebrations: The Cowboys tied the score at 27 on a touchdown pass to Jason Witten in the fourth quarter. The tight end flipped the ball to right tackle Marc Colombo to let him spike the ball. The two of them then did a leaping chest-bump, which led to Colombo landing on his backside. According to an NFL rule, a player cannot go to the ground during a touchdown celebration. And I guess poor coordination isn't a plausible defense. The 15-yard penalty meant that kicker David Buehler couldn't get a touchback, which contributed to Marc Mariani's 73-yard return. The Titans quickly scored to make it 34-27.

Goat: We have several candidates, but I think Cowboys cornerback Mike Jenkins walks away with the title. He was flagged for pass interference twice on the Titans' first possession, which resulted in a touchdown. He then gave up a 52-yard pass to Kenny Britt in the third quarter. This was supposed to be a Pro Bowl season for him, but he was not on his game Sunday. The Titans didn't show a lot of respect for him at all, and that was a smart move on their part.

What's next: If the Cowboys lose in Minneapolis next Sunday, you can kiss this season goodbye. This was a crippling loss, and I'm not even sure playing in a weaker division than usual will help them in the end.