Dallas Cowboys: Rapid Reaction

Rapid Reaction: Giants 29, Cowboys 24

October, 28, 2012

ARLINGTON, Texas -- These games between the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants are always close. Nearly all of them, it seems. Sunday's was no different, and it came down to the final moments again.

The Giants held on for a dramatic 29-24 victory at Cowboys Stadium on Sunday afternoon. They are now 4-0 at Cowboys Stadium since the $1.2 billion palace opened.

What it means: The Cowboys are 3-4 overall and are 1-1 in the division with four NFC East games remaining. The Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins both lost Sunday. This is a difficult loss for the Cowboys, who will be on the road next week at Atlanta.

The miracle catch that wasn't: With six seconds left, Dez Bryant made what appeared to be a leaping 37-yard touchdown pass from Tony Romo. One problem: As Bryant came down with the catch, his right hand landed on the wide part of the end zone. The referees ruled touchdown and Cowboys Stadium went crazy. Bryant fell down after making the catch and needed help off the field. After a review of the play, it was ruled that Bryant was out of bounds.

Comebacks for Romo, Manning: Eli Manning has done it again. He has 23 regular-season comeback victories and is 27-5 in October. He continues to outplay Romo down the stretch. The Cowboys took the lead after rallying from a 23-point deficit, which would have been the Cowboys' and Romo's biggest comeback.

Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers: The Cowboys had a season-high six turnovers, five of them leading to New York scores. The last came when Romo scrambled and directed a pass at tight end Jason Witten, but it was picked off by Stevie Brown with 1:03 left to play, sealing the victory for the Giants.

Bryant benched on punts: Bryant has struggled on punt returns all season. In the first half he muffed a punt, secured it and then fumbled it, eventually leading to a Giants' score. Bryant was replaced by Cole Beasley and Dwayne Harris on punt returns. As far as receiver play, Bryant made one mistake on a route, leading to an interception, but he also caught a 55-yard bomb and finished the day with five catches for 110 yards. Bryant returned as the punt returner with less than a minute to play.

The fourth-down play: The Cowboys were faced with a fourth-and-1 from the New York 19 and Romo was flushed out of the pocket. He moved to the Giants' 40 and lofted the pass to Witten that was intercepted by Brown. It was Romo's fourth interception of the day. You could say, with three timeouts, the Cowboys could have run the ball with Felix Jones, who was in the backfield as the Cowboys had a four-receiver set. Instead, the Cowboys tried to throw the ball and the play failed them.


What action from Sunday's loss to the Giants bests fits this season's Cowboys?


Discuss (Total votes: 13,194)

Cowboys lose Connor: Linebacker Dan Connor, who earned the start with Sean Lee out with a toe injury, suffered a neck strain in the first half and didn't return. Orie Lemon replaced Connor in the starting lineup. It's another example of how defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has to juggle the lineup. Ryan has missed numerous starters, including nose tackle Jay Ratliff, defensive end Kenyon Coleman and safety Gerald Sensabaugh. Outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware left the game with an undisclosed injury but returned.

What gets lost: Tight end Jason Witten had a wonderful day. He finished with a career-high 18 catches for 167 yards and no touchdowns. Romo targeted Witten 21 times. It was a sharp contract to the season opener for Witten, who was playing after being cleared from a lacerated spleen to participate in the Week 1 victory. That night, Witten had two catches for 10 yards and numerous drops.

What's next? The Cowboys visit the Atlanta Falcons, who are coming off a 30-17 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. The Falcons (7-0) are 29-6 at the Georgia Dome, the third most home victories in the NFL since 2008. Only the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots have more.

Rapid Reaction: Ravens 31, Cowboys 29

October, 14, 2012

BALTIMORE -- The Dallas Cowboys were in desperation mode Sunday afternoon at M&T Bank Stadium, and that's not a good thing against a team that doesn't lose to the NFC at home.

The Cowboys had a chance to pull out a win, but Dan Bailey missed a potential game-winning 51-yard field goal with two seconds to play.

Dez Bryant scored on a pass from Tony Romo with 32 seconds remaining but let the ball go through his hands on the two-point conversion try. His pleas for a flag went unanswered, but the Cowboys got another shot when they recovered Bailey's ensuing onside kick.

The Cowboys, coming off a bye week, played their best game of the season, but it wasn't good enough as the Ravens held on for a 31-29 victory.

What it means?: The Cowboys have lost two consecutive games and lose the game after the bye week for a second straight season. It was a tough loss for a Cowboys team that rushed for 227 yards behind four running backs. Still, it was not enough.

Romo's interception turns the tide: In a tie game, Romo was picked off by cornerback Cary Williams with 2:15 to play in the first half. The Ravens took advantage. Joe Flacco found Torrey Smith for a 9-yard touchdown reception to cap a drive and give Baltimore a 17-10 lead. That was the score at halftime and the Cowboys played from behind the rest of the way. Romo's ninth interception of the season set the tone and gave the Ravens momentum.


What played the biggest role in the Cowboys' two-point loss at Baltimore?


Discuss (Total votes: 14,035)

RBs get beat up: The Cowboys used four running backs Sunday, mainly because of injury. DeMarco Murray started but was taken out with a foot injury. Murray didn't start in the second half, getting only one carry after halftime. He finished with 93 yards on 14 carries. Felix Jones took over and responded with a solid performance. Jones also left the contest because of dehydration. Phillip Tanner and Lance Dunbar also picked up carries in the loss.

Record day for special teams: Well, not for the Cowboys. The Ravens' Jacoby Jones returned a kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown, tying the record for the longest kickoff return in NFL history. It was the first time the Cowboys had allowed a kick return for a touchdown since Percy Harvin's 95-yarder in 2010.

What's next?: The Cowboys continue their road trip when they take on Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers next Sunday at noon.

Rapid Reaction: Cowboys 34, Rams 7

October, 23, 2011

ARLINGTON, Texas -- This was the type of game you're supposed to win, no matter where you are as a team. The Cowboys beat up the winless St. Louis Rams on Sunday afternoon, 34-7.

The Cowboys dominated on defense and ran with power behind rookie DeMarco Murray.

What it means: The Cowboys ended two streaks on Sunday. They ended a two-game losing streak and an 11-game stretch where games were decided by four points or fewer. It was good for the Cowboys to have an easy game for a change, and with a new right guard (Montrae Holland) and running back (Murray), Dallas had few problems taking care of business.

Rookie's record day: Rookie running back Murray rushed for franchise-record 253 yards on 25 carries. Murray had a 91-yard touchdown run, the second longest in franchise history. He set the record on a run to the left side in the fourth quarter, and when he came out Dez Bryant was the first player to greet him. It was a magical day for Murray, who didn't even start the game.

Bryant shows up in second half: After going two games with no catches in the second half, Bryant had four in the second half and finished with five catches for 90 yards with one touchdown. There were questions about why Bryant couldn't get the ball in the second half. Bryant said defenses didn't do anything to him, he just couldn't get any passes. Wide receivers coach Jimmy Robinson backed up that statement. Regardless of what it was, it was something to be concerned about.

What's next? The Cowboys visit the Philadelphia Eagles next Sunday. The Cowboys can gain some ground in the NFC East with a victory and possibly gain some momentum heading into November.

Rapid Reaction: Cowboys 23, Vikings 17

August, 27, 2011

MINNEAPOLIS -- This is the last time the Cowboys' first-team offense and defense could get their acts together before the start of the regular season. The passing attack looked pretty good for the Cowboys, but the run defense struggled, and while it was Adrian Peterson doing the work, the Cowboys could have done a better job with their push up front.

As for the game, the Cowboys won 23-17.

Cowboys make news: Before the start of the game, the Cowboys made some news by sitting Pro Bowl center Andre Gurode. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said the team made the move as a business decision. The Cowboys are trying to lower salary cap figures for several of their players in the next two seasons and want to do so with Gurode. However, it's not known if Gurode would be willing to take a pay cut, or if the Cowboys can find a team to trade him to. Team officials will meet with Gurode and his agent, Kennard McGuire, on Sunday to sort out the details.

Romo looks good: Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo finished his night after leading the first-team offense to a touchdown and a field goal. Romo completed 15 of 20 passes for 141 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. Romo looked poised under center, and he did move out of the pocket to complete some passes while pressured. With Gurode out of the lineup, the Cowboys started rookie Kevin Kowalski at center.

Run defense struggles: Peterson ran all over the Cowboys' first-team defense. He rushed for 69 yards on 11 carries in the first half with several big runs on third down. The Cowboys' front seven was pushed around by the Vikings' offensive line in the first half.

Running game looks pretty good: Felix Jones had just five carries, but he gained 20 yards, including a 5-yard touchdown run. Jones looked good in hitting the holes, making defenders miss, breaking tackles and reading his blocks. If there were any questions about Jones' abilities to take over the lead role for Marion Barber, they should have been answered this preseason. Now all that's left for the Cowboys to do is settle on the fourth running back spot, if they want to have one. Tashard Choice and DeMarco Murray both ran well Saturday night. Phillip Tanner was on the field before Lonyae Miller for the first time this preseason. Tanner is ahead of Miller on the depth chart, and if he plays well on special teams he could make the 53-man roster.

Injury report: Cornerback Alan Ball, who was performing well in the preseason, suffered an elbow injury in the first half and didn't return. Ball returned a blocked field goal 20 yards for a touchdown. Also, tight end Martellus Bennett injured his right ankle late in the third quarter. He couldn't put any weight on the ankle and needed to be helped from the field.

Rapid Reaction: Jaguars 35, Cowboys 17

October, 31, 2010

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Cowboys are off to one of their worst starts in franchise history. The Jacksonville Jaguars beat up the Cowboys to the tune of a 35-17 victory at Cowboys Stadium on Sunday.

The Cowboys have issues on run defense, run offense and pass defense, and you have to wonder if the players are tuning out coach Wade Phillips.

What does it mean? Dallas' loss pushed it to 1-6 on the season and 0-4 at Cowboys Stadium. This is one of the worst starts for the first two months of the season in franchise history. Dallas started 1-6 in the 1963 season and 0-6 in 1960. A more recent bad start was 0-8 in 1989.

Jon Kitna gets the start: Making his first start since the 2008 season, Jon Kitna was picked off four times with no touchdown passes in the loss. Kitna completed 34-of-49 passes for 379 yards. His quarterback rating was 64.9. Kitna could have had five picks, but a penalty negated another interception.

Run defense: The Cowboys have struggled to stop the run. Maurice Jones-Drew rushed 27 times for 135 yards. It marked the fourth time this season the Cowboys have allowed a runner to gain at least 100 yards in a game. Dallas gave up 200 rushing yards in the loss to the New York Giants.

Health issues: Cornerback Terence Newman didn't finish the game because of an apparent injury to his ribs, bruised in the Monday night loss to the Giants. Also, running back Felix Jones suffered a bruised left forearm; X-rays were negative and he did finish the game.

Phil Costa starts at left guard: With Kyle Kosier out with ankle problems, Phil Costa got the start and struggled most of the afternoon. Costa was slow getting to his blocks when he had to pull and didn't have any power at the line of scrimmage.

What's next? Does it matter? The Cowboys visit Green Bay next Sunday.

Rapid Reaction: Bears 27, Cowboys 20

September, 19, 2010

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Cowboys suffered a damaging 27-20 loss Sunday to the Chicago Bears. The side note of all this is the Cowboys have now lost their two home openers at Cowboys Stadium.

Now, for the game action:

What it means: The Cowboys are 0-2 for the first time since 2001. Only 13 percent of teams that have started 0-2 since 1990 have reached the postseason. There have been three teams starting 0-2 the last two seasons that have made the postseason -- Miami, Minnesota and San Diego.

Tomorrow's talker: What will Wade Phillips say after this bad loss? It's one thing to lose the first game in December, but another to try and bounce back from a 0-2 hole to start the season. It appears the Cowboys have some major injuries among their starters, and the waiver wire is going to be looked at.

Injury of note: Tight end Jason Witten was knocked out of the game with 8:40 to play when his head hit the turf after he made a 23-yard reception. Wide receiver Dez Bryant left the game briefly with a leg injury, suffered on punt return. Cornerback Mike Jenkins was hurt with 5:35 to play in the fourth quarter when he was blocked by Bears receiver Johnny Knox.

Hero and Goat: It would appear many goats and no heros after a loss like this. The goat is kicker David Buehler. He missed two field goals, including a potential game-tying 44-yarder with 7:37 to play in the game. Miles Austin and Jason Witten failed to bring in passes that led to interceptions, and Roy E. Williams' fumble with 4:30 to play sealed the victory.

What's next: The Houston Texans are poised to take over the AFC South and host the Cowboys at Reliant Stadium. For the Texans, this game is their Super Bowl every year, but for the Cowboys' its just another game. Now with the Cowboys at 0-2, it would seem the Cowboys need to play like it's a Super Bowl.