Sunday, October 21, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Cowboys 19, Panthers 14
By Calvin Watkins
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Dallas Cowboys ended their two-game losing streak, hanging on Sunday afternoon for an ugly 19-14 victory over the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium.
As Carolina tried to salvage the game with a last-second drive, quarterback Cam Newton fired a fourth-down pass to Louis Murphy. Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne hit Murphy before the ball arrived, but the referees didn't penalize him for pass interference. The crowd of 70,000 voiced its displeasure, but the Cowboys left with a much-needed victory.
What it means: The Cowboys ended a two-game losing streak and saved their season by moving to 3-3. But the win comes at a cost. Inside linebacker Sean Lee and center Phil Costa left the game with injuries. Costa might miss significant time with a right leg injury, and Lee didn't return because of a right big toe injury.
Does Jason Garrett trust the team? It's a call Garrett will be questioned about after the game. Faced with a third-and-9 at the Carolina 15 in the fourth quarter, Garrett came out of a timeout and called for a running play to Phillip Tanner, resulting in a 5-yard gain. Garrett settled for a field goal, made good from 28 yards by Dan Bailey that gave Dallas a 16-14 lead. It was interesting that Garrett didn't try to push the ball toward the end zone. On the second-down play, quarterback Tony Romo fired a pass to wide receiver Dez Bryant that was dropped in the end zone. Bryant complained to referees about holding, and there was some, but it was his fifth dropped pass of the season.
Claiborne makes a pick: The Cowboys' secondary got its first interception of the season when Claiborne intercepted a Newton pass in the end zone. The interception was Claiborne's first of his career. The Cowboys have two interceptions this season, with Lee having the other. It was the first pick by a secondary player in the last 333 passing attempts. Orlando Scandrick was the last cornerback to pick off a pass, occurring last year at Washington.
The loss of Costa: As the Panthers were returning a Miles Austin fumble, Costa suffered a nasty right ankle injury. Costa was on the ground for several moments and needed a cart to be taken off the field. Several players, including Jay Ratliff, Felix Jones and Orlando Scandrick offered support. Garrett came out and slapped Costa in the chest and shook his hand. Costa's season has been up and down due to injury. He lasted just three plays before reinjuring his back in the season opener, but he returned after missing three games. With this latest injury, it seems Costa will be out for a significant period of time. Ryan Cook took over for Costa. If Costa is out for the season, the Cowboys might sign another center/guard.
Injuries: The Cowboys lost Costa, and Lee left the game with a right big toe injury. Bryant also missed a few snaps after getting shaken up.
What's next? The Cowboys will host the New York Giants next week. The Giants are 3-0 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.