Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo
Mr. Randy Galloway and Mac Engel debate the reasons for the Dallas Cowboys’ recent roll. Is it Tony Romo? DeMarco Murray? Or the quality of the opposition? (Nov. 22, 2011) Video by Kathy Vetter/Star-Telegram
ARLINGTON — Seemingly overmatched and definitely outplayed in so many areas, including the defensive front, the secondary, the offensive line, and on top of all that, the quarterback throws a couple of what-the-heck-was- that picks to start the game.
There were obviously more than enough butt-whippings on Thanksgiving afternoon for the Cowboys to end up a cooked turkey.
“A lot of things on this tape we aren’t going to like,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said.
Actually, it’s a game tape that would be better off torched.
But NFL rules say that after 60 minutes of clock time, you add up the points for both teams, and…
Cowboys win this thing. Win it 20-19 over Miami at the final gun on a 28-yard chip-shot field goal from Dan Bailey.
“The best thing we did was play with will,” added Garrett.
OK, Coach. That’s an acceptable answer.
A will to eventually win, no matter what, showed up twice in four days, fueling a four-game win streak, and a 7-4 record that tops the NFC East.
But with the Cowboys a divisional leader, let’s just say the Dolphins left The Big Yard on Thursday afternoon looking like the best 3-8 club maybe ever in the NFL.
“There will be stories written and there will be people talking about this game, but in the end, it was a win,” said quarterback Tony Romo, who had a huge bounce-back from an awful beginning.
That W wasn’t going to happen unless, (1) the Cowboys’ defense finally got a late stop, which seemed doubtful after the Dolphins had grinded out points — a touchdown and two field goals — on three long and clock-eating second-half drives; and (2), Romo could spark something on offense.
The defensive stand finally came with three minutes left and the Cowboys down 19-17. But in honesty, Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore flat missed an open Davone Bess on third down, throwing the pass behind him.
Moore, the Cowboys’ roster reject from four seasons ago, also contributed to the Cowboys’ cause by muffing a shotgun snap late in the first half, setting up a Cowboys touchdown at the Miami 5-yard line. But he came out in the second half on fire, with his receivers also causing whiplash in the Cowboys’ struggling secondary.
One big Moore misfire, however, provided late hope, plus Dez Bryant showed up on the field as the return man. Finally, there was somebody back there who could actually produce positive yardage. Dez took a booming punt (56 yards) back 20 yards for a spark.
Romo set up at his own 36-yard line with 2:59 remaining.
The eventual play of the game came on a second-and-10. After the snap, everything that could go wrong unfolded. Miami cornerback Will Allen blitzed off the corner, and no one touched him.
“The guy came free and we can’t account for him,” said Romo, plus the intended receiver, Kevin Ogletree, wasn’t open on the hot read.
That was big minus yardage waiting to happen on a sack.
“I don’t know what I did there; I did some sort of shimmy or something and was able to buy an extra second,” Romo said.
Before Allen could wrap him up, Romo saw Jason Witten open on a broken play, and seeing Witten open was a rare sight on this afternoon. Romo delivered a perfect throw and Witten rumbled for 23 yards, only his third catch of the day.
With the ball at the Miami 41, now it was nearing Bailey time. After Witten caught the next pass for 6 yards, it was also DeMarco Murray time.
Shut down for the most of the day, DeMarco and the offensive line found new life, or as Garrett would say, they found “will.”
Murray started to grind on the Dolphins, grind on the clock, and grind Miami into using its final two timeouts. When the ball reached the 8-yard line, the Cowboys could let the clock hit three seconds, before Bailey came on to deliver the game-winner.
Romo’s ugly start, however, meant a personal regrouping had to occur very early. “Emotionally, it’s tough when you throw a pick, much less two, early in the game,” he said. “I work very hard at being able to keep going. Keep going mentally and emotionally, stay sharp and execute the next play going forward. But the emotional part is hard to maintain.”
Compounding Romo’s situation was the dominance of the Miami defense. On a second-half touchdown drive for the Cowboys that covered 77 yards, Romo completed two passes while being hit or pulled down.
Then on his 18-yard touchdown throw to that clutch man, Laurent Robinson, it was another case of moving left out of the collapsing pocket, and while on the run nailing Robinson, who had streaked across the back of the end zone, doing what he’s consistently done in recognizing and extending his route on a broken play.
“First off, that’s a heck of a defensive unit,” Romo said of the Dolphins. “I felt like 90 percent of the throws, guys were right on the hip of our guys.”
In a span of four days, going back to Washington on Sunday, you could say the opposition won more of the positional battles than the Cowboys. But in the end, of course, it doesn’t matter as long as the scoreboard win eventually happened.
Torch this tape and take home the W. That’s the sweat-fest bottom line for Thanksgiving afternoon.
Courtesy: Randy Galloway | Ft. Worth Star Telegram
Randy Galloway can be heard weekdays 3-6 p.m. on Galloway & Co. on ESPN/103.3 FM.