Editors comment: Dallas’ simplified, workload reducing KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) offense turned complex with Romo audibles.
It was a wild one on Sunday in Baltimore, but the Dallas Cowboys fell short against the Ravens, 31-29, to fall to 2-3 on the season.
The Ravens jumped out to a 3-0 lead on their first drive, with a 38-yard field goal from Justin Tucker, but Dallas answered in short order, driving 80 yards on eight plays on their first offensive possession. Felix Jones capped the drive with a 22-yard touchdown run to give Dallas the lead at 7-3.
Dan Bailey added a field goal early in the second quarter to extend the Dallas lead to 10-3, and everything looked fine. Then, the penalties started.
The Ravens drove 80 yards in eight plays, helped along by a neutral zone infraction by Jason Hatcher and an illegal hands to the face call on Kenyon Coleman. On the play after the call on Coleman, Ray Rice ran it in for a touchdown, to tie it up at 10-10.
Tony Romo threw his ninth interception of the year on Dallas’ next drive, and Baltimore capitalized on it, once again going 80 yards on eight plays and scoring on a 19-yard pass from Joe Flacco to Torrey Smith to make it 17-10 going into intermission.
The Cowboys went out and got on the board straight away in the second half, with a Bailey field goal cutting the Baltimore lead to 17-13. But like they did all day, the Ravens answered, and quickly.
Jacoby Jones ran the ensuing kickoff back 108 yards for a touchdown to make it 24-13, Baltimore. It was the longest kickoff return allowed by Dallas in their 50-plus year history as a franchise.
Dez Bryant caught his first touchdown of the season late in the third quarter, and with Bailey’s third field goal of the day, Dallas was just a point behind Baltimore, 24-23, with eight minutes left in the game. But the defense, which had been nothing short of impressive in the second half to that point, was unable to hold up. Baltimore chewed up a little under four minutes on the ensuing drive, and Rice scored his second one-yard touchdown run of the day to once again extend the lead, 31-23.
Needing a touchdown and a two point conversion to tie, the Cowboys marched 80 yards down the field (despite another handful of penalties), eventually scoring on Romo’s second touchdown pass to Bryant on the day. However, when Romo went back to Bryant on the two-point try, the pass bounced off Bryant’s arms.
Down 31-29, the drama still wasn’t over. Dallas recovered the onside kick and appeared in good position to get a play off before attempting the field goal. But after a short pass to Bryant, Dallas was forced to call their last timeout and line up for a 51-yard field goal try. Bailey pulled the attempt left, though, sealing a wild loss for Dallas, 31-29.
At 2-3, Dallas will travel to Carolina to take on the Panthers next Sunday.
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