Daily Archives: December 17th, 2012

SIDELINE MEDIA CIRCUS: Teammates brought Josh Brent to game; he went home to avoid distraction

Dallas Cowboys nose tackle Josh Brent on sidelines vs Pittsburgh Steelers 2012 - The Boys Are Back blog

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Monday that the Cowboys were unaware that inactive defensive lineman Josh Brent would attend Sunday’s game against the Steelers at Cowboys Stadium.

Teammates urged Brent, who had been scheduled to start against the Bengals, to attend, Garrett said.

Also Monday, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said Brent went home after he became aware he was being shown on television at Sunday’s game and perhaps becoming a distraction.

“The last thing he wants to do is be a distraction,” Jones said Monday on KRLD 105.3 FM “The Fan.” “He got word that he was showing up on television, and he made the decision that he was going to go home.”

Brent’s presence on the sideline became a topic of discussion among some fans and media during Sunday’s game. CBS analyst Boomer Esiason said it was a “disgrace” for the Cowboys to have him on the sideline during the game.

Stephen Jones said Monday that Josh Brent went home after he learned he was on TV during Sunday's game - The Boys Are Back blog

The team has taken to heart the words of Brown’s mother to support Brent.

“I think what happened is Josh had planned not to be there,” Jones said. “It was our understanding a few of his teammates who are on injured reserve had gone by to get him, to try to keep his spirits up, and obviously came to the game.”

Jones was asked if Brent will be on the sideline at the next game, Sunday when the Cowboys play host to the New Orleans Saints.

“Well, I don’t want to speculate,” Jones said. “Obviously, Josh is certainly aware of the situation. It’s certainly not an easy one.

"Everybody is mourning the loss of Jerry Brown and wants to honor and celebrate his life. Certainly Josh knows where that is, and the last thing he wants to be is a distraction. It’s something that Josh is going to have to endure for the rest of his life. We’ll just see how things go.”

RELATED: Cowboys will be more sensitive to public appearances by Josh Brent

Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said the team will continue to support Josh Brent but that it will be more sensitive to his public appearances with the team.

“It becomes a very sensitive topic to a lot of people when you are in a public place like the game, and there were no bad intentions other than to support Josh, a part of our football team,” Garrett said Monday at his press conference at Valley Ranch.

Brent’s presence on the sideline at Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh sparked some criticism on social media and among fans and observers. Namely, CBS analyst Boomer Esiason called it a “disgrace.”

Garrett said the Cowboys will think about how to deal with that situation next week.

“I thought Josh handled it beautifully,” Garrett said of the player’s visit to the sideline. “He came, and when he felt like there were some issues, he felt like the right thing to do was to leave. But we’re going to support him in every way that we can. We’ll also be sensitive to this kind of an issue.”

Garrett said he did not know Brent was going to be at the game, although he had talked to him on the phone the previous day. He said he learned that the players encouraged Brent to come to the game.

“That was a result of the wishes of Jerry Brown’s mom, who stood before us at the memorial on Tuesday and really encouraged everybody and almost made a plea to everybody to keep Josh in our family and keep him close and support him in every way that we can,” Garrett said. “And the players really took that upon themselves to say, ‘Hey, Josh, you need to be here at this game.’ That was something that they felt was really, really important. Encouraged him to do that. It turned into a little something that maybe a lot of people didn’t exactly expect.

“We’re trying to handle it day by day and work our way through it. We’ll have some more discussions about that going forward.”

Brent left in the third quarter when he learned that his presence on the sideline was causing a stir.

FROM DYNASTY TO DESTINY: Dallas Cowboys persevering spirit helps them beat Steelers in OT

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) catches a touchdown pass in front of Pittsburgh Steelers - The Boys Are Back blog

ARLINGTON — The Dallas Cowboys still aren’t a pretty football team.

They remain injury-riddled and mistake-prone at times.

But they have proven to have a persevering spirit that has been tested on and off the field through triumph and tragedy.

Now — after the Cowboys rallied to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-24 in overtime before 95,595 fans at Cowboys Stadium — they might be destined as well.

Cornerback Brandon Carr’s interception off Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and 36-yard return two plays into overtime set up Dan Bailey’s game-winning kick from 21 yards out.

Dallas Cowboys Josh Brent, right, on the sidelines with teammates vs Pittsburgh Steelers 2012 - The Boys Are Back blog

It was the Cowboys’ third consecutive win — the second since practice squad linebacker Jerry Brown was killed in a one-car accident and nose tackle Josh Brent was charged with intoxication manslaughter. Dallas also beat Cincinnati on a last-second kick by Bailey less than 24 hours after learning about the tragedy.

It was the fifth win in their past six games for the Cowboys, once a disappointing mess at 3-5 but now in a first-place tie in the NFC East and in control of their playoff destiny.

The Cowboys (8-6) are tied atop the division with the New York Giants and Washington Redskins. They would win the NFC East title if they win their remaining two games against the New Orleans Saints at Cowboys Stadium on Sunday and at the Redskins in the season finale Dec. 30.

Pittsburgh Steelers strong safety Will Allen (26) brings down Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dwayne Harris - The Boys Are Back blog

"Again, this bunch wouldn’t, just would not quit," an ecstatic owner Jerry Jones said about his Cowboys, who won on a fourth-quarter or overtime comeback for the fifth time season — a complete opposite of last year, when they lost five games after blowing fourth-quarter leads.

"I’m just impressed," Jones said. "On top of that, dealing with the with the kinds of things we’ve been dealing with, I give them [credit], but I also give [coach] Jason [Garrett] a lot of credit in keeping everybody’s eye on the ball and at the same time understanding what the important thing is, and that’s to honor Jerry Brown’s life and support each other during this tough time."

The Cowboys got the win with Brent on their sideline. He is out on bail while awaiting his trial. Garrett said the Cowboys asked Brent to be there and they followed the lead of Brown’s mother, who pleaded with them to continue to support him.

Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten (82) and his teammates wore a number 53 sticker on their helmets in honor Jerry Brown Jr. - The Boys Are Back blog

It’s that same support that the Cowboys have shown for each other during adverse times since the beginning of the season that has sparked the recent winning streak. It continued to play a huge role on Sunday when the Steelers took a 24-17 lead in the fourth quarter, much to the delight of a large, boisterous clan of Steelers fans at Cowboys Stadium.

A Cowboys team playing without seven defensive regulars, including six starters, because of injury, refused to lose.

A potentially back-breaking 22-yard punt return by Steelers receiver Antonio Brown early in the fourth quarter became a Cowboys break when linebacker Victor Butler forced a fumble and tight end John Phillips recovered at the Steelers’ 44.

Quarterback Tony Romo started off with a 13-yard pass to receiver Dez Bryant, who played with a fractured index finger and scored in the third quarter. He then found tight end Jason Witten for 9 yards and receiver Dwayne Harris for 17, setting up a 3-yard touchdown run by DeMarco Murray.

Dallas Cowboys outside linebacker Anthony Spencer (93) celebrates sacking Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger - The Boys Are Back blog

The Cowboys’ defense sacked Roethlisberger three times in the fourth quarter, with 1 1/2 by Anthony Spencer, setting up Carr’s final heroics.

"It was just reaction and instinct," said Carr, who also keyed the win last week at Cincinnati with an interception. "That’s how the whole season has been. We just keep fighting."

DECEMBER TO REMEMBER: Dallas Cowboys continue turnaround after years of struggling late in season

Dallas Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey (5) looks at his teammates after his winning kick sailed through the uprights - The Boys Are Back blog

With the team’s 27-24 overtime win over Pittsburgh, Dallas is 3-0 in December and has assured itself of a winning record in that month for the first time since the 2001 season. That represents a marked turnaround for a franchise with a combined mark of 26-39 in December games for the past 15 seasons, including this year’s 3-0 stretch.

“This has been particularly gratifying,” said owner Jerry Jones, who has seen the surge elevate the Cowboys (8-6) into a share of first place in the NFC East. “We’ve thought we’ve had some pretty good teams that might not have not have had a winning December.”

But it is this team, which has 12 players on injured reserve and another (NT Jay Ratliff) who will not return unless the team makes the playoffs, that has found a way to get on a roll in the final month of the regular season. Dallas is 5-1 in its last six games, with the lone loss coming against Washington, 38-31, on Thanksgiving Day.

"We’re battling and peaking," said quarterback Tony Romo. "If you find ways to win, it’s a great thing … We need name tags (because of excessive roster turnover). A couple of the guys earlier, I said, ‘Great job, No. 20.’ I know his name is (Michael) Coe now. But there are a bunch of guys who just got here that are playing and getting a bunch of minutes.

"We got in a hole early (with a 3-5 start). From that point on, you feel like every game you’re playing in is for your playoff life. So, our team has had to have that attitude and we’ve taken that approach. We will continue to do that."

CARDIAC COWBOYS: Five fourth-quarter comebacks

Dallas Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey (5) watches his winning kick sail through the uprights - The Boys Are Back blog

What a difference a year makes: The Dallas Cowboys blew five fourth-quarter leads last season. This season, they have had five fourth-quarter comebacks.

Dallas rallied again Sunday against the Steelers, down 24-17 in the fourth quarter. They scored a tying touchdown with 6:55 remaining in regulation and then won on a 21-yard Dan Bailey field goal only 39 seconds into overtime.

They also had fourth-quarter comebacks against the Panthers, Browns, Eagles and Cincinnati. And in the road game against the Eagles, the Cowboys were tied 17-17 going into the fourth quarter.

"We just put our heads down and go to work," Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo said. "At the end of the day, whether we are down three, whether we are tied, whether we are down 10, we are just going to battle and fight to get the job done. By no means has it been pretty over the last six or seven games, but I do know that our football knows it can compete and win late in football games. We believe we are going to go down and score or get a stop late."

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