Monthly Archives: November, 2013

REPORT FULL OF WHAT-IF’S: Aaron Rodgers might not face the Dallas Cowboys

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When Green Bay visits Dallas on Dec. 15, it could be a crucial game for the Cowboys’ playoff hopes.

And the Packers might come to Texas without their star quarterback.

REPORT FULL OF WHAT-IF’S - Aaron Rodgers might not face the Dallas Cowboys - Rodgers in love with Vick - Dallas Cowboys vs. Green Bay Packers

There’s speculation (from the drama queens at NFL.com) that if Aaron Rodgers (collarbone) can’t play next week against Atlanta, Green Bay might shut the quarterback down for the season, if the Packers are out of the playoff race.

Rodgers, who did not play in Thursday’s loss to Detroit, was cleared to practice on a limited basis earlier this week and did some throwing on the field Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Packers are 5-6-1 and in third place in the NFC North.

When asked Friday whether Rodgers has a chance to play against Atlanta, coach Mike McCarthy replied, “I don’t know that.”

“I just know when we came off the field Wednesday that he wasn’t ready to play yet,” McCarthy added. “So, we’ll see how the testing goes. But it needs to be the right thing. I know he wants to play, I know he’s trying to gear up each and every week to play, but we’ll see what happens next week.”

Feeling the sting of the Packers’ most lopsided loss since they fell 35-0 at home against New England in McCarthy’s first season as coach in 2006, at least one frustrated player commented on how much Rodgers has been missed.

REPORT FULL OF WHAT-IF’S - Aaron Rodgers might not face the 2013 2014 Dallas Cowboys - Dallas Cowboys schedule 2013 2014

Green Bay didn’t have a victory in its five November games after Rodgers went out after the first series of the loss to Chicago on Nov. 4. The last time the Packers were winless in a full month of games was December 1990, when they went 0-5.

“It definitely made things a lot more difficult without Aaron,” left guard Josh Sitton said Thursday. “I think we all know that. There’s no denying that. You can’t say, ‘Hey, we can go and play just as good without Aaron.’ We haven’t won a game without him in five weeks. He’s the best player on this team. Yeah, we need him, but there’s a lot more going on than just that.”

COWBOYS POSTGAME INJURY UPDATE: Dallas RB Lance Dunbar will undergo season-ending surgery on his left knee

COWBOYS POSTGAME INJURY UPDATE - Dallas RB Lance Dunbar will undergo season-ending surgery on his left knee - Dallas Cowboys schedule 2013 2014

IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys picked up a much-needed win on Thursday, but it seems like it comes with a price.

Today, the Cowboys learned running back Lance Dunbar, who had a career-high 82 rushing yards in Thursday’s win over the Raiders, will likely be out for the season with a knee injury.

Dunbar is expected to undergo surgery on his left knee. The official injury diagnosis is a posterior lateral corner (Posterolateral Corner) that needs to be repaired.

The loss is a big setback considering how much of a spark Dunbar gave the Dallas Cowboys in their 31-24 Thanksgiving Day win over the Oakland Raiders. While DeMarco Murray found the end zone three times on the ground, it was Dunbar who gave the Cowboys’ offense a much-needed jolt.

Dunbar had 12 carries for 82 yards, including a 45-yard run that set up a touchdown.

But late in the fourth quarter, with the Cowboys trying to grind out the clock, Dunbar was hit in the backfield by a blitzing Raiders cornerback. The second-year running back from North Texas went down immediately holding his left knee. He eventually got up and gingerly walked off the field.

After the game, both owner Jerry Jones and head coach Jason Garrett described it as a hyper-extended left knee. Dunbar said he expected to be “all right” and sounded optimistic for his chances of playing in the next game against Chicago on Dec. 9.

However, today’s MRI revealed more than just a hyper-extension.

Without Dunbar, the Cowboys will likely call on either rookie Joseph Randle or Phillip Tanner to rotate with Murray. 

Before Thursday’s game, Dunbar hadn’t received more than five carries in a game this year. He had three carries for 20 yards the week before in New York and figured to have an increased role in the offense.

That carried over into Thursday’s game, where Dunbar also had a reception for 12 yards.

This injury is just the latest setback for Dunbar, who has had untimely injuries this year. He suffered a foot injury in preseason that sidelined him for Week 1 against the Giants. When he came back in Week 2, he lost a fumble against the Chiefs, which likely kept him from getting extended carries and touches in the later weeks.

He suffered a hamstring injury the week before the Redskins game, where Murray also got hurt. So instead of getting his chance to start with Murray out, Dunbar also sat out the same two games.

But that gave Randle a chance to play, which is something he’ll likely be asked to do more in the final month of the season now.

DALLAS COWBOYS UNIFORMS: Everything ever wanted to know … and more! (UPDATED)

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A popular page on The Boys Are Back website was revised today. Complete with new pictures and updated information. Enjoy!

To check it out, click on the page titled ‘Dallas Cowboys Uniforms” or on the button below:

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Original post from October 12, 2011:

https://theboysareback.wordpress.com/2011/10/12/dallas-cowboy-uniforms-everything-ever-wanted-to-know-and-more/

BEATS THE BUG AND RAIDERS: Flu virus doesn’t stop Tony Romo from second-half perfection

BEATS THE BUG AND RAIDERS - Flu virus doesn’t stop Tony Romo from second-half perfection - Dallas Cowboys schedule 2013 2014 - Dallas Cowboys news

ARLINGTON, Texas – The roof was closed, but Tony Romo was still under the weather in Thursday’s win.

Romo still managed to put together an efficient day despite battling a virus and getting an IV before the game, going 23-of-32 for 225 yards and a touchdown without throwing a pick.

“Just whatever it is, a bug, some shape or form,” Romo said. “You know, you just kind of feel down, but it’s no different than guys playing through pain or anything. It’s just part of football.”

The virus began Wednesday night and Romo woke up feeling sick on the morning of the game. Head coach Jason Garrett said Romo had thrown up and didn’t look great physically before the Thanksgiving Day matchup began.

After a slow start, throwing for 55 yards without a touchdown in the first quarter and throwing for no yards in the second quarter until the two-minute mark, Romo got it going late in the first half. The Cowboys orchestrated an eight-play, 73-yard touchdown drive in 1:46.

BEATS THE BUG AND RAIDERS - Flu virus doesn’t stop Tony Romo from second-half perfection - Dallas Cowboys schedule 2013 2014 - Dallas Cowboys news - Romo sick

“He’s already a beast, then that beast times two comes out,” said Dez Bryant, who finished as the team’s leading receiver in the game. “That’s exactly what he showed. Whenever he’s doing things like that, like I said, it just boosts everyone in this locker room.”

Then Romo carried that to the second half, when he was a perfect 12-for-12. It’s the third time in his career that he’s completed all of his second-half passes and the first since December 2012 against the Eagles.

“We talked about the great Joe Montana story in the Cotton Bowl,” Garrett said. “We didn’t actually get him the chicken soup, but we tried to get a little drama going so maybe he would respond to it. I think as much as anything else, when he got going out there he started feeling good, particularly in that drive before the half, and I think it carried into the second half.”

Romo downplayed the significance of the virus come game time. He said he took “a bunch of stuff” from the doctors but that it was no big deal. He said with a smile that he’d try to go eat something after the Thanksgiving game.

“This is the NFL,” Romo said. “You play through everything. Guys play through a lot worse, I can promise you that.”

BEATS THE BUG AND RAIDERS - Flu virus doesn’t stop Tony Romo from second-half perfection - Dallas Cowboys schedule 2013 2014 - Dallas Cowboys news - Tony Romo Jerry Jones lockerroom Stephen Jones

COWBOYS VS. RAIDERS POSTGAME: Press conferences and NFL highlights video | Oakland Raiders at Dallas Cowboys | 2013-2014 NFL Season – Game 12 of 16

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First Take – Dallas Cowboys vs. Oakland Raiders game from AT&T Stadium  (3:25)

First impressions of the Dallas Cowboys victory over the Oakland Raiders. (Watch | Listen)


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Jason Garrett Postgame Press Conference (11:03)

Jason Garrett speaks to the media following the Dallas Cowboys victory over the Oakland Raiders at AT&T Stadium. (Watch Video | Play Audio)


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Tony Romo Postgame Press Conference (6:19)

Tony Romo speaks to the media following the Dallas Cowboys victory over the Oakland Raiders at AT&T Stadium. (Watch Video | Play Audio)


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Raiders vs. Cowboys Highlights (3:48)

Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys overcame an early deficit to defeat the Oakland Raiders in Week 13. Tony Romo improves to 6-1 on Thanksgiving Day. (Watch Video | No Audio)


HAPPY THANKSGIVING DAY FROM THE ROMO FAMILY

HAPPY THANKSGIVING DAY FROM THE ROMO FAMILY - Tony Romo Candice Romo Hawkins Romo - Dallas Cowboys

Tony Romo has plenty of reasons to be thankful on Thanksgiving.

The Dallas Cowboys quarterback has a beautiful wife and son. During the game, CBS showed a Happy Thanksgiving message from the good-looking family of Tony, Hawkins and Candice.

They won’t be a threesome for long. Back in August, Romo said he had a second child on way. The couple was married in May of 2011.

2013-2014 GAME 12 RECAP: Dallas Cowboys bounce Oakland Raiders with 31-24 win

2013-2014 GAME 12 RECAP - Dallas Cowboys bounce Oakland Raiders with 31-24 win - Dallas Cowboys schedule 2013 2014 - Dallas Cowboys news

ARLINGTON, Texas — A few thoughts on the Dallas Cowboys’ 31-24 win against the Oakland Raiders tonight.

What it means for the Cowboys: Things started poorly when Terrance Williams fumbled the opening kickoff and Greg Jenkins returned it 23 yards for a score just 12 seconds into the game.

It was the quickest touchdown given up by the Cowboys in their history, but they were able to overcome a 14-point second-quarter deficit to take sole possession of first place in the NFC East with the win.

At 7-5, the Cowboys lead the division by a half-game over the Philadelphia Eagles (6-5) and are two games over .500 for the first time this season and the first time since Week 15 last season when they moved to 8-6.

The Dallas Cowboys will enter December with control of their fate and on a little bit of a roll. Tony Romo threw a touchdown pass in the 25th straight game and improved to 6-1 on Thanksgiving for his career.

Stock watch: Lance Dunbar, rising. Needing a boost, the Cowboys found it in Dunbar, the second-year running back from North Texas. He had 78 yards rushing in the third quarter that set up touchdowns by Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray. He finished the game with 82 yards and was knocked out of the game in the fourth quarter with a left knee injury.

Defense turns it around: Struggling is nothing new for the Cowboys’ defense, but the Raiders had their way with them in the first half. In putting up 21 points, Oakland gained 185 yards and converted on four of seven third-down opportunities.

The saving grace was a fumbled snap by Matt McGloin that Kyle Wilber recovered at the Oakland 3 that the Cowboys turned into a touchdown.

In the second half, things were much improved. The Raiders had one first down and just 25 yards to start the second half as the Cowboys tied the game in the third quarter and took the lead for good on the second play of the fourth quarter.

Cornerback Brandon Carr rebounded from a poor first half to intercept McGloin on an underthrown ball in the end zone to Jacoby Ford. The Cowboys turned that into a clinching Dan Bailey field goal with 1:56 to play.

Finding the end zone: DeMarco Murray might have been surpassed as the star of the ground game by Lance Dunbar, but he contributed the first three-touchdown game of his career.

The last Cowboys running back with three rushing touchdowns in the same game was Julius Jones, who had three in a 43-39 win against the Seattle Seahawks on Dec. 6, 2004.

The Cowboys have nine rushing touchdowns on the season. A modest total, but the most they have had since 2010 when they had 10.

What’s next: The Dallas Cowboys have a mini-bye of sorts until the play again on Dec. 9 at the Chicago Bears. While winning the NFC East is the best and easiest way to make the playoffs, if the Cowboys want to have any wild-card hopes they almost have to win this game.


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LISTEN LIVE–RIGHT NOW: Dallas Cowboys vs. Oakland Raiders postgame show | The Dallas Cowboys Radio Network

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NFL GAMEDAY RESOURCES: 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys vs. Oakland Raiders–Thanksgiving Day 2013

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The Dallas Cowboys didn’t have much time to savor their victory over the New York Giants on Sunday. The Thanksgiving showdown with the 4-7 Raiders awaits them. Dallas has a chance to win two consecutive games for only the second time this season. And with a challenging December schedule to navigate the Cowboys know they have to finish November on a positive note. The new-look Raiders, with Matt McGloin starting at quarterback, don’t figure the Cowboys too many problems. But Dallas (6-5) has struggled to rise above .500 in recent seasons. Here is a look at how the Dallas Cowboys and Oakland Raiders match up:

When the Cowboys run

The Cowboys produced a better rushing effort against the Giants, gaining more than 100 yards in a game for only the second time this season. But Dallas’ ground attack is far from reliable and Oakland has one of the best run defenses in the NFL. The Raiders are conceding only 3.76 yards per carry and Andre Brown of the New York Giants is the only player to gain more than 100 rushing yards against them this season.

Edge: Raiders

When the Cowboys pass

Oakland spent the off-season revamping its secondary, drafting DJ Hayden and acquiring Charles Woodson, Tracy Porter as well as ex-Cowboys cornerback Mike Jenkins. But the Raiders are giving up 258.1 passing yards – the eighth-highest average in the NFL. Tony Romo, who rediscovered his connection with Dez Bryant in the victory over the New York Giants, should have no problem dissecting the Raiders’ defense.

Edge: Cowboys

When the Raiders run

The Raiders’ rushing attack changed when Oakland made a switch at quarterback. The decision to replace zone-read specialist Terrelle Pryor with dropback passer Matt McGloin earlier this month gave the offense a new look. Pryor was the second-leading rusher on a team averaging 140.6 yards on the ground – the fourth-highest average in the NFL. Still, Oakland should be able to attack a Cowboys run defense yielding 133.6 yards per game. Only two teams are giving up a higher average.

Edge: Raiders

When the Raiders pass

In his first two NFL starts, Matt McGloin has been solid but unspectacular. While he’s only completed 58 percent of his attempts, he’s avoided mistakes, throwing one interception versus four touchdown passes. McGloin doesn’t have many weapons. Oakland’s top wideout, Rod Streater, is ranked 35th in the NFL in receiving yards. The Cowboys, who have the second-worst pass defense, could author another strong performance after shutting down Eli Manning and Co. on Sunday.

Edge: Cowboys

Special teams

The absence of Dwayne Harris, who has a hamstring injury, will hurt the Cowboys’ return game. Harris, after all, was a threat any time he handled a kickoff or fielded a punt. But Dallas still has Dan Bailey, who established a club record when he made his eighth game-winning field goal in his career last Sunday against the Giants. Bailey, who has converted 90 percent of his tries this season, has the edge over Oakland counterpart Sebastian Janikowski. The veteran Janikowski has the second-lowest field-goal accuracy rate among NFL kickers.

Edge: Cowboys

Intangibles

A big victory over the New York Giants has given the Cowboys a much-needed boost of confidence. Dallas knows it can’t afford to lose the momentum it gained last Sunday, especially with a Monday night showdown with Chicago looming on the schedule. The Cowboys, who haven’t lost two consecutive Thanksgiving Day games since 2000 and 2001, should have the mental edge against the Raiders. Oakland, after all, is recovering from a last-minute loss to Tennessee on Sunday.

Edge: Cowboys

GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Trackers and Scoreboards

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View NFL | Dallas Cowboys game stats and scores online while you watch or listen to the game.

Click HERE to choose from a list of popular online game trackers.

GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Sounds of the game

Listen to the “Voice of the Dallas Cowboys” Brad Sham on KRLD in Dallas.

The Dallas Cowboys Radio Network - 105_3 The Fan KRLD

Click HERE. Don’t live in the Dallas area? Click HERE.

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or listen via the Dallas Cowboys Android App on your phone or tablet

GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Watch the game

To watch on network TV, tune to:

KTVT-TV/11 Dallas | KPIX-TV/5 Oakland

Out of market? Click HERE to watch online (NFL Sunday Ticket)

When: Sunday, November 10th, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. (Dallas time)

Where: AT&T Stadium | Arlington, TX

Watch on TV: Local CBS affiliate | DirecTV

GAMEDAY RESOURCES: The Boys Are Back

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Check back here for Dallas Cowboys box scores and stats, NFL and Dallas Cowboys videos, Dallas Cowboys pictures, gameday highlights, gameday resources, game recaps, interesting articles, and the latest Dallas Cowboys information all season long.

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Enjoy the game!

GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Dallas Cowboys pregame/postgame shows

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Note: The pregame show starts about two hours before kickoff. The postgame show starts approximately 30 minutes after the game is over.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING DAY!

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WORLDWIDE EXCLUSIVE: The Great Robbini’s predictions for Game #12 | 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys vs. Oakland Raiders

The GREAT Robbini deep in his Crystal Ball trance - The Boys Are Back blog 2013Regular readers know that The Boys Are Back website features the ALMOST WORLD FAMOUS predictions from The GREAT Robbini. Last week, our “exalted one” predicted a big NFC East win … and was correct!

This week, The GREAT Robbini expects our weary 53 to outpace the traveling Raiders from Oakland. Personally, I think that mental state will show it’s ugly head until it becomes clear who will walk away with this win.  It should come down to the team that was best prepared in the short week and the team that had something positive to build on from the previous game. Dallas won, thereby solidifying the bye week changes. Oakland hosted and lost to a gritty Tennessee Titans team. The Raiders are coming into AT&T Stadium mentally demoralized.

The GREAT ONE was able to sit down and put a seriously powerful rub on his magic ball. I’m told it was so vigorous, that his ball actually emitted images of a very disappointed Al Davis. He got the distinct message that “It’s bad to bleed silver and black … when this is the year that the boys are back!” Obviously, he’s psyched about the Dallas Cowboys – Oakland Raiders vibe … and ready to share his prognostications that we all count on from week-to-week. Without further delay, it’s time for The GREAT Robbini’s predictions …

The GREAT Robbini’s – 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys game #12 predictions:

Well, here’s something to be thankful for. Its only been 4 days since watching the ‘Boys take out the trash, and take back the division. Here we are again, so soon.

Well, its not going to be quite as impressive looking on either side of the ball with such a quick turnaround. At times I think the players will appear as dizzy and sluggish as most of you sat on the couch, pants unbuttoned … moaning, groaning … picking food out of your mustache. It ain’t gonna be pretty. Thankful as we are for more football, and another heavy dose of Dallas Cowboys, these teams are just waiting to get this one done and into the history books. Expect plenty of missed tackles, dropped balls, and a false start or two. These men are tired. Ready to head home, hug those loved ones and maybe get some of those cold turkey leftovers.

That being said, expect a much more raucous home crowd than last year, and an ultimately more jubilant Cowboys team here, thanks to a confidence boosting performance in New Jersey. That and the knowledge of a ten day break headed their way. Yes, The Cowboys are giving us yet another thing to be thankful for. A turkey day win in AT&T Stadium.

Predictions for the Texas 2 Defense …

  • Carter lead tackles
  • 3 takeaways
  • 4 sacks on Mclovin’
  • 2 sacks Hatcher
  • 1 sack Ware
  • Carr Interception

Oakland Raiders QB Matt McGloin McLovin will face the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day 2013

Predictions for the offense …

  • Romo 300 yds.
  • Bryant Touchdown
  • Williams Touchdown
  • Austin Touchdown
  • Murray/Dunbar 135 all purpose yards
  • Austin 60 yards
  • Dez 80 yards
  • Williams 60 yards
  • Witten 55 yards
  • Cowboys receive second half kick

 

The GREAT Robbini

Remember, you read it here! The Great Robbini predictions for game #12. Feel free to leave your final score or predictions in the comment section.


Stats and predictions to be confirmed by:

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AROUND THE NFL: Leader of the Navajo Code Talkers defends Redskins name

AROUND THE NFL - Leader of the Navajo Code Talkers defends Redskins name

Navajo Code Talkers Attend Game

The Legendary Navajo Code Talkers attended the Monday night game at FedExField, here is a tribute. (Watch Video | Play Audio)

A leader of the Navajo Code Talkers who appeared at a Washington Redskins home football game said Wednesday the team name is a symbol of loyalty and courage — not a slur as asserted by critics who want it changed.

Roy Hawthorne, 87, of Lupton, Ariz., was one of four Code Talkers honored for their service in World War II during the Monday night game against the San Francisco 49ers.

Hawthorne, vice president of the Navajo Code Talkers Association, said the group’s trip was paid for by the Redskins. The four men met briefly with team owner Dan Snyder but did not discuss the name, Hawthorne said. Still, he said he would endorse the name if asked, and the televised appearance in which three of the Indians wore Redskins jackets spoke for itself.

“We didn’t have that in mind but that is undoubtedly what we did do,” Hawthorne said when asked if he was intending to send a statement with the appearance. “My opinion is that’s a name that not only the team should keep, but that’s a name that’s American.”

Monday night’s brief, on-field ceremony came as some Indians and civil rights leaders wage a “Change the Mascot” campaign that targets the term redskins as a racial epithet.

Jacqueline Pata, head of the National Congress of American Indians, called the appearance “a political play rather than a heartfelt recognition of the Code Talkers.”

Pata, a member of the Tlingit Tribe of Alaska, said she reveres the Code Talkers for the work they have done but added that people often fail to recognize that the origins of the term “redskin” date to a period when Indians faced efforts to annihilate their culture.

“We were outlawed during that same period the mascot was created from practicing our own religion and our own cultures,” she said. “That term is associated with getting rid of the Indians.”

Snyder has called the team name and mascot a “badge of honor.” The name dates to the team’s first years in Boston in the 1930s and has survived numerous outside efforts to change it. The team has been in the Washington, D.C., area since 1937.

Redskins senior vice president Tony Wyllie said there was no truth to suggestions that the Code Talkers were used to bolster the team’s resistance to a new name.

“They’re American heroes, and they deserved recognition,” he said.

Also attending Monday’s game were Code Talkers president Peter MacDonald Sr., George Willie Sr. and George James Sr.

The Navajo Code Talkers used codes derived from their native language to shield military communications from interception by Japanese troops. Hawthorne said there are now about 30 surviving Code Talkers.

The trip to Washington was the second this month for Hawthorne, who last week joined Code Talkers from other tribes who received Congressional Gold Medals for the role they played in World War I and World War II. Members of the Navajo were recognized in 2000.

AROUND THE NFL - Leader of the Navajo Code Talkers defends Redskins name. - Redskins Nation Report - Native Americans

Redskins Nation Report

Native American Heritage Month (Watch Video | Play Audio)

2014-2015 DALLAS COWBOYS SCHEDULE: NFL announces three London dates for 2014 season

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LONDON — The NFL has announced the dates of its three regular-season games in London next year, with the Dallas Cowboys playing the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 10 on Nov. 9.

The first game will be played in Week 4 on Sept. 28, with the Oakland Raiders facing the Miami Dolphins.

A month later, in Week 8, the Atlanta Falcons will play the Detroit Lions on Oct. 26.

All the games will be played at Wembley Stadium.

The teams and matchups had been previously announced. The Raiders, Falcons and Jaguars are the designated home teams.

The NFL has been playing regular-season games at Wembley since 2007.

There were two games in London this year, with Minnesota beating Pittsburgh 34-27 on Sept. 29 and San Francisco defeating Jacksonville 42-10 on Oct. 27.

UPDATE APRIL 9, 2014: The NFL released this year’s preseason schedule, with many specific dates still to be determined. None of the Cowboys’ preseason games this year are scheduled to be nationally televised.

Dallas Cowboys Preseason Schedule

Week 1: @ San Diego Chargers

Week 2: vs. Baltimore Ravens

Week 3: @ Miami Dolphins

Aug. 28: vs. Denver Broncos

Stay up-to-date with the latest Dallas Cowboys schedules and calendars on the page below … 

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NFL Dallas Cowboys 2014 2015 schedules – 2014 2015 Dallas Cowboys schedule 2014 2015

THROWBACKS THROWN BACK: Dallas Cowboys won’t be wearing throwback uniforms on Thanksgiving Day

Raiders Cowboys Football

The Dallas Cowboys had planned to wear their throwback blue jerseys and their throwback helmets for today’s Thanksgiving Day game against the Raiders.

But that was before the NFL sent out memo in September banning throwback helmets because of safety concerns regarding concussions because may not be broken in properly.

Without the throwback helmets, the Cowboys decided against the throwback jerseys and will go with the regular blue road jerseys against the Raiders.

Vice-president Stephen Jones said it’s all about “putting player safety first and foremost.”

“I don’t know that it’s a given by moving from one helmet to another that it’s an issue but we haven’t proven that it’s not either,” Jones said. “So anytime we’re always going to err on the side of safety, so it’s going to give us a new look this year, but some times there’s nothing wrong with that either. We’ll continue to look at that. It doesn’t mean you won’t see alternative helmets in the future but we want to make sure right now we always err on the side of payer safety until we’ve really dotted our I’s and crossed our T’s.”

This will be the first time since 1964 that the Cowboys will wear their blue jersey at home and it not be a throwback.

POSITIVE CHANGE IN PLAYCALLING: Jason Garrett wanted return to sideline relationship with Tony Romo

POSITIVE CHANGE IN PLAYCALLING: Jason Garrett wanted return to sideline relationship with Tony Romo

Bill Callahan said coach Jason Garrett wanted to return to the relationship he used to have with Tony Romo on the sideline, one reason the Dallas Cowboys changed their play-calling mechanism.

“He’s had that relationship with him on the sideline in his career, and he wanted to get back to that a little bit more,” Callahan said Wednesday in his weekly meeting with reporters. “And he should, and rightfully so, as the head coach.”

Callahan, the offensive coordinator and play-caller, was joined in the coaches box by quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson last week. Wilson used to be on the sideline, receiving the play calls from Callahan and sending them to Romo. Now Garrett receives the calls and passes them to Romo.

But Callahan said that does not mean Garrett changes the calls.

“We’re all on the same page. Nothing’s changed in terms of the play-calling, whatsoever,” he said. “There’s not changes of plays, or anything like that. Here is what I think everyone needs to understand: that there’s great communication among the offensive coaches. Jason’s a part of this process, of game-planning, and being on the sideline during the game, I think he’s just become more active with Tony in that regard.”

Callahan said the changes wait until halftime.

“Then we’ll tweak it or we’ll look at what we want to amend or maybe bring up or possibly showcase a little bit more,” he said. “But really, there’s no changing of plays. There’s no power struggle or anything like that. I have this responsibility, and we communicate, I think, really well, as we have been. But anything that gets us going is always positive. If Coach feels it was a good change, we’re all for it. I was all for it.”

Asked for specifics on what Garrett communicates to him, Callahan said, “It’s more like,  ‘What are you thinking on this series, Bill? What are your thoughts going into this next drive? What do you have going?’ He just wants to know, and that’s communicated. ‘We’re gong to do this, we’re going to try to get to this personnel grouping, we’re going to try to get to this run or this group of passes.’ That’s what’s communicated, essentially, on the headset during the course of the game.”

IT’S MORE GIVE THAN TAKE: Dez Bryant not worried about ball security

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IRVING, Texas – It’s safe to say Dez Bryant left a much bigger imprint last weekend – in multiple ways.

After being targeted just twice with one catch on Nov. 10 in New Orleans, Bryant turned in nine catches for 102 yards on 16 targets on Sunday against the Giants. Though it’s fair to say that statline included both highs and lows.

Bryant’s night started with a dropped pass that led to a Giants interception, and it was made worse by a wacky fumble for a 21-yard loss. But Bryant made up for it with three clutch catches on the Cowboys’ game-winning drive.

“We got the job done, and like I said I was going through a little bit of adversity at the beginning of that, but things started clicking at the end,” he said.

Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said Tuesday morning in his weekly interview with 105.3 The Fan that Bryant needed to work on ball security. He did add, however, that some of that is simply the way he approaches the game.

“He’s violent when he’s got the ball. He’s violent going after the ball. Consequently he does need to have that ball closer to his body,” Jones said. “I don’t know how much of that you’ll ever be able to coach out of him.”

For his part, Bryant said he doesn’t think there are any problems with his fundamentals. Instead, he said it’s a result of the elements the game was played in, which is something he’ll need to be mindful of in two weeks when the Cowboys travel to Chicago.

“My ball security, honestly, has always been fine,” Bryant said. “It was just that kind of a game where you have to be a little bit more prepared – focusing on what kind of difficulties it would be in the cold weather, handling the ball. I think you’ve just got to prepare a little bit better.”

His quarterback seemed pleased with the outcome, despite the miscues. The increased focus on Bryant helped Tony Romo to his second-best passing total in the past month.

“Dez is a great competitor. He competes. He did a great job on the last drive of winning on his individual matchups,” Romo said. “I think you saw that, and obviously he knows he’s got to take care of the football. He works very hard at that, so I suspect he’ll continue to do a good job.”

Jones acknowledged the same thing, pointing out the need for getting the ball to Bryant. His reception tally of nine against the Giants tied his season high, set in Kansas City. But Bryant wasn’t overly interested in drawing praise – even from the team owner.

“I can’t make this about the targets, you know? We did win that game as a team – it’s not all about me. Not to be rude,” he said.

That said, Bryant did acknowledge that his late-game success  could help carry over into Thursday’s game. With yet another chance to create a winning streak this season, he said the offense needs to remember that it can build on success, even if things aren’t working perfectly.
“It’s a confidence booster. You want to take that and add on top of it, and you want other guys to feed on it. And I think that’s exactly what we’re going to do,” he said.

RELATED: Jerry Jones Show: Dez Bryant’s ‘violent’ running style leads to fumbles

IRVING (105.3 THE FAN) – It could have been a game-changing play — a play that ultimately flipped Sunday’s 24-21 win over the New York Giants.

With the Cowboys leading 21-13 in the fourth quarter, receiver Dez Bryant fumbled the ball while fighting for extra yards. The ball was deflected 20-yards backwards, leaving the Cowboys in a difficult third-and-3o situation.

It wasn’t the cold, or the defensive player, or anyone else that was responsible for the fumble. After the game, Bryant attributed the fumble to a lack of focus.

But Cowboys owner Jerry Jones attributes it to the running style of his star receiver.

“He’s violent when he’s got the ball,” said Jones on 105.3 The Fan’sNew School. “He’s violent going after the ball. Consequently, he does need to have that ball in closer. He needs to fundamentally have it closer to his body.”

In 54 career games with Dallas, Bryant has fumbled the ball 12 times. Compare that to other elite receivers like Detroit’s Calvin Johnson (13 fumbles, 102 games) and Cincinnati’s A.J. Green (3 fumbles, 42 games), and you might conclude that Bryant has a serious problem.

Jones however understands that, while it’s unacceptable, you have to take the good with the bad when coaching Dez.

“You’d like to say, ‘hey just take the ball and go straight up the field rather than trying to take it across,’” said Jones. “Of course, about the time that comes out of your mouth, he goes lateral across that field and breaks it about 40 yards.”

So can Jason Garrett and the Cowboys’ coaching staff expect Dez to change his running style?

“A lot of this is a natural, physical way he plays football, and you’re not going to coach it out of him.”

(Listen to the Jerry Jones show)

Editors note:  If you have any issues on your phone or other mobile device, select “Desktop View” from your browser. Enjoy!

FEAST FROM THE EAST: 2013 Thanksgiving Day Showdown – Oakland Raiders vs. Dallas Cowboys

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Dallas Cowboys

Their Nemesis: DeMarcus Ware
 
When you have been in this league as long as guys like Tony Romo and Jason Witten, you are going to get the opportunity to be in a lot of games. DeMarcus Ware is in that same category and like Romo and Witten, he has only faced the Oakland Raiders twice in his career. In those two games, Ware has recorded a sack in each of those meetings. For Ware and his teammates, it might not be so much about rushing Matt McGloin but having to slow down Rashad Jennings and this Raiders running game. The Raiders will do their best to try and protect McGloin, the best way they can and that will be trying to run the ball. It’s a physical rushing attack and Ware will be the key at the point of attack but also on the backside when that ball goes away. What would help Ware in this game, is if the Cowboys offense can put pressure on the Raiders to have to score right along with them, thus allowing Ware more chances to rush the passer. In this matchup, Ware could be facing Jared Veldheer who will be making his first start since the last time these two teams met in the preseason. Veldheer is coming off a triceps injury and in his place, Khalif Barnes has done a nice job and will draw the assignment of handling Ware.   
 
Our Weapon: Tony Romo
 
Turn back the calendar to Thanksgiving Day 2009, when Tony Romo made his only career start against the Oakland Raiders at AT&T Stadium. For Romo, it was an efficient day throwing the ball going 18 – 29 for 309 yards and two touchdowns. For Jason Garrett and this offensive staff, they would take that exact same day from Romo when the Cowboys and Raiders again meet this Thursday. My film study leading up to the game, tells me that the Cowboys are going to have trouble running the ball and it will fall on Romo and these skilled players to have to make plays to move the ball and score points. I believe the key to this game is going to be how well the Cowboys can execute plays like they did last week against the Giants on that final drive. This offense is hard to deal with when that is the case. I believe the Raiders will come after Romo and not allow him to feel comfortable in the pocket with linebacker and secondary blitzes. Dennis Allen and Jason Tarver know that if Romo does have time and the rush does not get home, that their secondary would be under attack. The best way for Tony Romo to help his defense is to keep the pressure on this Raiders offense to have to score points. By doing this, Romo can make the Raiders one dimensional and put the pressure on Matt McGloin to have to come up with plays in the game.
 
Under Their Radar: Kyle Wilber
 
I keep talking about the Raiders and their desire to run the ball against the Cowboys on Thursday. Kyle Wilber will be making his second start at Sam linebacker, after really doing a nice job against the Giants last week. Wilber was up to the challenge on several plays when the ball came in his direction. For the Cowboys to have any success of slowing Rashad Jennings down, Wilber is going to once again have that same type of effort. For these Cowboys linebackers, it’s going to be about taking on blocks and getting to the ball. The Raiders are a physical team when it comes to running the ball and with the size of their backs plus how well their fullbacks attack the line, its going to be an all day chore. Like the Giants tight ends last week, I am not that impressed with what I have seen from these on the Raiders. Jeron Mastrud, Mychal Rivera and Nick Kasa are not great point of attack blockers and I expect Wilber to be able to control them and work to the ball. Where Wilber had his troubles when he was a defensive end was taking on offensive tackles and having to deal with that mass and power, against these tight ends, they are more of his size and it is easier for him to have to deal with them.  
 
 
Oakland Raiders
 
The Nemesis: Charles Woodson
 
When it comes to all time great players to line up and play in this league, there are none better than Charles Woodson and what he has done throughout his long NFL career. Woodson has faced the Cowboys on five different occasions with a 4 – 1 record. In those meetings, Woodson has recorded 15 tackles, two sacks and two interceptions. Woodson has returned the Raiders where he began his career after seven seasons in Green Bay. Woodson has made the transition from shut down corner to safety without any issues. He might not have the speed or quickness that he once had, in his early days with the Raiders and later with the Packers but he is still around the ball and has that ability to turn a mistake by the quarterback, into a turnover or pick up a fumble and score. Next to Rhonde Barber, he was one of the best slot blitzers that I had ever scouted. Woodson had a knack for not tipping off that he was rushing, then explode off the edge for a sack. Even at his age, he is still a physical tackler and can bring a ball carrier down in space. Where teams have had some success attacking the Raiders has been in the middle of the field but it appears that it is more about the other safeties than really his play.  
 
Their Weapon: Rashad Jennings
 

This Dallas Cowboys defense has seen it share of outstanding running backs this season and this week is no different with Rashad Jennings. When you sit down and really study Jennings, you cannot come away not impressed with how he runs the ball. There is a violence in his running style that leaves you shaking your head in his ability to punish defenders. He is a load and whether they hand him the ball straight down hill or toss it on the edge, he is running until he feels contact, then he is going to give you a lot more. There is no secret in what you are going to get from him whether there is a hole or not. He is going to put his head down and carry bodies with him until they get him on the ground. He plays with really strong leg drive. For a big man, has a really nice burst. Doesn’t have great timed speed but when you watch him play, he is plenty fast. Has soft hands and looks very comfortable catching in them. Can take simple passes and make them large gains in the open field because of his running style. If he has a weakness, for someone his size, he is a poor pass blocker. He tends to try and cut instead of staying on his feet and taking on his man sqaure. If this game is close on Thursday, it will not favor the Cowboys because the Raiders will pound them with him. Need to get bodies to him quickly.
 
Under The Radar: Sio Moore
 
If you asked me the strength of this Oakland defense, I would say that it is their linebackers. I know that Lamarr Houston can be a problem off the edge but these linebackers can make some plays. Rookie Sio Moore, plays as the Sam linebacker in this scheme and he really is a good football player. He is not the tallest guy but he plays with outstanding quickness and lateral range. He can get to full speed very quickly and when he sees the ball, he is going to make a play. Can be an explosive guy when it comes to taking on blocks and shedding them. For such a young guy, he plays with really nice instincts and awareness. It was rare to see him get fooled on a play. He showed the ability to drop or handle his man in coverage. His best trait might be his ability to blitz. In 10 games this season, he has 3.5 sacks and that is because of his quickness. Was surprised at the power he was able to show when taking on blockers. Does a really nice job with his hands and plays with really good leverage. As mentioned, plays with a solid group of guys in Nick Roach and Kevin Burnett. Has a chance to really develop and become something special for the Raiders. Cannot leave him unaccounted for or unblocked because he will make the play. Should have been higher on his college grade in my report last spring.  

THE FOCUS FACTOR: The 6-5 Dallas Cowboys still have a lot of work to do

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – With a 4-0 record in the NFC East, the Dallas Cowboys appear to be in control of the division, but Jerry Jones is not ready to order up any banners just yet.

“I know the caliber of the teams,” Jones said. “I see how close these games are. You see what you did within the framework of a ballgame and you know how close it is. But we’ve given ourselves a chance. We’ve got a short week, but Oakland does, too. We want to come back and make the most of this win.”

At 6-5, the Dallas Cowboys are atop the NFC East again and could take sole possession of first place with a win against the Raiders. Their 17-3 win against the Philadelphia Eagles gives them a tiebreaking edge heading into Thursday’s game.

Jason Witten has been around the Cowboys long enough to know one win — even one as satisfying as the 24-21 win against the New York Giants — does not a season make. He knows it will mean little if the Dallas Cowboys cannot follow it up with a win on Thursday against the Raiders.
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“We needed to get this win on the road against a division opponent like this, but we’re 6-5, you know?” Witten said. “We’ve got a lot of football to play and we’re still right in the hunt. We’re one game above .500. We’ve got a lot more wins to get.”

NFL RIVAL NEWSPAPER HEADLINES: 2013 2014 Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants postgame press | Jason Hatcher eats Giants video

Here’s what the covers of the New York Post and New York Daily News looked liked on Monday morning.
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Must see video: Hatcher ate Giants
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Jason Hatcher with blood on his face: “I Just Ate A Giant”

Jason Hatcher speaks with the press immediately after his Dallas Cowboys win (holiday feast) over the New York Giants. (Watch Video)

2013 DALLAS COWBOYS ROSTER: Offseason standout Sterling Moore returns to team

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IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys have brought back a player that seemingly had a good training camp but has been on the street for the entire season.

Cornerback Sterling Moore rejoins the Dallas Cowboys this week and will likely play against the Raiders Thursday. Once again, Morris Claiborne has a hamstring injury and is expected to miss the Thanksgiving Day game.

To make room for Moore, the Cowboys have released tight end Andre Smith, who has been inactive eight of 11 games this year.

Claiborne had missed two straight games with a hamstring injury he sustained against the Lions on Oct. 27. He returned against the Giants and technically started the game as the Cowboys opened up in nickel. He played the first half but the injury occurred in the third quarter and he did not return.

The Dallas Cowboys continued with Orlando Scandrick shadowing Victor Cruz all over the field, and B.W. Webb played on the outside, opposite of Brandon Carr.

Moore, who joined the Dallas Cowboys last season off the New England Patriots practice squad, was cut just before the start of the regular season when the team trimmed the roster down to 53 players.

Since Moore was not practice-squad eligible, the Cowboys kept Micah Pellerin on the squad and eventually called him up to the roster two weeks ago. Pellerin was waived Thursday to make room for linebacker Orie Lemon.

Moore was among the Cowboys’ final cuts on Aug. 31 when they made the somewhat surprising decision to go with only four cornerbacks on the 53-man roster. Moore is not a stranger to having to play on a quick turnaround for the Cowboys. Last year he officially had one day of practice before playing against the Philadelphia Eagles on Dec. 2 after he was signed off the New England Patriots’ practice squad.

He finished with six tackles and two pass breakups in six games.

Tight end Andre Smith could return to the practice squad if he clears waivers.

The Dallas Cowboys had hoped cornerback Micah Pellerin would clear waivers last week, but he was claimed by the Tennessee Titans. If Pellerin had returned to the practice squad, the Cowboys would have called him up to the active roster for the second time this season.

Without Claiborne, the Cowboys could use rookie B.W. Webb outside and keep Orlando Scandrick in the slot when they play their nickel defense.

PRYING EYES IN THE SKY: Communication tweaked in the Dallas Cowboys offense by Wade Wilson elevation

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — For all the discussions regarding Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett’s move to relay the offensive plays to quarterback Tony Romo for Sunday’s game against the New York Giants, it was all about improving communication and reiterating the value of quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson.

This season when Bill Callahan took over the play-calling duties, Wilson moved into the role of relaying the signals to Romo. But when Garrett decided to take over for the Giants game, Wilson moved to the press box and tight ends coach Wes Phillips moved to the sidelines.

Cowboys officials contend Wilson helped in the play calling by seeing the defense from the press box, in comparison from the sidelines because he can recognize defenses better.

“I thought it was an opportunity to get Wade upstairs to see the game that way,” Garrett said. “Wade has great eyes. He sees the game as well as anybody I know. Just getting him up there I thought was good for us. We brought Wes Phillips down and Wes does a great job just interacting with the players and I just thought the whole thing worked out well.”

The Cowboys’ offense wasn’t great, the windy conditions had something to do with it, but Romo threw for 250 yards and finished a solid game-winning fourth-quarter drive to help the Cowboys defeat the Giants, 24-21.

The rushing attack had a solid effort, gaining 107 total yards including 86 from starter DeMarco Murray. While the third-down issues continued, going 4-for-12 overall, the Cowboys needed to do something with the offense.

Dallas Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said the change wasn’t about Garrett or Callahan but more about Wilson helping the offense.

“That’s the wrong interpretation of the decision,” Jones said when asked whether it was about Garrett. “The decision was to give Wade, who is standing on the sidelines an aerial view of the field. It was all about that and it’s a skill that we’ve long [for], since [we] haven’t taken advantage of Wade Wilson. Wade Wilson is outstanding and can do a better job for us.”
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Jason Garrett: Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants postgame press conference

Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett speaks to the media after the win over the 2013-2014 New York Giants. (Watch Video | Play Audio)

CASTING A GIANT SHADOW: Orlando Scandrick matched up stride for stride with Victor Cruz

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – He heard all the talk this week. He knew how important this game was to his team and he knew the individual challenge that was in front of him.

But not until Sunday morning in his hotel room did Orlando Scandrick officially get jacked up for the game.

No it wasn’t what Jason Pierre-Paul said or even Brandon Jacobs – or any a Giants player for that matter. So who managed to get the Dallas Cowboys corner so riled up? Hall of Fame player and coach Mike Ditka, who is now on ESPN’s pre-game show.

“He said the Cowboys don’t have a guy on defense that can stop Victor Cruz,” Scandrick said. “I just said ‘alright then.’ Coming from a guy who traded away his whole draft class for one player and got fired. But that got me going. He talked about Victor Cruz’s stats and probably just sees our ranking. But I took that personal.”

It showed.

Scandrick played arguably his best game of the season, as he matched up stride for stride with Cruz just about every play. Even when the coaches tried to switch up the plan after Morris Claiborne left the game with a hamstring, Scandrick had to plead with the coaches.

“I begged them … Begged them to let me stay with Cruz,” Scandrick said. “I was just confident in the matchup. I knew I could stay with him. I’m glad they let me stick with him.”

Scandrick said this was the first time the coaches ever let him follow Cruz all over the field, both inside and outside.

“I’ve done with (Wes) Welker but the Patriots do things different because they’re always in 11 personnel. The Giants mix it up a lot. But I’m just glad they let me stay with him.”

Cruz finished the game with two catches for 27 yards but lost a key fumble on his first catch when Scandrick ripped the ball out, resulting in a 50-yard touchdown return by rookie Jeff Heath for the first score of the game.

“I really respect Victor Cruz and he’s a fun player to play against,” Scandrick said. “You want to play your best against a guy like that. He’s had some games but I feel like I’ve played well, too.”

Sunday was better than “well” for Scandrick. And it’s one if the big reasons the Dallas Cowboys flew home 6-5 and tied for first place in the division.

2013 COWBOYS VS. GIANTS RECAP: ‘Boys escape from New Jersey with an important win

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Some were billing this NFC East showdown as perhaps a turning point for the Cowboys this season.

Win and you move back into first place with a 4-0 mark in the division and a winnable game at home against the Raiders on Thanksgiving.

Lose and you not only drop into a tie for second with the Giants, but also suffer consecutive devastating defeats, this coming on the heels of a blowout loss in New Orleans.

Thank you, Dan Bailey.

In a game with plenty of drama, the Cowboys prevailed, defeating the Giants, 24-21, when Bailey was perfect on a 35-yard field goal as time ran out. He was only in that position because of a late New York rally that saw the opposition score 15 unanswered points to tie the score with just less than five minutes remaining. In the end, however, Dallas did what they needed to in order to win.

This was by no means a thing of beauty. The play was chippy throughout the day, as both teams finished with 11 penalties, the Cowboys flagged for 85 yards and the Giants 81. The stat sheet was similar in many ways. Dallas earned 327 total yards of offense while the Giants bettered them at 356. Each side also had one turnover and the time of possession was nearly even: New York, 30:39; Dallas, 29:21.

Tony Romo passed for 250 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Both of his scoring tosses went to Jason Witten, although Dez Bryant led all receivers with nine catches for 102 yards.

Dallas also showed signs of a running game as well, finishing with 107 yards overall. DeMarco Murray had 86 yards on 14 carries, while little used Lance Dunbar actually showed what he could do, carrying the ball three times for 20 yards with another two catches for 26 more.

Defensively, Monte Kiffin’s unit was able to twice keep the Giants out of the end zone when they were sitting at first-and-goal, New York settling for field goals in what was perhaps the difference in the game. Overall, the Cowboys struggled with the Giants’ ground attack, as the home side rushed for 202 yards. Andre Brown totaled 127 yards on 21 carries with Brandon Jacobs putting up 75 of his own on nine tries.

But while Giants quarterback Eli Manning did have two touchdown throws, he was largely held in check by the Cowboys. He finished with just 174 yards passing, completing only 16 of 30 attempts.

There was some bad with the good, though. Special teams ace Dwayne Harris and cornerback Morris Claiborne both left the game with what has seemingly become the Cowboys’ yearly nemesis – the dreaded hamstring injury. They were to be re-evaluated on Monday, but with the quick turnaround, their availability on Thursday seemed doubtful.

Playing through freezing temperatures and a stiff wind, it took awhile for both sides to get going. The Cowboys couldn’t do much offensively in the first quarter, as they failed to get out of their own end of the field on two possessions. Fortunately, the defense kept the Giants bottled up early before then giving Dallas an early lead.

On first-and-10 at the Giants’ 45-yard line, Manning threw out to the right sideline to Victor Cruz, who was quickly corralled by linebacker Kyle Wilber. But with the receiver still fighting for yards, cornerback Orlando Scandrick came in and stripped the ball away from Cruz, which flew right into the waiting arms of safety Jeff Heath. The rookie then turned and ran 50 yards untouched for his first career score and a 7-0 Cowboys lead.

The Giants’ next possession saw the home team get on the scoreboard, thanks in large part to Cowboys penalties. On third-and-5 at the New York 28-yard line, Manning’s pass to Cruz fell incomplete, which would have forced a punt. Instead, defensive end Jarius Wynn was called for illegal use of hands, which provided the first down.

Shortly thereafter, on the first play of the second quarter, cornerback Claiborne was called for pass interference, which set the Giants up with a first-and-goal. But the Cowboys defense kept New York from crossing the goal line, the Giants having to settle for a 21-yard field goal on a drive that went 74 yards on 10 plays and ate up 6:37 of clock.

Dallas needed half the time to more than double the points on its next drive, though. And they did so using their running game. Murray had a run of 14 yards and then came right back and took off for a 30-yard gain. After a screen to Dunbar produced another 17 yards, Romo sold the play-action, the linebackers biting to open up the middle deep, which Witten exploited to haul in a 20-yard touchdown for a 14-3 advantage.

New York went on another extended 8-play drive that chewed up an additional 4:19 off the clock, but again were able to get only three points out of the series, this time on a 23-yard field goal, so despite the Giants leading the time of possession on the stat sheet, 18:16-11:40, the Cowboys were ahead on the scoreboard, 14-6.

Of course, the gifts the Dallas defense gave the Giants through penalties earlier in the game were repaid in full by New York’s defense on the Cowboys first drive of the third quarter.

Romo and Co. had worked their way from their own 35-yard line to the New York 37. Facing a third-and-6, the quarterback hit Cole Beasley across the middle, but the receiver fumbled the ball, which the Giants recovered. Except New York was called for roughing the passer, giving Dallas new life.

Then on the very next play, Murray went around the right end, and as he was running out of bounds, was hit late by safety Antrel Rolle, which set Dallas up with a first-and-goal at the Giants’ 6-yard line.

That left things to Romo and Witten, who once again connected for the score, and in the process, both reached personal milestones. In going up 21-6, Romo threw the 200th touchdown pass of his career, while Witten recorded his 50th career touchdown catch.

New York responded quickly, though, and closed the Cowboys’ lead to 21-13, their touchdown coming when Manning through a pass down the left sideline to Brandon Myers. But after the tight end fell to the ground making the catch, neither linebacker Bruce Carter nor safety Jeff Heath touched him, allowing Myers to get up and waltz into the end zone.

Things then only went from bad to worse. After the Dallas offense was unable to do much on two straight possessions, New York took over on its own 42-yard line and quickly marched down the field, a 22-yard pass from Manning to Cruz reaching the Cowboys 5. Two plays later, Manning hit Louis Murphy in the end zone for the six points. The Giants then went for the two-point conversion and Brown rumbled in to tie the score at 21-21 with just under five minutes left in the game.

That’s when Romo went to work. Mixing up his options, he threw passes to Gavin Escobar, Miles Austin, Beasley and, of course, Bryant on a drive that ate up the rest of the clock. Facing a third-and-10 at the New York 28, he darted a quick out to Beasley for 15 yards to New York’s 15-yard line.

With only 1:17 left in the game and the Giants out of timeouts, Romo simply took two knees and then turned it over to Bailey. The surefooted kicker split the uprights from 35 yards out as time expired, giving Dallas the 24-21 victory.

The win pushed the Cowboys’ record back above .500, their 6-5 mark equaling the idle Eagles atop the NFC East. Dallas now has a quick turnaround, as they’ll host the Oakland Raiders in four days for their annual Thanksgiving game.

2013-2014 GAME 11 RECAP: Dallas Cowboys sweep New York Giants with 24-21 win

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — A few thoughts on the Dallas Cowboys’ 24-21 win against the New York Giants this afternoon.

What it means for the Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys find themselves back in first place in the NFC East with the win thanks to the tiebreaker over the Philadelphia Eagles and can claim an outright share of first place in the division with a win Thursday against the Oakland Raiders.

The Cowboys are 4-0 in the NFC East and swept the Giants for the first time since 2007. It is the fourth time since 1989 the Cowboys have started out 4-0 in the division.

With two weeks to stew over the worst loss of the Jason Garrett era (49-17 to the New Orleans Saints in Week 10), the Dallas Cowboys were able come up with a drive that led to a 35-yard game-winning field goal by Dan Bailey.

A loss would have been traumatic for a team that would have started its traditional December slide a month earlier. Now the Cowboys figure to find themselves in the race for the rest of the season. They all but eliminated the Giants, who entered on a four-game winning streak.

Stock watch: Tony Romo responded on the Cowboys’ final drive, completing 6 of 9 passes to set up the winning kick. Two of the incompletions were drops by Miles Austin and Dez Bryant. With everybody wondering what Romo would do in a big moment, he came up big.

Clutch late: Before the final drive of the game for the Cowboys the only third-down conversion was Jason Witten’s third-quarter touchdown. On the winning drive, the Cowboys converted three times on third down.

Bryant had a 19-yard grab after a third-and-7 following a Tyron Smith false start penalty. Bryant converted on third-and-5 with an 8-yard grab from the slot. On third-and-10, Cole Beasley picked up 13 yards to set up Bailey’s game-winner.

Still can’t stop the run: The Cowboys have been historically bad with their pass defense through 10 games, but what was lost in the New Orleans game was just how poor their run defense was.

The Saints ran for 242 yards against the Cowboys. The Giants ran for 202. Andre Brown had 127 yards. Brandon Jacobs had 75 yards.

The Cowboys missed Sean Lee badly. Ernie Sims was consistently out of position but the defensive line didn’t do much to help the linebackers either.

It was the third time the Cowboys have allowed 200 yards rushing in a game. The Washington Redskins had 216 on Oct. 13.

What’s next: The Cowboys have a quick turnaround with the Oakland Raiders visiting AT&T Stadium on Thursday for the annual Thanksgiving Game. The Cowboys have lost two of their past three games on Thanksgiving, but beat the Raiders 24-7 on Nov. 26, 2009

REFLECTIONS – A CITY/NATION IN MOURNING: Understanding the obstacles of the 1960’s Dallas Cowboys (Special Feature–Revised)

REFLECTIONS OF A CITY and NATION IN MOURNING - Understanding, and overcoming the obstacles of the 1960’s Dallas Cowboys - President John F. Kennedy

To understand how difficult it was to make the decision about whether or not to play NFL games on Nov. 24, 1963, you must understand how different news and television were 50 years ago.

I had just started working as a radio newswriter in Minneapolis. Radio was the primary source for breaking news for most people, and newspapers still had huge circulations. Television news primarily consisted of two programs — the Huntley-Brinkley Report on NBC and the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite. ABC was not a serious competitor. Everything was in black and white, and if you wanted to change the channel, you had to get out of your chair and turn a knob on the set.

News was shot on film, meaning it had to be physically transported to the television station, developed and edited before it could air — a process that took a minimum of one hour and could take several. Sound film cameras were big — think about carrying around a couple of cement blocks — and could record a maximum of 12 minutes before changing the film was required. The only videotape machines were massive items, and tape had to be physically edited, a cumbersome process. To transmit news from anywhere, you had to order — well in advance — physical lines from AT&T. Most news was distributed by two wire services — AP and UPI — on machines that printed 60 words per minute. The news sat on the machine until someone went to read it. If you were in the field and wanted to make a call, you had to find a pay phone or talk someone into letting you use a private phone. And if you called someone and they were not there, there were no answering machines — you had to keep calling until someone answered.

JFK Assassination

REFLECTIONS OF A CITY and NATION IN MOURNING - Understanding, and overcoming the obstacles of the 1960’s Dallas Cowboys - President John F. Kennedy 1963 in Dallas

Why is all this important? The coverage and dissemination of news was slow (although the facts probably were more accurate) and this made the decision-making process slow as well. Parts of JFK’s visit to Dallas were being covered locally only because the local stations decided to pool their resources. But NBC and CBS were not carrying the coverage. In fact, the networks were not even on the air — stations were carrying their own local programming. It took some time for the national coverage to begin, but when it did begin, it went commercial-free for four days, the first time that had happened.

JFK was, for my generation, the first president who didn’t look like he could be my father. He was young, he was funny and he had a beautiful wife. JFK also was the first “sports” president anyone of my generation knew. Eisenhower played golf, Truman walked and Roosevelt was limited by his paralysis due to polio. The Kennedy family played touch football on the lawn, sailed on Nantucket Sound and went on lengthy hikes. Kennedy actually played golf but refused to let that be filmed to draw a contrast with the Republicans.

Kennedy had intervened with the National Guard in 1961 to allow Paul Hornung to play for the Green Bay Packers in the NFL title game. He was conscious of his image as a young, sports-minded male, and people bought it.

Kennedy was assassinated around noon on a Friday. Nothing like this had ever happened in my lifetime. No one knew if this was an isolated incident or if there was a plot to assassinate other government officials (both the president and vice president were in Dallas); rumors were flying. In fact, the announcement of JFK’s death was delayed to let Johnson get on his way to the airport and Air Force One. Even after Johnson was sworn in and back in D.C., no one was sure what was happening.

So, NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle had to weigh all this and make a decision in a short amount of time, consulting with a number of people who gave him differing opinions. In the end, NFL games were played, although there was no television coverage of them. And Rozelle later said he had made the wrong decision.

RELATED VIDEOS: A look back, fifty years after the JFK Assassination

REFLECTIONS OF A CITY and NATION IN MOURNING - Understanding, and overcoming the obstacles of the 1960’s Dallas Cowboys - 1963 Dallas Cowboys

A CITY IN MOURNING: Understanding the obstacles of the 1960’s Dallas Cowboys

07:12 – When John F. Kennedy was assassinated, it impacted the entire world. See how the Dallas Cowboys were affected by the death as Gil Brandt looks back into history and recounts the JFK experience. (Watch Video)

A CITY and NATION IN MOURNING - Understanding the obstacles of the 1960’s Dallas Cowboys - Dallas Cowboys history - NFL decides to play games Sunday following JFK assassination

A NATION IN MOURNING: Understanding the obstacles of the 1960’s NFL

04:12 – When John F. Kennedy was assassinated, it impacted the entire world. NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle later regrets deciding the league will play games the following Sunday. (Watch Video)

The NFL has been part of America’s recovery, more than once - Dallas Cowboys history

A NATION IN MOURNING: The NFL has been part of America’s recovery, more than once.

04:12 – When John F. Kennedy was assassinated, it impacted the entire world. The NFL has faced a nation in crisis several times throughout it’s history, including the Great Depression, Pearl Harbor, and 911 attacks. This video takes a look at how the NFL, and Americans, moved forward during these difficult times. (Watch Video)

Special thanks: Bob Eaton; Gil Brandt;


November 22, 1963 – Looking back at that moment in American history

REFLECTIONS OF A CITY and NATION IN MOURNING - Understanding, and overcoming the obstacles of the 1960’s Dallas Cowboys - JFK in Ft Worth Texas 1963

Though he was nearly a year away from the 1964 election, President John F. Kennedy knew it was campaign season even in November of 1963. And one of the most important states he needed to win was Texas. Kennedy along with his wife, first lady Jacqueline Kennedy, boarded Air Force One on Nov. 21 for a two-day, five-city trip through the state. Starting with San Antonio, then Houston, they eventually visited Fort Worth. With Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, Kennedy exits the Hotel Texas in Fort Worth. On Friday, Nov. 22, he will greet crowds and make a speech. It’s 8:45 am.

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BRACED FOR THE RACE: Dallas Cowboys DT Jason Hatcher will play with a neck brace

BRACED FOR THE NFC EAST RACE - Dallas Cowboys DT Jason Hatcher will play with a neck brace - 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys schedule 2013 2014

Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Jason Hatcher said he’s been outfitted with a neck brace that will reduce the chance he gets another stinger. It’s so restrictive, it keeps him from moving his neck back.

“I can’t even see in my stance, hardly,” he said Thursday, smiling about it with reporters. “I have to get down super low.”

But he said he’ll take part of the brace off down the line so he can have more range of movement.

“I’ll take that off eventually, in about three or four weeks from now, I’ll take that off so I can get my neck back,” he said.

Hatcher was limited again in practice Thursday. The native of Jena, La., missed the New Orleans game two weeks ago because of a stinger.

“That hurt me bad, just going home to my home state and not being able to help my team,” he said. “I’m not saying the outcome would have been different or whatnot, but I’m pretty sure knowing me, a healthy me, I could have done some stuff to help my team. So I’m excited to be back, just excited to see how this game is going to go for me, as well as my team.”

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