Last season, the Cowboys played in Washington the week before Thanksgiving. They pulled out a 27-24 overtime victory before traveling home for a short week getting ready for Miami.
This season, the Cowboys are at home the Sunday before Thanksgiving. The Redskins, who play at Cowboys Stadium on Thanksgiving, are at home against Philadelphia on Sunday. NFL rules make it mandatory for the team playing a Thursday road game to play a home game the previous Sunday.
"I just think it’s a matter of hours," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said of being at home this week. "I think we played in Washington last year and got home pretty late at night and had the quick turnaround. As you guys know, that Thursday game comes quickly. Your Monday practice is kind of a walk-through, and you’re just trying to transition as quickly as you can to get ready for the game and before you know it you’re out warming up before the next game. Even the fact it’s an early game, we played a 12 noon game, those three or four hours you have between playing the early game and the later game that makes a difference. It certainly helps. It helps our preparation. We’ll be that much more ready for Monday’s practice."
The NFL opted this season to have a Thursday game every week. Road teams have been at a disadvantage. They are 3-6 in the Thursday games this season. (That does not include the Cowboys’ season-opening victory over the Giants on a Wednesday night, since neither team played on a short week.)
Road teams are 22-36 in Thursday games since the NFL Network started its late-season Thursday broadcasts in 2006. That includes the annual Thanksgiving Day homes hosted by the Cowboys and Lions, who are a combined 5-7 as home teams in the past six seasons, and a Jets victory over the Bills in Toronto.
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…
|FG||2:42||Shayne Graham 26 yd FG 2:42
Drive: 5 Plays, 18 Yards, 2:04
|FG||4:38||Dan Bailey 32 yd FG 4:38
Drive: 10 Plays, 48 Yards, 5:02
|TD||0:55||Laurent Robinson 5 yd pass from Tony Romo (Dan Bailey kick) 0:55
Drive: 1 Plays, 5 Yards, 0:06
|FG||0:00||Shayne Graham 28 yd FG 0:00
Drive: 7 Plays, 46 Yards, 0:55
|FG||8:02||Shayne Graham 27 yd FG 8:02
Drive: 11 Plays, 71 Yards, 6:58
|TD||3:54||Brandon Marshall 35 yd pass from Matt Moore (Shayne Graham kick) 3:54
Drive: 5 Plays, 74 Yards, 2:20
|TD||14:31||Laurent Robinson 18 yd pass from Tony Romo (Dan Bailey kick) 14:31
Drive: 9 Plays, 77 Yards, 4:23
|FG||7:14||Shayne Graham 23 yd FG 7:14
Drive: 14 Plays, 76 Yards, 7:17
|FG||0:00||Dan Bailey 28 yd FG 0:00
Drive: 10 Plays, 54 Yards, 2:59
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Thanksgiving Day is about tradition. Inside linebacker Bradie James smiled as he reminded reporters about another one.
“We got to break out the Turkey Dance,” he said.
That’s the elbow-flapping, high-knee stepping move the Cowboys defenders started doing three years ago if they made a good play in the Thanksgiving Day game.
“We motivate each other,” James said with a smile. “It makes us go out there and play a little harder.”
It all started in 2008, when defensive ends Jason Hatcher and Marcus Spears were playing catch, and Hatcher made a nice grab along the sideline. He started dancing.
“I did the Billy ‘White Shoes’ first,” Hatcher said that year. “I said, ‘You know what? We need to break it into The Turkey. And pretty much all of the guys bought into it.”
Everyone was required to break out a Turkey Dance in that ’08 game, or face a fine from their teammates. The game had no lack of opportunities – the Cowboys sacked Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck seven times in a 34-9 victory.
DeMarcus Ware had three sacks. Bradie James had two. Tank Johnson and Greg Ellis each had one.
But does anybody actually look good doing the Turkey Dance?
“No, not at all,” James said and smiled. “But that’s why you can get away with it on Thursday.”
RELATED: Dallas Cowboys Turkey Dance (Thanksgiving football sack dance)
The Dallas Cowboys traditionally play a home football game on Thanksgiving (“Turkey Day”). On November 27, 2008, the Cowboys defense recorded seven quarterback sacks. After each sack, the player who sacked the quarterback went into a “turkey dance,” flapping his arms like they were wings.
Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett speaks to the media as his team continues to work towards the Miami Dolphins on Thursday.
Dallas Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware talks to the Miami media about playing in Rob Ryan’s defense.
A few weeks ago, the Cowboys’ Thanksgiving guests looked like a gimme win.
Not anymore. The Miami Dolphins will bring a three-game winning streak to town.
The Dolphins aren’t just winning. They suddenly started dominating after an 0-7 start that was punctuated by three-point losses to the Broncos and Giants. Miami’s wins over the Chiefs, Redskins and Bills came by an average margin of 22 points.
An inept offense has morphed into an explosive one with Cowboys castoff quarterback Matt Moore throwing for six touchdowns and only one interception during the win streak. The Dolphins, who scored 20 points only once in the first seven games, have put up 31, 20 and 35 in the last few games.
The Dolphins’ defense, which has been respectable all season, hasn’t allowed a touchdown in the last three games.
“The group just keeps fighting, keep swinging pretty good,” Miami coach Tony Sparano told reporters Monday. “I think it’s great, but right now that one is behind us and we’re ready to go to the next one and see what we do.”
A win over these Dolphins certainly isn’t the sure thing it seemed to be a few weeks ago.
DIFFERENT STROKES: Approaches different by Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins for upcoming Thanksgiving Day game
Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett meets with Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan after the Dallas Cowboys win. Shortly afterwards, Garrett began preparations for the upcoming Thanksgiving Day game vs Miami Dolphins.
IRVING, Texas — Jason Garrett did not go home after the Cowboys returned from Washington D.C. on Sunday night, heading straight to Valley Ranch to begin work on Thursday’s opponent, Miami.
The assistant coaches reviewed the game film of the Redskins’ win on the plane ride home and got to work on the Miami plan Monday morning.
In Garrett’s focused world, he did not want to turn attention away from Washington in leading up to the Redskins’ game.
Miami coach Tony Sparano, who was a Dallas assistant from 2003-07, had a slightly different approach even as the Dolphins have put together a three-game winning streak.
“Well the challenge for me and the challenge for the players is completely different,” Sparano told the Dolphins’ media. “I mean coaches we’ve spent the last couple weeks, last couple weekends in preparation for this and then came right back after the game here and got work done early this morning so everything was ready to go.”
Because of Sparano’s history in preparing for the Thanksgiving game with the Cowboys, any advantage the Cowboys would have in a short week could be mitigated.
“I think a lot of people around the league have played in Thursday games,” Garrett said. “I don’t think that’s a huge, huge advantage. Tony is obviously a great football coach and we were fortunate to have him here and I was fortunate to work with him for a year when I first got here. He’ll have his team ready no doubt.”