The Dallas Cowboys ran onto to their home field three days before Halloween full of confidence and walked off spooked yet again.
A record-breaking day in terms of pass attempts for Tony Romo and catches for Jason Whitten along with big plays, turnovers and a panic attacked 4th Qtr was not enough to sweep the New York Giants in 2012.
Romo had 62 pass attempts and Whitten grabbed 18 catches both of which are All-Time Cowboys single game records.
Romo finished the day 32 of 62 for 437yds, 1 passing TD, 1 rushing TD….wait for it….and 4 INT.
That is some crazy stats that should win most games except for the last statistic of course. There is still a communication problem between Romo and his receivers. Precise pass routes were once again a major achilles heel. That being said, Whitten piled up 167yds receiving while Miles Austin grabbed 133yds and Dez Bryant hauled in 110yds of his own including an absolutely amazing grab between two defenders with time running out in the back of the end zone. A touchdown call that seemingly would have ended the game and gave the Cowboys an incredible last second win was overturned. A true game of inches was evident when the TD was reversed as the fingertips of Bryant touched the out-of-bounds line first as he went to the ground at the back of the end zone. It was almost redemption for Bryant as he fumbled a punt return in the 2nd Qtr that gave Eli Manning and his offense a 1st & 10 at the Cowboys 15yd line that led to a FG to put New York up 16-0. One last-ditch effort with :01 to play flew out of the back of the end zone and the New York Football Giants remain un-defeated, 4-0, at Cowboys Stadium.
The game was a disaster from the beginning with Romo throwing 2 of his 4 INT’s on the day in the first quarter. His third pick went for six points the other way by Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul early in the 2nd Qtr. Later, Felix Jones would run in from 4yds out to cut the Giant lead to 23-7. It seemed as though the Cowboys had the game in hand as they gathered 24 unanswered points through the 3rd Qtr to take the lead 24-23. Giants Kicker Lawerence Tynes kicked his 4th FG of the day and put the them up 26-24 and then a fumble by Felix Jones as the Cowboys were driving for a would be lead with 6:40 to play, spun this game into a panic fest. A fifth Giants FG made it 29-24. Romo, with :44 to go, methodically drove his team down the field and gave the Cowboys a chance to win.
At the end of the day it was the “Turnover Goblin” that eventually stole the Cowboys’ early Halloween treats and left them with a 3-4 record, tied for second place in the NFC East Division. Although Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan’s Defense gathered an INT and a fumble recovery of their own and held the Giants to five FG’s on the day and no passing TD’s by Eli Manning, the offensive struggles made it seem like a mood point. The Cowboys now head into a tough road trip against the 7-0 Atlanta Falcons and 3-4 Philadelphia Eagles. A two game split is not out of the question….wait, is it ? The broken record no one wants to hear any more continues to play, “There is plenty of talent on this team to produce wins….”.
They come back home to host the Cleveland Browns on November 18th and that will not be a guaranteed win as the Browns Defense is holding their own in nearly every contest this season. The Cowboys kept their penalty issues in check, however, the turnovers haunted them again. Coach Jason Garrett said in the post game press conference, “There is a lot to learn from this game in the terms of ball security. We have to clean up the things that aren’t helping us win games”. Fans can only hope that the “ghoulish turnover ghost” and the “penalty goblins” do not continue to haunt the Cowboys going into November and December or it could be another cold, disappointing and non-playoff winter for “America’s Team”.
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