The Star’s Five Corners: Dallas Cowboys at Carolina Panthers
With 53 seconds left in the game, Dan Bailey lined up to kick his fourth field goal of the day, which would seal a victory for the Dallas Cowboys and put a halt on their two-game losing streak.
As most games the Cowboys are involved in, this game had its share of drama.
It started with the Cowboys dominating the first quarter and driving down the field, almost looking unstoppable. However, the offense stalled in the red-zone and had to settle for three points.
The Cowboys took a three to nothing lead, but the Carolina Panthers weren’t going to go away. Following the Cowboys’ 18-play, 91-yard drive the Panthers got a pretty good drive of their own going.
Fortunately for the Cowboys, rookie cornerback Morris Claiborne intercepted Cam Newton in the end zone. The Cowboys picked up right where they left off and were driving back down the field and then the unthinkable happened.
Tony Romo dropped back, scanned the field and hit Miles Austin over the middle for what would appear to be a huge gain. Instead, Austin fumbled the ball and the Panthers recovered it.
Austin came back later in the game and redeemed himself by hauling in a perfect pass from Romo in the end zone.
It wasn’t a pretty win, but it was a win. I’ll gladly take an ugly win over a pretty loss any day of the week. There was some good, some bad, some ugly and maybe even a little luck involved during the game against the Panthers.
The team got the win, but still has a lot of work to do. So, lets go over some of good, bad, ugly and lucky in-game occurrences, from the Cowboys vs Panthers game.
Romo was had his way with the Panther’s secondary all game long and ended his six game streak with at least one interception - he must have read my previous article. He was also 7-for-7 on third down conversions and finished the game with a 98.5 quarterback rating. The win makes him only the fourth Cowboys quarterback with 50 career wins joining Roger Staubach, Danny White and Troy Aikman.
The Good: Honorable Mention
The Cowboys secondary finally got an interception. Claiborne saved what could have been a potential touchdown by intercepting Newton in the end zone. Hopefully it’s the first of many more.
The drops and wrong routes by receivers continue. This shouldn’t be happening in the seventh-week of the season, but it is.
Seemingly routine passes are getting dropped left and right. In back-to-back games, both Dez Bryant and Kevin Ogletree have dropped – at the time – crucial passes.
I think the play calling needs to stop forcing passes to Bryant and Ogletree in hopes that they all of a sudden become “playmakers.” It hasn’t happened in three years and probably won’t in one game.
Injuries keep piling up. The Cowboys lost starting center Phil Costa to a dislocated foot. Felix Jones also got banged up, but should be good to go. Sean Lee left the game as well. with a foot injury, but said it wasn’t serious and will be ready to play next Sunday.
Three plays really stand out to me and all three involved the Cowboys catching a lucky break.
The first was the horse collar tackle that wasn’t. Phillip Tanner came around the nearside edge and was grabbed by a defender and brought down hard. To the refs’ credit watching it full speed it appeared to be a horse collar tackle, but replay would later show that was the incorrect call. Tack on 15-yards and a first down, which kept the Cowboys' offense on the field.
The second was on a fourth-and-short play; the Cowboys got caught changing personnel. Carolina lined up, snapped the ball and converted, but it was determined that the Cowboys had previously called a timeout. Much to the disgust of Carolina's head coach Ron Rivera, the refs didn't change their call.
The third play came following that timeout; there was a pass interference call on Claiborne that wasn’t called. Claiborne arrived to meet the Carolina receiver about a second early and initiated contact. Ultimately, the pass was dropped and the Panthers turned the ball over on downs.
Those three plays could have changed the outcome of the game, or made things a lot tougher, but it's ok to get lucky every once in while.