Cowboys’ fans are not likely to remember today’s game against the Giants very fondly. Sure, Dallas overcame a 23-point deficit to take a lead in the second half, but this is the modern-era Cowboys, who find ways to make the dumbest mistakes at exactly the wrong times.
But if Dallas (or New York fans, for that matter) want to remember this game, we might call it the Middle-Finger Game.
Of course, this refers more directly to Dez Bryant‘s middle finger. With the Cowboys trailing 29-24 with about 10 seconds remaining in the game, Bryant caught what was first called a touchdown that would have almost certainly have given Dallas the win. Instead, replays showed that Bryant’s finger(s) landed on the back line, thus negating the touchdown.
Tony Romo had two more chances. On the final play with time expired, Romo threw the ball 10 yards out of the back of the end zone.
That was one of many instances to direct a middle finger at Romo, who was awful for much of the game. True, he threw for 432 yards by completing 36 of 62 passes. However, his four interceptions helped the Cowboys to commit a season-high six turnovers.
The last interception came at the end of yet another bone-headed drive with time running out. Two weeks after the team blew a chance to upset the Ravens thanks to mind-boggling decision-making, the Cowboys did it again.
With 1:27 remaining and the score 29-24, Dallas had moved the ball to the New York 28. Romo hit Jason Witten for nine yards.
One play later, the Cowboys ran another play to Witten, who dropped the ball on an out pattern near the sideline.
3rd-and-1. That’s one yard to gain a first down with 1:23 remaining. Most teams would make sure to pick up a first down.
Not Dallas. The Cowboys decided to go for the end zone, with Romo throwing to Kevin Ogletree on a fade route. This is the same Kevin Ogletree who had not caught a single pass all day. He didn’t catch the fade pass.
4th-and-1. Dallas lined up in the shotgun, and Romo looked as if he was going to Witten. However, the Giants double-teamed the tight end, and Romo had no second option. He pathetic pass was picked off by Stevie Brown.
Dallas got the ball back, but the final drive failed after the referees negated Bryant’s apparent touchdown.
There were many middle fingers to go around in the first half.
Romo threw interceptions to end the first two offensive drives. Bryant did his part in the debacle by fumbling a punt after trying to catch it over his shoulder.
With 13:14 remaining in the second quarter, Romo dug a hole as deep as he could when he threw his third pick. Jason Pierre-Paul picked off a screen pass and ran it in for a touchdown from 28 yards out. The Giants led 23-0 at that point.
The Cowboys actually looked good for the rest of the first half and for much of the third quarter. Dallas cut the lead to 23-10 at the half and then to 23-17 in the third quarter. Romo’s touchdown pass to John Phillips with 3:50 left in the third quarter gave the Cowboys their first lead of the game.
The defense appeared to do its part when Danny McCray grabbed an interception after the ball fell out of the hands of Victor Cruz. Dallas had all the momentum at that point, but a sack by former Cowboy Chris Canty helped to kill the momentum.
Dallas punted, and the Giants drove for a go-ahead field goal. On the ensuing drive, Felix Jones fumbled, setting up another Giant field goal.
From there, the Cowboys bumbled their way to yet another loss.
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The online simulators rarely predict a score as accurately as the five simulators did for this game. Here were the predicted scores from my post the other day:
AccuScore: N.Y. Giants 26, Dallas 25
NumberFire: N.Y. Giants 25, Dallas 24
Team Rankings: N.Y. Giants 26, Dallas 23
Madden (ESPN): N.Y. Giants 29, Dallas 24
The Madden simulation not only predicted the score but also predicted that the Giants would lose a lead only to regain it late in the game.