2010 Season

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Jacksonville 35, Dallas 17: So Many Levels of Incompetence

We had more than a bit of envy towards those who were attending the World Series tonight rather than the mess at Cowboys Stadium.

Believe it or not, watching the 2010 Cowboys play live is more painful than watching it on television. I guess the option of hitting the “Off” button is tempting at home but isn’t available at Cowboys Stadium.

To make matters worse, the walk from Cowboys Stadium through the Rangers parking lot to where we parked felt like some sort of bizarre walk of shame. I’m not sure why that was the case, but the only shame is that I didn’t sink all the money I put towards the Cowboys into trying to find World Series tickets.

Enough talk about talent on this Dallas team. I bet I could count 20 instances during the pregame and postgame radio shows where someone mentioned talent. Wade Phillips even mentioned it in his postgame press conference. This defensive secondary may have a couple of talented individuals, but this is not a talented secondary. The fact is that this team does not have a talented unit, even if some players have been pretty good as recently as last year. The offensive line is in shambles and couldn’t move the Jacksonville defense a single inch at what was probably the only critical juncture of the game. Receivers gained yards but also bobbled passes, causing three interceptions. The defensive front seven seldom generated pressure and could not stop the run.

This team has the talent of a 4-12 football team, and that assumes that the Cowboys can go 3-6 in their final nine games. I’m not sure they can.

Dallas needed a strong jump out of the gate. The Cowboys took a 3-0 lead before the special teams and defense showed their stuff. Jacksonville returned the Dallas kickoff  to the Jaguar 37. Five plays generated 10, 2, 23, 23, and 10 yards, with the last gain giving Jacksonville a 7-3 lead. The Jaguars would not trail again.

The Cowboys moved the ball into Jacksonville territory on the next drive thanks to a 29-yard pass from Jon Kitna to Dez Bryant. On the next play, Kitna surprised Felix Jones by hitting Jones right the numbers, and defensive lineman Terrance Knighton caught the ball on the deflection.

Jacksonville drove from the Jaguar 39 to the Dallas 15, but Victor Butler was able to get to David Garrard and caused Garrard to fumble. It was a very close play, but when it was upheld on replay, it should have given the Cowboys a spark. Dallas moved the ball to the Jacksonville 21, but rookie guard Phil Costa was called for holding, backing Dallas up to the 29. On the next play, Miles Austin saw a pass bounce off his hands, and Derek Cox caught the ball off the deflection. Goodbye momentum.

Four plays later, the score was 14-3 thanks to a 42-yard TD pass from Garrard to Marcedes Lewis, who burned Bradie James on a deep seam pattern.

The Cowboys weren’t quite out of it, but a sequence at the end of the first half ruined any chance for a comeback. Dallas moved the ball to the Jacksonville 18. On a third-and-seven, Kitna hit Bryant on the sideline, and a review later revealed the Bryant caught the ball at the 9. Kitna appeared to hit Austin for a touchdown, but Austin couldn’t get his second foot down. On second down, Kitna scrambled to his left and nearly scored, getting the ball inside the one.

The Cowboys had two plays to get less than a yard. In fact, the Cowboys needed literally a few inches to score on the second play. Dallas went to Marion Barber, who gets paid for this type of run. After failing on a third-down run, Dallas tried a run up the middle again on fourth down. Kitna turned the wrong way and ran into Barber, left tackle Doug Free was knocked on his butt, and the Cowboys didn’t gain an inch. The Cowboys thus went into halftime without scoring any more than the first three points.

Six minutes into the third quarter, the score was 28-3. Kitna saw another pass bounce off a receiver’s hands, as Roy Williams’ hands failed him and the ball fell into Cox’s hands. Meanwhile, Jacksonville easily scored on touchdown drives of 83 and 33 yards. The Dallas secondary hardly provided any resistance, and the game frankly wasn’t worth watching. In between the boos were chants of “Let’s Go Ran-gers!”

Garrard is not an efficient quarterback. Against Dallas, though, he was other-worldly, completing 17 of 21 passes for 260 yards and 4 TDs. That’s a QB rating of 157.8, which is the highest rating any quarterback has ever had against the Cowboys. Maurice Jones-Drew gained 135 yards in 27 carries. Mike Sims-Walker caught eight passes for 153 yards.

Some of the Cowboys had decent stats, but these stats were largely meaningless. Austin’s drop that led to a pick was far more costly than his 117 receiving yards were helpful. That three-headed rushing attack that needed to come to life? Felix Jones led the team with 22 yards on eight attempts. Overall, Dallas had 50 yards on the ground.

This team isn’t going to beat the Packers or the Giants in the next two weeks. And I hardly look forward to seeing the team play the Lions on November 21, though at least we won’t have to be worried about being heckled by Ranger fans.

Predictions for Week 8: It Must Be Halloween

Can't get tickets to see the Bears or Rangers quite so easily, so we might as well go watch the Cowboys.

For six years, I had season tickets to Baylor football games. On a Friday night during one of those years, I attended a Class 1A semifinal game featuring teams from towns with combined populations of less than 4,000. The next day, I saw the Bears play Oklahoma State. There were more fans at the Class 1A playoff game than there were at the Baylor game on Saturday. The last time I saw Baylor play Texas at Floyd Casey Stadium was 2005, when the Longhorns trounced the Bears 62-0.

During the summers, my son and I have made several trips to Arlington to see the Rangers. We typically had left field to ourselves.

This evening, I recorded two games on my DVR. In the first, the Rangers jumped out to a 3-0 lead thanks to a Mitch Moreland home run, and Texas held on to beat the Giants 4-2. During the same time, Baylor overcame a slow start and amazingly knocked off Texas at Austin. Very hard to believe either that the Rangers would be in the World Series or that Baylor would be 7-2 having beaten Texas, but there is evidence of it on my DVR.

As for the Dallas Cowboys—you know, the focus of this blog—ticket prices have fallen so far that we may just go to each of the remaining home games. If you look on Stubhub right, you can get two upper-level tickets for as low as $11 each. Beer costs more.

So for the first regular season game I will attend this year, the Cowboys are once again favored to win. Simulations at both AccuScore and What If Sports favor Dallas, but the Madden simulation predicts a Jacksonville win.

AccuScore: Dallas 22, Jacksonville 17

In AccuScore’s simulations, Jon Kitna took care of the ball for the most part, and Dallas won 66% of the time.

The Dallas Cowboys are a solid favorite with a 66% chance to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars. Felix Jones is projected for 62 rushing yards and a 34% chance of having at least 1 rushing TD. In the 34% of simulations where Jacksonville Jaguars wins, David Garrard averages 1.17 TD passes vs 0.41 interceptions, while in losses he has a ratio of 0.82 TDs to 0.82 interceptions. Maurice Jones-Drew averages 71 rushing yards and 0.62 rushing TDs when Jacksonville Jaguars wins and 44 yards and 0.28 TDs in losses. The Dallas Cowboys has a 45% chance of forcing more turnovers than they commit. Positive turnover margin helps them win 86% of the time.

What If Sports: Dallas 28, Jacksonville 20

The results were even more lopsided at What If Sports, as Dallas won 71.7% of the simulations by an average score of 28-20. As was the case with the AccuScore simulations, Kitna threw for more than 250 yards and only averaged one interception.

Madden: Jacksonville 21, Dallas 17

Sadly, this wouldn’t shock me:

Can Jon Kitna rescue the season for Dallas? Stranger things have happened, and it looked possible for 2  quarters against the Jaguars (at least in our “Madden” simulation). But that’s when things started to fall apart for the Cowboys: Kitna threw two second-half interceptions, including a pick-six, as the Jaguars stormed back from an early deficit for a 21-17 win.

N.Y. Giants 41, Dallas 35: Six Feet Under

Tony Romo may miss the rest of the 2010 season with a broken collarbone.

Here’s a trivia question: when was the last time the Dallas Cowboys started at 1-5?

Anyway, the Cowboys pretended to play like a football team with some fight in it. Terence Newman and Gerald Sensabaugh both picked of Eli Manning early in the first quarter, and the picks set up 10 Dallas points.

The real Dallas defense then showed up. Newman couldn’t bring down Hakeem Nicks, who moved the ball from the Dallas 33 to the Dallas 9. Two plays later, the Cowboys secondary became confused, and Sensabaugh was lined up on Nicks. Manning just tossed up up an easy pass to Nicks, who cut the Dallas lead to 10-7.

The Cowboys showed more life by recovering a fumble by Ahmad Bradshaw. But with 12:07 left in the second quarter, Michael Boley came in untouched on a blitz and put Tony Romo into the ground. The impact broke Romo’s clavicle and may have ended the quarterback’s season. Fortunately, Romo completed his last pass to Miles Austin, putting Dallas into field goal range. David Buehler’s kick extended the Dallas lead to 13-7.

After forcing a three-and-out, Dez Bryant took a punt return 93 yards for a touchdown to increase the lead to 20-7.

From there, Wade Phillips’ defense was virtually invisible. The Giants scored 17 points in the final 4:22 to take a 24-20 lead. Complete incompetence is the only way to describe it, as Dallas couldn’t generate a pass rush, couldn’t tackle, and couldn’t cover. Meanwhile, Kitna couldn’t complete a pass, and the Dallas rushing game could barely get back to the line of scrimmage.

Dallas cut the lead to six late in the fourth quarter, allowing Dallas to avoid complete humiliation. Of course, starting this season 1-5 is complete humiliation, so it was hard to get too excited.

Incidentally, the last time the Cowboys started at 1-5 was 1963 during a season in which the team was supposed to compete for the Eastern Conference title. The team that gave the Cowboys their fifth loss? The Giants, led by 37-year-old Y.A. Tittle, who threw for 279 yards and four touchdowns in a 37-21 New York win.

Start the “Fire Wade” Chants

This season is lost. The Cowboys are a joke.

There are just over five minutes left in the third quarter of the Cowboys-Giants game. That gives fans in attendance 20 game minutes to start the “Fire Wade” chants. This season was lost before the game started, but this game shows beyond any doubt that this is just a bad football team.

This was a game that Dallas led 20-7. At that point, the defense completely fell apart. Sure, Tony Romo will be out for several games with a broken clavicle, but he doesn’t play defense.

Of course, if he did play defense, he couldn’t have done any worse than Orlando Scandrick in stopping Steve Smith. And Romo might have figured out that the strong safety was lined up on Hakeem Nicks.

Funny moment with 7:50 left in the third quarter: Let’s see if the Cowboys can get a stop here on third and five. Result: Of course not; nobody was near Nicks, who picked up the first down with no problem at all.

Offensively, Jason Garrett is showing that he should follow Wade out the same door. Backup QB Jon Kitna can’t complete a pass. The Cowboys are struggling to get back to the line of scrimmage in the running game. That is the Dallas offense right now.

Joke does not even begin to cover this. I’m really just venting.

Predictions Somehow Favor Cowboys Over the Giants

Tony Romo and the Cowboys hope to avoid the team's first 1-5 start since 1989 on Monday night.

Please excuse this blog for its blogger’s complete lack of faith in the Dallas Cowboys.

The stupid, bumbling, and disciplined-as-my-10-year-old’s-junior-league-team Dallas Cowboys hope to avoid the franchise’s first 1-5 start since 1989 by beating the New York Giants at Cowboys Stadium on Monday Night Football. Almost inexplicably, two of the simulators below along with several commentators think the Cowboys will do it.

Super. Go Rangers. And Sic ‘Em Bears.

Madden Simulator: Dallas 23, N.Y. Giants 20

The producers of the Madden series must really like the Cowboys, because yet again, the game predicts a Dallas win.

When the 1-4 Cowboys take on the 4-2 Giants, Dallas needs to play with the kind of desperation that comes with their season being on the line. That’s exactly what happened in the “Madden” simulation, as the Cowboys finally play with the type of fire and ferocity that their talent level should dictate, including a 10-catch, 156-yard performance by Miles Austin to help the Cowboys beat their division rivals, 23-20.

Player of the Game: Miles Austin

AccuScore: Dallas 26, N.Y. Giants 22

The Cowboys won 63.1% of AccuScore’s simulations by an average score of 26.3 to 22.2.

The Dallas Cowboys are a solid favorite with a 63% chance to beat the New York Giants. Felix Jones is projected for 71 rushing yards and a 35% chance of having at least 1 rushing TD. In the 37% of simulations where New York Giants wins, Eli Manning averages 1.9 TD passes vs 0.45 interceptions, while in losses he has a ratio of 1.4 TDs to 0.91 interceptions. Ahmad Bradshaw averages 73 rushing yards and 0.66 rushing TDs when New York Giants wins and 47 yards and 0.31 TDs in losses. The Dallas Cowboys has a 43% chance of forcing more turnovers than they commit. Positive turnover margin helps them win 86% of the time.

WhatIfSports: N.Y. Giants 20, Dallas 18

This one is less of a surprise, though the WhatIfSports’ simulations predict that the Cowboys will only commit one turnover against New York. David Buehler averaged one missed field goal per game, and if the margin is this close, that miss would cost the Cowboys yet another game.

Perhaps the Cowboys have a shot at winning this, and any win over a division rival is a good win. That said, it’s really tough to get excited about the possibility of the victory or even a short run back to the .500 mark.

Minnesota 24, Dallas 21: Hey Cowboys, Why Not Let the Fans Shoot Your Feet?

The Cowboys are league leaders in excessive celebration penalties. Awesome.

These game summaries are getting kind of easy to write—just find the dumbass plays that the cost the Cowboys another game and start the list.

Let’s start with the dumbass celebrations. Members of this team go nuts after making a one-yard run for a first down in the team’s own territory. This team celebrates wildly when a receiver makes a catch for a first down on a seven-yard slant.

Now just imagine the celebration when someone actually scores. Roy Williams made a very nice play in the first quarter on a touchdown reception that gave the Cowboys an early 7-0 lead. The team might have remembered that the celebrations effectively lost the game against the Titans last week. Perhaps someone could stress that the players should act like they have been there before. But Miles Austin goes to celebrates and leaps over Williams, drawing a 15-yard penalty.

I don’t give a damn if the call was questionable. It was stupid that that team doesn’t know better than to avoid such a call in the first place. The penalty meant that the Cowboys had to kick from their own 15.

Remember that athlete named David Buehler who could nail the ball five yards deep or more on every kickoff? That guy has been replaced by a guy who can’t get the ball to the goalline. The same guy tried hard to kick deep from his own 15, but instead he kicked it out of bounds, giving Minnesota the ball at the 45.

Yes, the Dallas defense stopped the Vikings, but the Vikings pinned the Cowboys deep on the next drive. Almost predictably, Tony Romo threw a pick that led to the Vikings’ first touchdown.

Dallas played a good first half other than that. Of course, giving the Cowboys credit for anything almost necessarily means the team will do something that will completely ruin the momentum. Percy Harvin returned the second-half kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown to tie the game.  I don’t know who blew the assignment, but Harvin had a lane up the middle of the field that looked like an entrance ramp.

Oh, and Dallas never led again.

The Cowboys went nowhere on offense. The Vikings pinned the Cowboys deep after a Minnesota drive, and the Cowboys again went nowhere. The Vikings took the lead by scoring with less than a minute left in the third quarter.

No, the Cowboys didn’t quit. Romo hit Dez Bryant on a 31-yard touchdown to tie the game. Dallas then stopped the Vikings cold, and Bryant appeared to return the ball into Minnesota territory.

Oh, but Alan Ball stupidly pulled down one of the gunners and drew the holding penalty. The call moved the ball all the way back to the Dallas 14. Romo pulled his fourth-quarter magic and threw yet another pick.

And Minnesota kicked the field goal to take the lead.

And the Cowboys went nowhere on offense.

And the Cowboys appeared to stop the Vikings with just over two minutes left, but Mike Jenkins was called for pass interference. It was Jenkins’ second pass interference call of the day and the fourth in his past two games.

I’ve said enough here without using other four-letter words. This season is over. Click here to check the longbow reviews by ShootingAuthority.com.

Cowboys-Vikings Predictions: Minnesota Nips Dallas in the Desperation Bowl

Unlike last season, Roy Williams hasn't dropped many of these this year. Hopefully, he can help Dallas against Minnesota on Sunday.

The Cowboys have only played a quarter of their schedule this year, and already they are playing in what has been dubbed the Desperation Bowl. Dallas has tended to play well under Wade Phillips when the team’s backs have been up against the wall, but with injuries (and incompetence) piling up on the offensive line, it’s not looking great.

One key to the game that is consistent among nearly everyone’s opinion:

Dallas needs to play smart football: The Cowboys have committed more fouls than the average in most categories, but not by a large number. The problem has been when they have committed the fouls. They have come at the most inopportune times — killing a drive, taking points off the scoreboard or giving the offense horrible field position. This is a relatively veteran team that should play smarter football.

Below are the predictions.

AccuScore: Minnesota 24, Dallas 23

The Vikings won 52% of the 10,000 simulations on AccuScore. According to these simulations, turnovers could play a key role in the game.

AccuScore is forecasting a close game with the Dallas Cowboys winning 47% of simulations, and the Minnesota Vikings 52% of simulations. In close games, turnover margin is especially important. The Dallas Cowboys commit fewer turnovers in 32% of simulations and they go on to win 77% when they take care of the ball. The Minnesota Vikings wins 67% of the simulations in which they commit fewer turnovers. Tony Romo is averaging 256 passing yards per sim. If he can have a great game with better than average passing yards and at least a 2 to 1 TD to INT ratio (37% chance) then he helps his team win 51%. Adrian Peterson is averaging 83 rushing yards per sim. If he can have a great game with better than average rushing yards and at least a 1 rushing TD (37% chance) then he helps his team win 72%.

WhatIfSports: Minnesota 26, Dallas 22

The WhatIfSports simulations were even more one-sided than the AccuScore predictions, as the Vikings won 59% of the games. Randy Moss only averaged 69 receiving yards, but Adrian Peterson gained more than 100 rushing yards on average. The simulations had Felix Jones carrying the bulk of the load.

Madden Simulation: Dallas 24, Minnesota 20

At least one of the simulators had the Cowboys winning, as Dallas knocked off Minnesota on Madden.

Talk about a must-win game for both teams. Despite the Cowboys and Vikings being talked about as possible Super Bowl contenders, both have started the season 1-3. Make that 1-4 for the Vikings as Brett Favre continues to slump, throwing three interceptions in the second half to help the Cowboys come back in the final minutes for a 24-20 win.

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Just curious: when was the last time the Cowboys tried anything like this?

I realize that Mat McBriar is no Danny White in terms of athleticism, but when was the last time the Cowboys tried a fake anything?

Incidentally, that run was from the 1977 NFC Championship Game vs. Minnesota.

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After four games, Tony Romo is on pace to complete 476 passes on 696 attempts for 5,384 yards with 28 TDs and 20 interceptions. The attempts, completions, and yards would each established an NFL record. Here are the current NFL marks in those three categories:

Completions: 440 (Drew Brees, Saints, 2007)

Attempts: 691 (Drew Bledsoe, Patriots, 1994)

Yards: 5,084 (Dan Marino, Dolphins, 1984)

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Miles Austin is likewise on pace to shatter some team records. If he remained on course, he would have 124 receptions for 1896 yards. The yardage mark would break Jerry Rice’s record of 1,848 set in 1995 with the 49ers. The reception mark would trail Marvin Harrison’s 143 catches in 2002 with the Colts, but Austin’s number would be the second-most in league history.

Friday’s Filler Video: Shango Coaches the Dallas Defense

I had this idea to write a positive piece about the Cowboys, but then I read…

a. Even Mickey Spagnola wrote a post that was kind of negative.

b. The Cowboys released yet another of their draft picks from 2009 by cutting Robert Brewster.

c. Commentators have already proclaimed that the Cowboys’ season is done, and I don’t have the energy to debate them.

So forget it. Below the best video I could find on YouTube: Shango coaches the Dallas defense.

Classic– “Jason, I’m making a defensive video.  Do not bother me when I’m making a defensive video.”

What I’m really hoping he makes is something like this:

Tennessee 34, Dallas 27: Wanna Get Away?

This about sums up the Cowboys' 2010 season so far.

This is the second consecutive year that I’ve taken a trip to St. Louis and had to watch the Cowboys find a way to lose a game while I watched at the airport terminal. Last year, the Cowboys couldn’t hold on to a 10-0 lead and fell to the Broncos 17-10. This year, Dallas managed to make every possible mistake in a 34-27 defeat to the Tennessee Titans.

My airline? Southwest.

The slogan?

Wanna Get Away?

It’s a good theme for this season so far.

Wanna get away, Mike Jenkins?

Jenkins was called for pass interference twice on the Titans’ opening drive, giving Tennessee 48 yards. Vince Young’s touchdown pass to Nate Washington gave the Titans a 7-0 lead.

Wanna get away, Stephen Bowen?

The Titans took a 10-3 lead early in the second quarter. On a third-down play from the Dallas 47, it appeared that the Cowboys had forced a punt. However, Bowen was called for illegal hands to the face, giving the Titans a first down. Tennessee scored a touchdown on the drive to take a 17-3 lead.

Wanna get away, entire Dallas offensive line?

With Dallas trailing 17-3, the Cowboys moved the ball to the Titan 34. From there, Tony Romo was sacked for a nine-yard loss, and on the next play, Marc Columbo was called for unnecessary roughness. By the time the Cowboys punted, the team was back at its own 45. Leonard Davis was benched in the game because he could not slow down the Titans’ inside pass rush.

Wanna get away, David Buehler?

The Cowboys managed to tie the game at 17 early in the third quarter, thanks to an amazing play by Miles Austin. Dallas drove down to the Tennessee 19 before Romo was sacked yet again. Buehler attempted a 44-yard field goal but missed right.

Wanna get away, Tony Romo?

With the game still tied at 17, Romo moved the team from its own 9 to the Tennessee 21. Romo decided to fire the ball to Martellus Bennett even though there were four Titans players around. The ball was tipped and picked off in the end zone.

The teams were tied at 20 when they exchanged field goals midway through the first half. With an opportunity to take control of the game, Romo attempted a pass from his own 16. The ball was tipped at the line, and Alterraun Verner picked it off. Chris Johnson’s touchdown gave the Titans a 27-20 lead.

Wanna get away, Jason Witten and Marc Columbo?

Witten went from being a hero to a complete jackass within about five seconds. After scoring a touchdown to tie the game, he flipped the ball to Columbo to allow the lineman to spike the ball. Then the two engaged in a chest-bump that caused Columbo to fall to the ground. Columbo’s fall led to a 15-yard penalty that was enforced on the kickoff.

Wanna get away, kickoff coverage unit?

Buehler kicked the ensuing kickoff from his own 15 to the Tennessee 15. Nine members of the coverage unit wound up on the right side of the field. Mike Mariani turned to his right, where only Alan Ball and David Buehler were. Buehler managed to push Mariani out of bounds, but Buehler also grabbed Mariani’s facemask.

Romo had two chances to tie the game, but the team turned the ball over on downs on one series and Romo threw a pick during the second series.

The total yardage sure looked impressive. Romo threw for 406 yards with three TDs and three picks. Felix Jones rushed for 109 yards on 15 carries. Miles Austin caught nine passes for 166 yards and a touchdown.

None of this mattered. This is just a stupid football team that has managed to lose three games this year with dumb mistakes.

Monday’s Trivia and Other Drool

Roy Williams had his second 100-yard day as a Dallas receiver on Sunday. Against which team in 2009 did he also gain more than 100 receiving yards?

Mat McBriar averaged 53.5 yards on two punts on Sunday. Without regard to his total number of punts, in how many games did he average at least 50 yards per punt in 2009?

Reports indicate that Kyle Kosier could be out for two to four weeks with a knee sprain. His backup is Montrae Holland, who started the opening game. Holland was a starter with Denver in 2007. Before that, with which team did he begin his career?

Of the players named Williams who serve as backup linebackers, which was not active against Houston?

Tony Romo threw his first NFL pass against Houston in 2006. Who caught that pass?

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The 2006 win over the Texans came four years after the Cowboys had lost to Houston in the Texans’ first game ever. Thus, there was quite a bit of pressure on the Cowboys to pull out the win. Dallas trailed 6-3 at the half but dominated in the second half. As they did in 2010, the Cowboys forced three turnovers and did not give up the ball. It was Drew Bledsoe’s next-to-last start, and he threw two touchdown passes with no picks.

* * *

Anthony Spencer came up huge on a goal-line stand early in the fourth quarter. Read this post at Cowboys Nation for analysis.

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DeMarcus Ware did not have a three-sack game at all in 2009. His last three-sack game came in 2008 against Seattle. He has never had more than three sacks in a game.

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Keith Brooking recorded his first sack of 2010. He had three sacks in 2009 and now has 21 in his 13-year career.

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The great George Blanda passed away today. Given that he played with Houston and Oakland in the AFL from 1960 to 1969, he never played against Dallas during those years. His only game against the Cowboys came in the season finale of 1974. Dallas was already out of the playoffs, and Oakland had nothing to play for. Oakland coach John Madden sat starting QB Ken Stabler in the second half, and Blanda came in long enough to throw four passes in a 27-23 Oakland win. Blanda played one more season after that.