Trivia and Stats

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The First Time the Bears Visited Dallas

The Dallas Morning News headline for the 1962 game between the Bears and Cowboys. Chicago won, 34-33.

The early history of the Dallas Cowboys is partially intertwined with the Chicago Bears. Chicago selected SMU quarterback Don Meredith in the third round of the 1960 NFL Draft and, thanks to an agreement between George Halas and the Dallas franchise, the Bears traded Meredith to Dallas for a third-round pick in 1962.

Dallas faced the Bears at Wrigley Field in 1960 and lost 17-7. Meredith did not play in that game, and third-stringer Don Heinrich threw the Cowboys’ only touchdown pass.

Two years later, Meredith did play when the Cowboys hosted the Bears for the first time. The game played at the Cotton Bowl turned into a bit of a wild affair. Chicago’s Billy Wade threw for 466 yards, 201 of which went to receiver Johnny Morris, but the Bears could not convert yards into points.

Dallas held a 13-10 lead at halftime thanks to two touchdown passes by Don Meredith. However, the Bears’ Joe Fortunato blocked Allen Green’s first extra-point attempt, which turned out to be critical at game’s end.

Rookie Amos Bullocks gave Dallas a 33-24 lead on a 73-yard touchdown run with nine minutes left in the game. At the time, it was the longest run from scrimmage in the team’s short history.

However, the Bears clawed their way back into the game, as Wade hit Morris on a 45-yard touchdown pass to cut the Dallas lead to 33-31. Then, with just 31 seconds left in the game, Roger LeClerc hit a 15-yard field goal to give Chicago the win.

Had the Cowboys won, they might have pulled out a winning record in 1962. However, the team slid down the stretch, losing five of their last six games to finish with a 5-8-1 record.

The Cowboys have faced the Bears 20 times and have an overall record of 11-9. The teams last played in 2010, when Chicago frustrated Dallas in a 27-20 win for the Bears.

* * *

Incidentally, total attendance for the Cowboys’ opener against Tampa Bay was 81,984, and the numbers may be a bit higher on Monday night.

Total attendance for the 1962 game? 12,692.

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Some Not-So-Positive Statistics

After their opening-game win over the Giants, the Cowboys could boast about some nice offensive and defensive statistics. One week and a poor showing later, and the Cowboys’  stats are not looking so gaudy.

Dallas fell to #11 in total offense, averaging 364.5 over two games. In 2011, the Cowboys finished the season ranked #11 with an average of 375.5 yards per game. Those numbers alone aren’t horrible, but the 2011 statistics are, of course, from an 8-8 season.

Want something horrible? The Cowboys rank #29 in points scored, averaging 15.5 points per game. The only teams with fewer points are the Jaguars, Raiders, and Titans. Of course, keep in mind that Washington, Atlanta, Baltimore, Buffalo, and San Diego averaged 30 or more points in two games, but three of those teams have the same 1-1 record as Dallas.

Thanks largely to the Giants game, the Cowboys rank #28 in penalties, having committed 18 in two games. Those high-scoring Redskins have 23, which is the most after two weeks.

Defensively, the Cowboys rank #9 in yards allowed, giving up 292.0 yards in two games. Not bad.

What’s not good is that the Cowboys are among nine teams without an interception after two games. I know it’s largely only coincidence, but the overall record of those nine teams?

Try 5-13.

Combined record of the four teams leading the league with 5 interceptions?

Try 6-2.

As far as individual statistics, few Cowboys really stand out. One big name that shows up is Sean Lee, who leads the league in tackles with 26.

Tony Romo is just outside the top 10 in several categories. He ranks #11 in ESPN’s QBR.

DeMarco Murray ranks #10 in rushing yards with 175. Former All-American kickoff returner Felix Jones has one carry for one yard.

None of the Dallas receivers are in the top 20 in terms of receptions or receiving yards.

Jason Witten’s injury has obviously affected his play, and he is off to the slowest start in several years. He has only 6 receptions for 68 yards, marking his slowest start since he had 5 receptions for 47 yards in the first two games of the 2005 season.

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Cowboys Rank High in Total Offense and Defense for Week #1

Here’s a quick look at some Dallas Cowboys statistics.

Week #1 of the NFL season featured plenty of offense. Teams averaged a total of 342.2 yards per game, which was just below the league’s average of 346.8 yards per game in 2011 and higher than the average of 336.0 yards per game in 2010.

Ranking high on the list of total yards, for one week at least, were the Cowboys. The team ranked #11 in 2011 with an average of 375.5 yards per game. Against the Giants, the Cowboys finished with 433 total yards, which ranked third among all teams. Only Washington and Philadelphia had higher numbers.

Dallas finished the week with the highest statistics in yards per play, averaging 7.6 yards for each play. Only the Baltimore Ravens averaged at least 7 yards per play last week. In 16 games in 2011, the Cowboys averaged 5.9 yards per play, which ranked #10.

Offensive line remains a concern, of course. Here’s a noteworthy stat: The Dallas line ranks 30th in terms of total experience, as its five starters have started a total of 144 games. The two teams below the Cowboys are the Indianapolis Colts and Seattle Seahawks, the latter of which the Cowboys play on Sunday. Seattle’s starters have started a total of 89 games. Ranking #1 in the experience category is the Detroit line, which features players who have started a total of 528 games.

The Cowboys’ defense gave up only 269 yards on Wednesday and rank #7 in total defense after one week.

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Tony Romo TD Watch

Tony Romo is likely to surpass Troy Aikman in career touchdown passes.

I addressed this briefly before, but Tony Romo is going to wind up owning several team passing records by the time he is finished. The next major mark in his reach is the career record for most TD passes.

In only 78 career starts, Romo has 152 TD passes. That is one behind Roger Staubach and three behind Danny White. Troy Aikman leads the category with 165.

Of course, each of those QBs played in many more games than Romo—165 for Aikman, 166 for White, and 131 for Staubach.

But, of course, Romo played in different era with very different rules than those three.

Below is a complete list of the 45 players who have thrown at least one touchdown pass.

 

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Romo’s Passer Rating vs. the Giants

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 05:  Quarterba...

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – SEPTEMBER 05: Quarterback Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys runs with the ball on his way to throwing a touchdown to wide receiver Kevin Ogletree #85 in the second quarter as he his chased by defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul #90 of the New York Giants during the 2012 NFL season opener at MetLife Stadium on September 5, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

Tony Romo has posted a single-game passer rating of better than 120.0 17 times during his career. He added to that number on Wednesday night, posting a rating of 129.5.

That ranks as his 8th best game in terms of passer rating. Here is a list of those 8 games.

148.9 (vs. Tampa Bay, 2006: 22-29, 306 Yds., 5 TD, 0 Int.)
148.4 (vs. Buffalo, 2011: 23-26, 270 Yds., 3 TD, 0 Int.)
141.7 (vs. Philadelphia, 2007: 20-25, 324 Yds., 3 TD, 1 Int.)
141.6 (vs. Atlanta, 2009: 21-29, 311 Yds., 3 TD, 0 Int.)
141.3 (vs. New York Giants, 2011: 21-31, 321 Yds., 4 TD, 0 Int.)
140.6 (vs. Tampa Bay, 2009: 16-27, 353 Yds., 3 TD, 0 Int.)
133.9 (vs. Tampa Bay, 2011: 23-30, 249 Yds., 3 TD, 0 Int.)
129.5 (vs. New York Giants, 2012: 22-29, 307 Yds., 3 TD, 1 Int.)

Interestingly, it is not his best game against the Giants in this regard. His performance on December 11, 2011 at home against New York was better on paper.

The difference: when the game was on the line against the Giants in 2011, Romo and Miles Austin could not hook up on a pass that would have put the game away.

On Wednesday, with the game on the line, Romo made a great throw to Kevin Ogletree on third down to secure the win.

This list gives us reason to look forward to September 23, when the Cowboys host Tampa Bay. In three starts against the Buccaneers, his total numbers have been 61 completions on 86 attempts for 908 yards with 11 TDs and 0 interceptions. That’s good enough for a three-game passer rating of 144.7.

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A Great Opening Day Game by a Forgotten Cowboy

Dallas receiver Kevin Ogletree managed to change the focus of conversations from “The Cowboys don’t have a third receiver” to “This Ogletree kid looked awfully good. Should I pick him up on waivers for my fantasy team?”

(Eric Karabell at ESPN says yes to the last question. I own Miles Austin in two leagues and would prefer to see better production from #19. That’s a different matter, though).

Anyway, the point of this post isn’t really about Ogletree. It’s about one of the greatest opening-day performances not only in Cowboys history but also in league history. A certain receiver once opened as season by catching 10 passes for 241 yards with 3 TDs, two of which were on pass plays of longer than 50 yards. For those scoring at home, that’s 42.1 fantasy points in most standard leagues and 52.1 points in PPR leagues.

Of course, fantasy points were quite irrelevant to this player, who was not Bob Hayes, Drew Pearson, or Michael Irvin.

The player was Frank Clarke. His 3 TDs helped the Cowboys to a 35-35 tie with the Washington Redskins on opening day in 1962. Those 241 receiving yards are the most by any receiver on opening day in league history, according to a post today at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Of course, without the  fantasy football implications of today, reference to Clarke’s performance did not appear until the ninth paragraph of Charles Burton’s story in the Dallas Morning News:

The tie score obscured a brilliant day of pass receiving and running by Frank Clarke, the veteran wingback, who caught the ball 10 times, made the catches worth 241 yards and three touchdowns.

Incidentally, Clarke had some other monster games for the Cowboys. He had two games in 1963 alone where he had more than 150 receiving yards, including an 8-reception, 190-yard performance against the San Francisco 49ers.

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Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Trivia

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 24:  Quarterback Tony...

ARLINGTON, TX – DECEMBER 24: Quarterback Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys walks off the field after the Dallas Cowboys lost to the Philadelphia Eagles 20-7 at Cowboys Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. Romo hurt his right hand in the first quarter and sat out the rest of the game. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

While awaiting Wednesday’s game against the Giants, here are a few trivia items about past and current Cowboy quarterbacks.

 

The Cowboys went through a number of backup quarterbacks during the 1990s, but the team also enjoyed the lengthy service of starter Troy Aikman and a backup named Jason Garrett. Although he was often the third-stringer, Garrett lasted in Dallas for seven years, playing in 25 games and starting 9. He had a 6-3 record as a starter.

Do you know how many Dallas quarterbacks have played more than four seasons since 2000, which was Aikman’s last year in the NFL?

One. Tony Romo is entering his 8th year with Dallas. Thirteen other quarterbacks have played at least one game for the Cowboys since 2000, and only Romo has lasted longer than four seasons. Clint Stoerner was a backup during four seasons but only played in six games.

Three QBs lasted three seasons, and among these were Jon Kitna and Stephen McGee. Both were on the team last year, but Kitna retired and McGee was released on Saturday.

The only other QB to last at least three seasons during that time was Quincy Carter.

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New backup QB Kyle Orton is playing for his fourth NFL team in 2012. He has not lasted more than three season at any previous stop (Chicago, Denver, Kansas City).

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Barring injury, Romo will move up to #2 on the team’s all-time list for passing yards. He needs 1,125 yards to pass Danny White and 1,866 to pass Roger Staubach.

Do you know what his career QB rating is compared with the other Cowboy greats?

With Romo’s career rating of 96.9, it’s not even close. Staubach’s career rating was 83.4, which was better than White (81.7), Aikman (81.6), or any of the others. Romo’s is 96.9.

In fact, Romo had the highest rating of his career in 2011, posting a mark of 102.5 despite the team’s numerous problems.

* * *

It is very possible that Romo will finish the season with the most career TDs in team history. He has 149 right now and will need 17 to surpass Aikman. He needs only 7 to surpass both White and Staubach.

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Dallas Cowboys Quote Trivia, Part 1

Click here for more posts featuring quote trivia and history of the team in quotes.

New idea for an off-season series: Quote Trivia.

The idea is that I will find various quotes and will post quizzes about those quotes.

I don’t have Fred Goodwin’s collection of Cowboys books (see his Dallas Cowboys Books Blog on Facebook or his Q&A pieces on AllExperts.com), but mine isn’t bad. My sources for today’s quizzes are old issues of the Dallas Morning News, but I will get into the books soon.

"We would expect something. After all, we went as far as we did because we were assured of a franchise." Question: Who made this statement?





"I believe that today . . . it's difficult to get the great corner backs from the draft who can cover man for man. [Before 1960] we could come up with two top cornerbacks, but over the years we've beeen unable to do this because the talent has been spread out among too many different teams." When did Tom Landry make this statement?





"Just about everywhere I went last week people were talking about the film, or the book. This included the Cowboys' No. 1 draft choice, Randy White, who didn't talk much at all." Bob St. John wrote this in the Dallas Morning News. About which movie (and book) was he referring?







Cowboys Look to Retain Special Teams Coach Joe DeCamillis

The significant news today was that the Cowboys refused to allow the Oakland Raiders to interview special-teams coach Joe DeCamillis, who has been with the team since 2009.

Dallas didn’t have some of the special teams gaffes compared with last year, when the coverage units often struggled. The Cowboys ranked 5th in average yards allowed per kickoff return (21.4 yds/return on 52 kickoffs) and 14th on average yards allowed per punt (9.3 yds./return on 30 punt returns). The team did not give up a return touchdown on special teams.

However, the return units didn’t provide much of a benefit.

The Cowboys tied with three other teams for 20th in average return yards per return with 23.3 yards (the Giants and Rams were the other two teams). Dallas was worse on punt returns, averaging only 7.1 yards per return, which tied for 27th in 2011.

Dallas was among 12 teams that did not record either a kickoff return or a punt return for a touchdown. The Cowboys had three punt returns for touchdowns in 2010 but have not returned a kickoff for a touchdown since Felix Jones returned one against the Eagles during week 2 of the 2008 season.

Mat McBriar Quiz

The Cowboys are reportedly hopeful that Mat McBriar will not only recover from knee surgery, but also that he will remain with the team.

He has played 102 games with the Cowboys between 2004 and 2011, which ranks third among punters in team history behind Danny White (145 games as a punter) and Mike Saxon (124 games). McBriar’s career average of 45.3 yards per kick is the highest in franchise history.

Below is a quiz with five questions about McBriar.


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