Instant Scratch-Off Trivia: An Abbreviated Christmas Eve Edition

Merry Christmas to everyone. Most of the talk surrounding the Cowboys has focused on: (1) how much effort the Cowboys should put into winning next Sunday’s game against Washington; (2) how much playing time can we expect to see from Tony Romo and other starters; (3) whether Terry Glenn can have an impact when he returns; and (4) a lot of talk for talking sake. There’s plenty of time to discuss all of this, so I’ll make this short.

Question #1: How many points do the Cowboys need next Sunday against Washington to break the franchise record for points in a season?


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A side note: the Cowboys twice averaged more than 30 points per game when the length of the season was 14 games: 1966, 31.8 points per game (445 total) and 1968, 30.8 points per game (431 total).

Question #2: When was the last time that the Cowboys ended the regular season by playing at Washington?


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* * *

This blog isn’t known for much, other than the 1986 Christmas video perhaps. Almost has to become an annual deal to post it here.

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A Thank You Note to Chicago

I’m not sure whether to thank the Chicago Bears or the Chicago weather, but either way, the Cowboys secured home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs with their win on Saturday and Green Bay’s 35-7 loss to the Bears on Sunday. The win gives Terrell Owens three weeks to rest his ankle. Moreover, a number of other starters, including Tony Romo and Terence Newman, may also miss next week’s game against the Redskins.

The NFL first started seeding teams for the conference playoffs in 1975. Since that time, the Cowboys have had home field advantage four times, winning the Super Bowl at the end of three of those seasons– 1977, 1993, and 1995. The other season was 1979, when the Cowboys lost 21-19 to the L.A. Rams.

Thanks to the Boston Herald, here is a complete list of the NFC’s top seeds since 1975, along with each team’s performance.

# 1975 — Rams-Lost NFC Championship
# 1976 — Vikings-Lost Super Bowl
# 1977 — Cowboys-Won Super Bowl
# 1978 — Rams-Lost NFC Championship
# 1979 — Cowboys-Lost Div. playoff
# 1980 — Falcons-Lost Div. playoff
# 1981 — 49ers-Won Super Bowl
# 1982 — Redskins-Won Super Bowl
# 1983 — Redskins-Lost Super Bowl
# 1984 — 49ers-Won Super Bowl
# 1985 — Bears-Won Super Bowl
# 1986 — NY Giants-Won Super Bowl
# 1987 — 49ers-Lost Div. playoff
# 1988 — Bears-Lost NFC Championship
# 1989 — 49ers-Won Super Bowl
# 1990 — 49ers-Lost NFC Championship
# 1991 — Redskins-Won Super Bowl
# 1992 — 49ers-Lost NFC Championship
# 1993 — Cowboys-Won Super Bowl
# 1994 — 49ers-Won Super Bowl
# 1995 — Cowboys-Won Super Bowl
# 1996 — Packers-Won Super Bowl
# 1997 — 49ers-Lost NFC Championship
# 1998 — Vikings-Lost NFC Championship
# 1999 — St.L Rams-Won Super Bowl
# 2000 — NY Giants-Lost Super Bowl
# 2001 — St.L Rams-Lost Super Bowl
# 2002 — Eagles-Lost NFC Championship
# 2003 — Eagles-Lost NFC Championship
# 2004 — Eagles-Lost Super Bowl
# 2005 — Seahawks-Lost Super Bowl
# 2006 — Bears-Lost Super Bowl

More than half of the NFL’s top seeds have advanced to the Super Bowl, with just over a quarter winning the title. Here are those stats:

* Seasons of playoff seeding: 33
* Total No. 1 Seeds: 66
* Super Bowl winners: 19 (28.8 percent)
* Super Bowl Losers: 17 (25.8 percent)
* Super Bowl Participants: 36 (54.5 percent)
* Did Not Make Super Bowl: 30 (45.5 percent)

* * *

According to the Dallas Cowboys official site, Jerry Jones says that Terry Glenn has an outstanding chance to play in the season finale against Washington.

* * *

More on Owens’ injury from Mickey Spagnola:

Yes, Owens suffered the dreaded high ankle sprain. The good news is X-rays were negative. Nothing is broken. Sunday’s MRI basically confirmed the high ankle sprain and gave the Cowboys a better idea of the severity of the injury.

While Phillips and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones are hopeful this is not a long-term injury, the MRI suggests the injury would at least sideline Owens for the season-ending game at Washington, and that, even though the Cowboys already have earned a first-round playoff bye and would not play until Jan. 12-13, getting back in time for that first playoff game might be quite iffy.

In a release Sunday afternoon, just after the Bears dispatched the Packers (12-3) to secure home field for the Cowboys, who basically have a two-game lead over Green Bay with one to play, the club listed Owens as “week to week.” That does not sound quite as encouraging as “day to day.”

With nothing but the best single-season record in club history at stake next Sunday in Washington, Owens now will have three full weeks to heal before he will be asked to play another game. But how quickly Owens’ left ankle swelled up and how much had the team doctors concerned. That normally is a sign of a significant injury, likely to multiple ligaments.

No one really knows how soon he’ll be ready to play again, although on a much merrier note, Jones said he expected Terry Glenn to make his 2007 debut against the Redskins in the season finale.

“Not sure how long,” said Owens, leaving the stadium wearing a red Santa Claus cap. “I’m day to day. God is good, and it could have been worse. I know my body . . . all right, Merry Christmas.”

Cowboys 20, Panthers 13: Feels Better Than a High Ankle Sprain


This is the type of win that will likely drop the Cowboys in a few power ranking polls, but it really doesn’t matter. The Cowboys came off a week of distractions in the form of injuries and off-the-field matters to pull out a tough road victory that turned out to be very important. The 20-13 win reduces the Cowboys’ magic number for home field advantage throughout the playoffs to one. This means we are now big fans of Chicago and Detroit…and we still hate Washington.

With Terrell Owens, the Cowboys jumped out to a 14-0 lead. He was injured in the Cowboys’ second touchdown drive. Without him, Dallas struggled to score six more points. Latest news I’ve heard is that he suffered a high ankle sprain and will probably be out until the playoffs. The focus now shifts to Patrick Crayton and Sam Hurd, and the possibility of Terry Glenn returning may be more of a necessity than it was before.

Incidentally, I did not have access to NFL Network during the game, and being in St. Louis for the holiday, I could not listen to the Cowboys’ broadcast over the air. I was thus forced to flip back and forth between the Cowboys’ broadcast on Field Pass (which is usually about 30 seconds off of the live action), the NFL.com Game Center, and the parts of the game that were streamed over NFL.com. Dear NFL: To heck with your network.

Some notes from the game:

* Tony Romo dropped the first snap of the game, which sure looked like an omen, given the injured thumb and the backup center.
* For the first quarter and a half, the Cowboys really shut down the Panther offense. Carolina managed two first downs on its first three possessions.
* Marion Barber looked as if he would make sure that the starters could rest. His legs provided the muscle that moved the Cowboys 75 yards in 4:13 during the second quarter to set up their second touchdown. However, on that drive, Owens suffered the ankle injury while catching a pass on 3rd and 3 from the Carolina 9. That was the last time we saw T.O. during the evening.
* Although T.O. plays neither on defense or on special teams, the Cowboys’ other units fell apart briefly. Once again, the kickoff coverage unit gave Carolina the ball in great field position (near the 40 following a return by tight end Jeff King on a short kickoff after the second Dallas touchdown). The defense then gave up on a long run to DeAngelo Williams, setting up Matt Moore’s first career touchdown pass to Steve Smith.
* Dallas managed a field goal after the Carolina touchdown to extend the lead to 17-7, and then Anthony Henry picked off Moore to set up another Dallas drive late in the half. However, the Cowboys could not get into field goal range before the half.
* The Cowboys’ defense made a good stop on the Panthers’ opening drive of the second half. After moving the ball to the Dallas 1, Carolina was backed up to the Dallas 20 on the next several plays and was forced to kick a field goal. It cut the lead to 17-10, which was much better than 17-14 at that point.
* Although Romo made some poor throws, his only really big mistake was trying to hit Crayton on a deep post early in the fourth quarter. He was picked off by linebacker Thomas Davis, who was ruled down at the 3. The placement of the ball turned out to be good news for the Cowboys, though, who stopped Carolina on the next drive.
* The Cowboys chipped away at some yards following a Carolina punt from its own 5 with 13:24 left.
* The Panthers appeared to get a huge catch from Steve Smith with 7:08 remaining. Smith caught a ball between Ken Hamlin and Jacques Reeves, but the ball came loose when he hit the ground. The officials ruled the pass incomplete, and the play was upheld on review. That one will be debated next week for sure.
* Moore converted 4th-and-9 play from the Carolina 34 by hitting Smith on a 57-yard gain, prompting reminders of Mark Brunell hitting Santana Moss on a fourth down play when the Redskins beat the Cowboys 14-13 early in the 2005 season. This is fortunately not the 2005 season.
* Marion Barber secured the game MVP award– I think– with 24 yards that he gained on the Cowboys’ final drive. On a second-and-8 from the Dallas 25, I lost my live feed. Just as I got it back, I discovered that Barber had broken off an 11-yard run that iced the game. I was bracing for a last-second Carolina drive.

* * *
Stats for the game:

* Dallas outgained Carolina 405 to 216 and held the ball for 39 minutes.
* Marion Barber gained 110 yards on the night, surpassing 100 for the first time since Thanksgiving and for the third time this year. Unofficially, he needs 19 yards against Washington to go over 1,000 for the season.
* Assuming that Owens’ regular season is over, his final stats are 81 receptions for 1,355 yards and 15 touchdowns. He finished four catches short of his 2006 total in receptions, but surpassed his stats in receiving yards and touchdowns. It is his best season since 2001, when he caught 93 passes for 1,412 yards and 16 touchdowns for the 49ers.

* * *

Records

Three major team and individual records fell or were tied tonight:

(1) Tony Romo became the first quarterback in team history (you know, the team with Don Meredith, Roger Staubach, Danny White, Troy Aikman, and Chad Hutchinson) to throw for more than 4,000 yards in a season.

(2) This year’s squad joined the 1992 team as the only two with 13 wins. This franchise has some sort of affinity for 12-win seasons, having gone either 12-4 or 12-2 (prior to 1978) on nine different occasions.

(3) Owens finally broke Frank Clarke’s record for touchdown receptions (14) by hauling in his 15th of the season. Clarke, by the way, caught 47 passes for 1,043 yards in 1962, for an average of 22.2 yards per catch. Owens certainly wasn’t bad in that category, finishing with a 16.7 yard average.

Preview: Cowboys vs. Panthers

After last week’s debacle, I thought I’d give the Nostradamus Quatrain Generator another shot. Here we go:

Question– Can the Cowboys right the ship against Carolina on Saturday night?

Our response–

Earth-shaking fire from the center of the Earth

Through his death a great schism will arise

The twelve red ones will spoil the cover

And war reign happily where it once did cease

The first line was the same one that we saw for the Packers’ game, which much be a good sign. And from the looks of things, I predict that we will make twelve trips to the red zone but will struggle to cover the 11 1/2-point spread. Cowboys should still win, though.

AccuScore

Once again, Dallas won 83% of AccuScore’s simulations. Here is the preview:

The outcome of the game is coming down to Tony Romo and his touchdown to interception ratio. In the 80 percent of simulations where the Cowboys win, Romo averages 2.2 TD passes vs. just 1 interception. In Cowboys losses he averages 1.5 TD passes and 1.5 interceptions. After several quiet weeks look for Terrell Owens to have a big game with a 50 percent chance of reaching 100 yards and 1 TD. Teams are going to start gearing up to contain Jason Witten which should leave Owens open for some big plays.

What If Sports

At What If Sports, Dallas won 90.2 percent of the simulations by an average score of 28.7 to 13.1.

Pigskin Pick’em: Dallas Favored by 11 1/2

For yet another week, all of the members of the ESPN Talent picked Dallas to win. However, only 56.9% of users picked Dallas to cover the spread. The preview:

The Cowboys are coming off a stunning home loss to the Eagles and have not wrapped up the top playoff seed in the NFC yet. Dallas is undefeated in six road games this season. The Panthers upset the Seahawks at home last week for only their second home victory in 2007. Dallas defeated Carolina on Oct. 29, 2006, 35-14.

Questions Waiting for Answers: Week 16


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As opposed to previous polls, this week’s version asks which of the following question is the most important on Saturday.

The biggest question that needs an answer this week is…

Can the Cowboys overcome the offensive implosion from last week’s game?
Is Tony Romo’s thumb going to continue to cause problems in the passing game?
Will the Daisy Duke/T.O. spat cause tensions that the Cowboys will have trouble overcoming?
Will Roy Williams’ suspension cause problems on defense… or perhaps resolve them?
Can the Cowboys regain their momentum in general?


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I will choose not to comment on Owens’ comments regarding Jessica Simpson. You can watch E! Online for that news. And while you’re there, you can also get caught up on Jamie Lynn Spears’ pregnancy, relevant to me only because we no longer allow our seven-year-old to watch her television show.

Roy Williams’ suspension is, however, subject to our discussion here. The NFL has upheld its previous decision:

Whatever Roy Williams and his representatives were selling Wednesday in New York, the NFL wasn’t buying.

The one-game suspension sticks.

The NFL made this official early Wednesday afternoon, denying Williams’ appeal of the one-game suspension levied on Monday after his third violation of the “horse-collar” tackle rule this year and the fourth in two years.

The Cowboys’ starting strong safety will miss Saturday’s game at Carolina, without pay, costing him his $35,000 game check and keeping him away from The Ranch until Sunday for dragging down Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb from behind in last Sunday’s 10-6 loss to the Eagles at Texas Stadium

After hearing Williams’ appeal Wednesday morning, the NFL released this statement:

“Commissioner (Roger) Goodell has denied the appeal of the one-game suspension of Roy Williams. The ‘horse-collar’ tackling technique is prohibited because the Competition Committee and the clubs have determined that it presents an unacceptable risk to player safety. Rules that protect and advance player safety must be enforced in a way that will deter violations and prevent injuries from occurring.”

Kevin Sherrington had a column the other day that I tend to agree with these days:

Just in case you thought anyone was picking on your favorite Dallas Cowboy, the NFL targeted signature defensive moves long before Roy Williams perfected the horse-collar.

Fred Williamson’s hammer and Deacon Jones’ head slap are illegal, and Samson went back to his cell after hanging a nasty clothesline in The Longest Yard.

Unless he gets a reprieve from the NFL on Wednesday, Williams will likewise sit out Saturday’s game at Carolina, and deservedly so.

How bad has this week been for No. 31? On Sunday, he’s flagged for his collar of Donovan McNabb. Monday, he’s fined $35,000 and benched.

And Tuesday, he learns that 11 Cowboys have been selected as Pro Bowl starters or reserves, and he’s not one of them.

The omission lends some credibility to his reputation as a safety that can’t cover anymore, and now the NFL isn’t so crazy about the way he tackles, either.

His coaches and teammates ought to be fed up, too. The NFL fined him twice this season and warned him in writing after the last one, and still he acted recklessly.

Even if Williams’ career clearly isn’t headed in the right direction, the Cowboys desperately need him.

He’s not so far removed from the safety that Darren Woodson once described as the best football player he’d ever seen.

Romo’s thumb provides some better news, though:

When Wade Phillips went to practice Wednesday, he did not expect Tony Romo to throw any passes because of an injured right thumb.

Not only did Romo take part in a full practice, he was able to make all of the throws, which led Phillips to believe Romo will play Saturday at Carolina.

During the portion of practice that was open to the media, Romo appeared to be cautious with his passes. Phillips said Romo did not take a snap from center, working only from the shotgun.

Romo felt a little pain on his follow through, said Phillips, who added, “he seemed pretty accurate as far as throwing the football.”

Way Too Much Information Wednesday, Pro Bowl Style

As you probably know, the Cowboys will send eleven players to the Pro Bowl this season, tying a franchise record set in 1993 and 1994. Here are the players:

Terrell Owens, WR
Flozell Adams, T
Jason Witten, TE
DeMarcus Ware, LB
Andre Gurode, C
Leonard Davis, G
Nick Folk, K
Tony Romo, QB
Marion Barber, RB
Ken Hamlin, S
Terence Newman, CB

First-Alternates:

Roy Williams, S
Greg Ellis, LB
Keith Davis, ST
Mat McBriar, P

In franchise history, the Cowboys have had ten or more players make the Pro Bowl following four other seasons, including 1967, 1993, 1994, and 1995. Below is a list of the total number of Pro Bowlers per season, according to my addition from pro-football-reference.com.

1960 – 1
1961 – 2
1962 – 5
1963 – 3
1964 – 2
1965 – 6
1966 – 9
1967 – 10
1968 – 8
1969 – 8
1970 – 3
1971 – 8
1972 – 7
1973 – 6
1974 – 7
1975 – 3
1976 – 8
1977 – 8
1978 – 9
1979 – 8
1980 – 4
1981 – 7
1982 – 7
1983 – 5
1984 – 3
1985 – 4
1986 – 0
1987 – 1
1988 – 1
1989 – 0
1990 – 1
1991 – 4
1992 – 6
1993 – 11
1994 – 11
1995 – 10
1996 – 9
1997 – 4
1998 – 6
1999 – 5
2000 – 1
2001 – 2
2002 – 1
2003 – 5
2004 – 5
2005 – 4
2006 – 7
2007 – 11

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Pigskin Pick’em

What an awful week on the Pigskin Pick’em front. I missed the Thursday and Saturday night picks, then decided that the favorites might fare pretty well. Instead, only five of the favorites that I picked covered, and the one underdog that I took (Buffalo) was shut out.

Week 15: 5/16
Season: 113/224
Average: 108.3/224
Best: 140/224

This Year Could Be Like . . . ?

The water cooler talk this week has focused in part on whether the Cowboys are going to have another December meltdown like they did last year. Good question, but let’s take a look at a few other seasons to see how this year could wrap up.

Season: 1976 (11-3 record)

Final four games:

Nov. 21 (9-1) at Atlanta (3-7) L 10-17
Nov. 25 (9-2) vs. St. Louis Cardinals (8-3) W 19-14
Dec. 5 (10-2) vs. Philadelphia (3-9) W 26-7
Dec. 12 (11-2) at Washington (9-4) L 14-27

Playoffs:

Div. vs. L.A. Rams L 12-14

Why we could see a repeat:

Similar to this season, the Cowboys raced to one of their best records ever at 9-1, only to finish 11-3. A win in the season finale could have given Dallas the best record in the NFC, but instead that distinction went to Minnesota. The Cowboys in 1976 suffered from a lack of consistent running game, prompting the team to trade for the draft pick to get Tony Dorsett in the first round of the 1977 draft. There has been talk that Dallas will try to package its two first-round picks to get a running back next year.

Why it won’t happen:

Dallas had been to Super Bowl X the year before, and a return to the big game in the following year is rare. The running game was in worse shape in 1976 than it is this season, except that the team in all likelihood will be shopping for someone to back up Marion Barber.

Season: 1983 (12-4 record)

Final four games:

Nov. 24 (10-2) vs. St. Louis Cardinals (5-6-1) W 35-17
Dec. 4 (11-2) at Seattle (7-6) W 35-10
Dec. 11 (12-2) vs. Washington (12-2) L 10-31
Dec. 19 (12-3) vs. San Francisco (9-6) L 17-42

Playoffs:

Wildcard vs. L.A. Rams L 17-24

Why we could see a repeat:

The Dallas offense was surprisingly good in 1983, much like this year’s version. However, when both the offense and defense were derailed in the last two weeks of the season, Dallas could not rebound in the playoffs.

Why it won’t happen:

Dallas in 1983 had lost three consecutive championship games in the previous three seasons and was a team beginning its decline. The 1983 squad was the last team of the 1980s (and the last under Tom Landry) that had championship-quality talent, but it seemed as if the team had lost much of its drive. This year’s team is still trying to prove itself.

Season: 1992 (13-3 record)

Final four games:

Dec. 6 (10-2) at Denver (7-5) W 31-27
Dec. 13 (11-2) at Washington (8-5) L 17-20
Dec. 21 (11-3) vs. Atlanta (6-8) W 41-17
Dec. 27 (12-3) vs. Chicago (9-6) W 27-14

Playoffs:

Won Super Bowl XXVII

Why we could see a repeat:

Dallas gained a great deal of momentum in the final two weeks of the season by routing Atlanta on the road and then finishing up against Chicago. The win against Denver was more difficult than expected because the Broncos were forced to start third-stringer Shawn Moore, yet the Cowboys had to pull out the win on a last-minute drive. The Cowboys fell apart in the loss to Washington. In 2007, we’ve seen a last-second win against an inferior club, followed by a disappointing loss to a division rival. Dallas can still regain some momentum in the final two weeks of this year with strong wins over Carolina and Washington.

Why it won’t happen:

The 1992 club was more balanced in the various facets of the game and also had a deeper roster. The 2007 club is inconsistent on the ground, and its defense has some weak spots that other teams can exploit.

Season: 2006 (9-7 record)

Final four games:

Dec. 10 (8-4) vs. New Orleans (8-4) L 17-42
Dec. 16 (8-5) at Atlanta (7-6) W 38-28
Dec. 25 (9-5) vs. Philadelphia (8-6) L 7-23
Dec. 31 (9-6) vs. Detroit (2-13) L 31-39

Playoffs:

Wildcard vs. Seattle L 20-21

Why we could see a repeat:

The 2006 team was exposed on both sides of the ball in three of their final four games, especially on the defensive side. The home losses in both seasons to the Eagles were similar in many ways, with Philadelphia demonstrating that it could keep the Dallas offense on ice.

Why it won’t happen:

This Dallas team has proven to be more resilient than the 2006 squad, at least thus far. Both Dallas losses have come on the heals of very tough, last second wins, and the Cowboys were able to bounce back from the loss to New England very well.

Instant Scratch-Off Trivia: The Horse Collar Edition

Dallas will be without Roy Williams on Saturday against the Carolina Panthers due to his third violation of the “ROY WILLIAMS RULE.” Mind you, when I said yesterday that he ought to be suspended, I wasn’t thinking that it would actually come true. Nevertheless, I feel about as bad for him as I would feel for: (a) someone who can’t seem to quit drinking and driving, or (b) former Dallas tackle Erik Williams, who couldn’t quite bring himself to quit violating the “ERIK WILLIAMS RULE.”

Anyway, here’s more from the Cowboys’ official site:

Roy Williams’ third violation of the NFL’s illegal “horse-collar” tackle rule this year has earned him a one-game suspension without pay, the league announced late Monday.

The Cowboys’ Pro Bowl safety will not be eligible to play in Saturday’s nationally-televised game at Carolina (7:15 p.m. CST) on the NFL Network (Channel 27 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area) after NFL director of football operations Gene Washington’s swift ruling.

Williams received a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty for his horse-collar tackle on Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb in Sunday’s 10-6 loss to Philadelphia. The play marked Williams’ third violation this season, and the fourth in the past two seasons.

The one-game suspension will cost Williams $35,000, or 1/17 his $595,000 base salary.

The NFL already has fined Williams $27,500 this season for a pair of horse-collar tackles, an illegal technique that includes “grabbing the inside collar of the back of the shoulder pads or jersey, or the inside collar of the side of the shoulder pads or jersey, and immediately pulling down the runner,” according to the NFL’s definition.

Williams was fined $12,500 for tackling Bears tight end Desmond Clark in Week 3 and another $15,000 two weeks later for collaring Bills running back Marshawn Lynch. In 2006, Williams coughed up $10,000 for using the horse-collar technique on former Giants running back Tiki Barber.

[Incidentally, I am not one of those who thinks we should (or could) trade or release Williams. I simply think that the penalty was about as stupid as it gets. Just my opinion.]

So in honor of Roy’s one-week hiatus, here are some trivia questions about the All-Pro safety.

Question #1: When Williams did not take the field to start the Thanksgiving Day game against the Jets, it ended a streak of how many games that Williams had started?


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Question #2: During which season did Williams injure Terrell Owens’ leg with a horse collar tackle, and what was the outcome of the game?


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Question #3: In addition to Williams, which other players have been named as finalists in the Home Depot NFL Neighborhood MVP contest?


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Still time to vote here

Philadelphia 10, Dallas 6: All Out of Miracles

This result of today’s loss to Philadelphia was bound to happen, I suppose, given that the Cowboys have started slowly in so many games. This was still hard to take, though. The Cowboys had chance after chance today, only to fail to capitalize. Here are the key plays:

* 1st Quarter (10:39): Julius Jones gains five yards on a first down run. He also finished the game with five yards. There is no reason at all for him to be a starter.

* 1st Quarter (9:53): Tony Romo missed Terrell Owens on a deep route that may have gone all the way. It was the first of a number of bad throws. It was followed by a drop by Sam Hurd.

* 1st Quarter (6:23): Roy Williams called for a horse collar tackle on Donovan McNabb, putting the ball in Dallas territory. Williams needs to be suspended, just for being so stupid that he can’t avoid committing a penalty named after him.

* 1st Quarter (4:38): David Akers misses a 47-yard field goal. This should have given Dallas some momentum. Should have (…it was a three-and-out).

* 2nd Quarter (11:32): Tony Romo hits Jason Witten on a 53-yard pass, giving the tight end more than 1,000 yards this season (his first). Ordinarily, this would spark the Dallas offense, but…

* 2nd Quarter (9:57): Romo is picked off by Quintin Mikell in the end zone. For some odd reason, Mikell decides to run it out, fumbling it back to Dallas at the 14. Big break for the Cowboys, who could not move the ball any further, settling for a field goal.

* 2nd Quarter (2:23): Instead of a momentum-building final drive of the first half, Romo threw the worst pass of the day. Trying to force the ball to Owens, he was instead picked off by Lito Sheppard. This set up the Eagles’ touchdown at the end of the first half, and Dallas would never lead again.

* 3rd Quarter (8:30): Dallas moved the ball to the Philadelphia 3 but was unable to punch it in. A field goal cut the lead to 7-6.

* 4th Quarter (13:34): An Akers field goal effectively put the game away, because the Dallas offense had fallen apart at that point.

* 4th Quarter (2:57): On the would-be final comeback drive, Romo followed up a sack by throwing to Philadelphia safety Brian Dawkins.

* 4th Quarter (2:38): The Eagles faced a 3rd and 9 when McNabb hit Brent Celek on a 29-yard pass. This allowed the Eagles to run the clock out in Dallas territory.

What This Loss Means

Dallas and Green Bay now have identical 12-2 records. Dallas needs to stay even with the Packers to have home field advantage (though, to be sure, I’m not sure that home field is all that important to this year’s squad).

On the brighter side, the Cowboys earned a first-round bye due to Seattle’s 13-10 loss to the Panthers.

Final Two Opponents

The Panthers and Redskins both won this week against teams with better records, so the Cowboys do not have the cakewalk that we might have wanted.

Video Highlights

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Cowboys-Eagles Glog

Friends, thanks to a Carolina Panthers win over Seattle, the Cowboys officially get a first-round bye. The Packers, however, will beat the Rams, and so home field advantage will have to wait another week.

Terence Newman, Patrick Crayton, and Marc Columbo will all suit up today. Inactives this week are CB Alan Ball, CB Evan Oglesby, RB Tyson Thompson, G Joe Berger, OT Doug Free, OT James Marten and WR Isaiah Stanback.