Dallas 38, Philadelphia 23: It Must Be November

Felix Jones found the end zone for the third time in 2012.

Tony Romo has been the starting quarterback in Dallas during six of the last seven months of November (he was injured in 2010). Heading into Sunday’s game at Philadelphia, Romo had a record of 19-4 during those November games.

Romo played a good part of his 24th November game on his back, thanks to an offensive line that could not give Romo more than three seconds to get rid of the ball. The defense wasn’t helping, thanks to a number of penalties on third downs.

Nevertheless, the Cowboys knocked Michael Vick out the game and held a 10-7 lead at the half.

The Cowboys went three and out to open the second half, however, and rookie QB Nick Foles drove the Eagles into Dallas territory. On 1st and 20, Foles threw a pass into the end zone to a wide open Jeremy Maclin. The touchdown gave Philadelphia its first lead of the game.

The Cowboys went three and out again.

The Eagles drove down and added a field goal.

Philadelphia 17, Dallas 10, and it looked like the story for the game would be an obituary for the season.

With 2:14 left in the the third quarter, Dallas faced a 3rd and 5. Romo once again did not have time to throw the ball. However, he maneuvered in the pocket and bought enough time to find Miles Austin on a 25-yard reception. Three plays later, Romo hit Dez Bryant in the end zone on a deep post. Replay officials confirmed that the play was a touchdown.

No more obituary. From that point, the Cowboys took control.

Former Cowboy Mat McBriar punted with just under 14 minutes left in the game. Dwayne Harris headed towards the left sideline and found a lane. He raced 78 yards for a touchdown, giving the Cowboys the lead once again.

On the next Eagle drive, Brandon Carr picked off a pass that bounced off the foot of DeSean Jackson. Carr returned the pick for another score. Suddenly, it was Dallas 31, Philadelphia 17.

Philadelphia managed to score with just under two minutes left, but Alex Henery missed the extra point. The Eagles held the Cowboys and got the ball back at their own 11 with 53 seconds remaining.

But there was no magic finish for the Eagles. Anthony Spencer sacked Foles and stripped the ball. Jason Hatcher recovered the fumble in the end zone, giving Dallas its third touchdown on defense or special teams in the fourth quarter alone.

The game did not start out especially well for the Dallas defense. Two encroachment penalties gave the Eagles first downs, and Riley Cooper made a great catch in the end zone to give the Eagles a 7-0 lead.

The Cowboys came right back, though, driving 80 yards on 13 plays. Felix Jones took a short pass 11 yards for a touchdown to tie the game.

Both offenses struggled for much of the first half. Romo’s 49-yard pass to Dez Bryant with six minutes left in the second quarter helped to set up a field goal that gave the Cowboys their 10-7 halftime lead.

The Cowboys had good fortune earlier in the day as well. The Giants lost to the Bengals, giving New York a 6-4 record. If Dallas beat Cleveland next week, the Cowboys will be just one game out in the NFC East.

 

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Cowboys’ Rushing Statistics Are Among the Worst in Team History

BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 14:  Quarterback Tony ...

BALTIMORE, MD – OCTOBER 14: Quarterback Tony Romo #9 hands the ball off to running back DeMarco Murray #29 of the Dallas Cowboys during the first half against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on October 14, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

Tony Romo is currently on pace to set personal records for attempts, completions, and yards (and, um, interceptions) in a season. It is generally well-known, though, that putting the ball in Romo’s hands usually isn’t a good answer for the Cowboys.

The reason why Romo’s stats are up across the board? This Dallas rushing “attack” may be the worst in team history. Yes, much of this is because DeMarco Murray has been injured, but the incompetence is beyond ridiculous.

Dallas currently has 667 rushing yards, for an average of 83.4 per game. That ranks 29th in the pass-happy NFL of today.

At this rate, the Cowboys would finish with 1,334 rushing yards and 8 TDs.

Now consider these forgettable seasons:

1960: Dallas infamously finished with a record of 0-11-1.

With the likes of L.G. Dupre and Don McIlhenny, the Cowboys had 1,049 rushing yards with 6 TDs.

That’s an average of 87.4 yards per game, which is better than what Murray, Felix Jones, and company have managed so far.

1989: Dallas infamously finished with a record of 1-15.

The Cowboys traded Herschel Walker after five games and were left with Paul Palmer and pre-Moose-hype Daryl Johnston. The team finished with 1,409 rushing yards.

Of course, that’s better than the 2012 team would have at the current pace.

2010: Dallas started with a 1-7 record before finishing at 6-10.

Dallas has had similar problems running the ball in the recent past. Remember 2010? That was the year that the team started 1-7, leading Jerry Jones to fire Wade Phillips.

The offensive coordinator during those first eight games was Jason Garrett. The rushing stats during those eight games:

605 yards. 2 TDs.

It’s worth noting that the 2010 Cowboys ran the ball considerably better in the second eight games, gaining at least 100 yards in each of those games. The 2012 Cowboys have managed to reach the century mark as a team in only two games. The exact stats may not matter, but the ground game had better improve if this team wants to finish better than 6-10.

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