We can never make too many puzzles featuring Jerry Jones, given that most of the Cowboys’ moves in terms of the coaching staff and personnel are puzzling.
And so, here’s a puzzle:
The Dallas Cowboys have had their share of Pro Bowl tight ends, including Jason Witten (as a replacement) this year. Previous Pro Bowl selections included the likes of Billy Joe Dupree, Doug Cosbie, and Jay Novacek.
In fact, the club’s first Pro Bowl selection ever was tight end Jim Doran, who caught 31 passes for 554 yards in the Cowboys’ inaugural season of 1960.
One year later, Doran’s production sank, but another tight end played well enough to earn a Pro Bowl berth. Who was that player?
The puzzle below will tell you.
The Dallas Cowboys played in their fourth Super Bowl after the 1977 season as heavy favorites against the Denver Broncos, who were making their first trip to the big game.
Of course, the Dallas defense was ferocious for much of the game, forcing eight turnovers and recording four sacks. The highly touted Denver defense forced six Dallas fumbles but only managed to recover two of them.
Dallas won, of course, 27-10, giving Tom Landry his second and final world title.
Leading to our quote of the day. Who said this after the game?
Orange Crush is soda water, baby. You drink it. It don’t win football games.
Thirty-six seasons later, the Broncos are heading to their seventh Super Bowl thanks to their 26-16 win over New England on Sunday.
The San Francisco 49ers are preparing for their third consecutive appearance in the NFC Championship Game.
Meanwhile, the Dallas Cowboys have done a whole bunch of nothing since losing to the Eagles to end the season. Pretty good chance we will continue to see a whole bunch of nothing.
My prediction on Facebook:
Anyway, for lack of anything else to discuss at the moment, here is a video from 1996 on ESPN’s Primetime showing the Cowboys’ 20-17 win over the 49ers. The win improved the Cowboys’ record to 6-4 in a season where Dallas pulled out another NFC East title.
Ah, memories. Distant, distant memories.
Three hours before the season finale against the New York Giants on December 19, 1965, Bob Hayes gave his thoughts about the game. His quote:
Yankee Stadium, man. It’s going to be fun.
Dallas Morning News writer Gary Cartwright’s reply: “Fun? It was a genuine riot.”
The Cowboys blew out the Giants, 38-20. The win allowed Dallas to finish with a .500 record at 7-7, marking the first time in franchise history that Dallas did not have a losing record. The Cowboys advanced to the 1965 Playoff Bowl, where Dallas lost to Colts, 35-3.
Hayes caught two touchdown passes from Don Meredith in the win. Meredith only completed 8 passes, but three were for touchdowns.
The trivia question for today is below—
Without significant effort, it was difficult in 2013 to keep track of who was playing defense for the Dallas Cowboys. The names are as obscure as some of those who played in the replacement games in 1987.
So let’s have fun with it. In the puzzle below, find the names of the players who played on the defensive line for the Cowboys in 2013.
Everyone knows the Cowboys set a franchise record for futility on defense by allowing 6,645 yards. The team allowed 432 points, which is the second-highest total in team history.
The highest total remains 436, set by the 2010 Cowboys. A difference? The 2010 team only scored 394 points, while the 2013 team scored 439.
* * *
Those 439 points rank fifth in team history behind the 1983 team (479), the 2007 team (455), the 1980 team (454), and the 1966 team (445) p0ints.
Of course, the 1966 team still has the mark for most points scored per game, as the team averaged 31.79 per game in a 14-game season.
* * *
The Cowboys ranked 5th in the league in points scored but only 16th in yards gained. The #16 ranking is the lowest finish for a Dallas team since the Cowboys ranked 30th in 2002.
* * *
The Cowboys finished with a turnover ratio of +7. This ranked 9th in the league, which is the highest such rank since 2007.
Dallas had a turnover ratio of -13 in 2012 and -11 in 2008. Fortunately, those are the only two seasons since 2006 in which the Cowboys have had negative ratios.
* * *
The Cowboys tied for 29th in the NFL in total number of penalties with 112. Dallas ranked 7th in 2012 with 89 and tied for 2nd in 2011 with 85. The yards given up via penalty increased from 726 in 2011 to 875 in 2013.
* * *
The Cowboys had 42 sacks in 2011. That number decreased to 34 in 2012 and 2013.
* * *
The Cowboys were among three teams (Denver, Baltimore) to attempt seven field goals of 50 yards or more. Like the Broncos and Ravens, Dallas made six of them.
* * *
Lastly, the Cowboys tied for 7th in the league with an average of 4.5 yards per rushing attempt. However—and this will surprise nobody—the Cowboys ranked 31st in rushing attempts with 336.
Know Your Dallas Cowboys has existed since 2006, covering eight seasons. This period includes some of the most frustrating points in franchise history. I need not summarize.
Add another gut wrenching loss to the mix of gut-wrenching losses suffered during those eight seasons.
With the division title and a playoff berth on the line, the Cowboys appeared to have lost by the middle of the fourth quarter. Trailing 17-16, the Cowboys faced a 4th and 1 near the Philadelphia 40. Jason Garrett decided to go for it, but Kyle Orton’s pass was deflected at the line of scrimmage. The Eagles then drove the ball down the field for the next 5 minutes and scored to make it a 24-16 game.
Dallas faced a 4th and 9 from the Eagle 32 on the next drive, and the situation looked bleak. But then Orton found Dez Bryant over the middle, and Bryant not only made the first down but also made it all the way to the end zone. The Cowboys could not convert the 2-point conversion, though, and still trailed 24-22.
The defense that has not been able to stop anyone all year made a critical stop, and the Cowboys got the ball back at their own 32 with 1:49 remaining.
Tony Romo was not the quarterback, but the result was just all too familiar.
Orton tried to get the ball to Miles Austin on the first play of the drive, but Orton underthrew his receiver. The ball hit Brandon Boykin in the chest, and the interception effectively ended the Cowboys’ season.
Orton and Jason Witten had good games on paper, but both made critical mistakes. Witten could not manage to knock down a poorly thrown pass in the first half, and the play resulted in an interception. The Eagles turned around and scored a touchdown. DeMarco Murray fumbled earlier in the game, and the Eagles turned around and kicked a field goal.
Including the 4th and 1 play, the Eagles were able to score 17 points off Dallas mistakes. Those points were just enough to keep the Cowboys out of the playoffs for the fourth straight year.
It has become easy to forget that the Dallas Cowboys were supposed to have turned a corner in 2009 when they beat the Philadelphia Eagles in back-to-back games. The first win clinched the NFC East title for Dallas. The second gave the Cowboys their only playoff win since 1996.
Here are the video highlights. Some faces are the same, but you will see quite a bit of Marion Barber and Patrick Crayton, along with big plays by Felix Jones, Doug Free (on Jones’ touchdown run), and Jay Ratliff.