During their seven-game losing streak, the Dallas Cowboys found plenty of possible ways to lose.
They squandered opportunities. They blew leads. They ruined comebacks. Anyone reading this blog knows all of this.
On Sunday, the Cowboys jumped out to a 14-0 lead thanks to an interception return for a touchdown by Rolando McClain and a touchdown pass from Tony Romo to Terrance Williams. Despite bad field position for much of the first half, the Cowboys looked like they would go into halftime with a two-touchdown lead.
But during the celebration following Williams’ touchdown, he and Dez Bryant were called for taunting, forcing Dan Bailey to kick off from the 20. His squib kick was poor, giving the Dolphins the ball at the Miami 46.
Four plays later, Miami had cut the lead to 14-7.
To make matters worse, Miami tied the game midway through the third quarter on a 29-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Tannehill to Kenny Stills.
It was this type of sequence of events that haunted the Cowboys for two months. In the past seven games, Dallas would have found a way to lose this game.
But not today. And perhaps Romo can provide a spark that leads Dallas back into this race.
With the game tied 14-14, Romo and the Cowboys took over at their own 20 and promptly marched 80 yards for the go-ahead touchdown. Romo hit Bryant for the score, marking the 50th time Romo and Bryant have hooked up for touchdowns. That is a franchise record.
The Dallas defense had failed the team several times during the losing streak. But not today. Miami not only failed to score for the remainder of the day, but the Dolphins also managed only one first down during the entire fourth quarter.
Romo was not great. He threw two interceptions, including one in the red zone in the first half. But he also made just enough plays to give the Cowboys a chance.
His touchdown pass to Williams was exciting, and he kept Bryant involved even with Bryant battling injuries.
Darren McFadden was solid again. He carried the ball 29 times for 129 yards, including a 35-yarder in the second half to help set up a touchdown. McFadden also had a critical 15-yard run on a 3rd-and-14 play to keep a drive alive as the Cowboys were trying to kill the clock late in the fourth quarter.
New running back Robert Turbin was a pleasant surprise. He ran hard and gained 35 yards on 7 carries.
Dallas held the ball for 38:50, running 68 plays compared with 41 for the Dolphins.
With the Redskins and Eagles losing today, the 3-7 Cowboys are only two games out of first place in the NFC East. The Giants are 5-5, while the Eagles and Redskins are both 4-6.