Dallas 20, Houston 17: No More Here We Go Again?

Terrance Williams caught his fifth touchdown pass in Sunday's win over the Houston Texans.

Terrance Williams caught his fifth touchdown pass in Sunday’s win over the Houston Texans.

In 2010, the Dallas Cowboys would have folded in half after blowing a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter.

They would done the same thing in 2011. And 2012. And 2013.

But this current team is just full of surprises. The Cowboys could not maintain a 17-7 lead in the final three minutes of regulation.

Dallas had a shot to put the game away in regulation, but Dan Bailey missed his first field goal in his last 31 attempts on the final play of the fourth quarter.

In overtime, Houston moved the ball into Dallas territory near midfield but had to punt. The Cowboys got the ball but faced a 3rd-and-8 on their own 32.

From there, Dez Bryant made the highlight-reel pass of the season thus far, hauling in a 37-yard pass to give the Cowboys the ball at the Houston 31.

Two plays later, Bailey redeemed himself, nailing a 49-yarder to give the Cowboys their fourth straight win.

It marks the first time since the Cowboys have had a four-game winning streak.  Dallas has not been 4-1 since 2008.

DeMarco Murray rushed for 136 yards on 31 carries, giving him a total of 670 in only five games. (Have to mention his latest fumble parenthetically, though.) Bryant had nine receptions for 85 yards.

Had Bryant not stolen the show with this overtime reception, the players making the best play would have been Tony Romo and Terrance Williams. Romo dodged J.J. Watt and heaved a pass to Williams in the end zone. The touchdown gave Dallas a 10-7 lead.

Bryant caught a short touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to give Dallas a 17-7 lead.

The Cowboys have a tough game next week as they travel to Seattle.

Dallas Cowboys: Ten Pivotal Regular Season Games, Part 3 (1971)

This is the third part of a ten-part series focusing on ten pivotal regular season games in the history of the Dallas Cowboys.

Not all famous games will appear on this list. For example, the Mad Bomber game from Thanksgiving Day in 1974 is a famous game, but it was hardly pivotal, given that the Cowboys missed the playoffs that year.

Likewise, Roger Staubach’s final regular-season game against the Redskins was unforgettable, but the Cowboys turned around two weeks later and lost to the Rams in the playoffs.

Instead, this series focuses on games that marked turning points—good and bad—in franchise history.

November 7, 1971: 

Dallas 16, St. Louis Cardinals 13

1971“The Dodger Era Begins”

The Cowboys struggled during both the 1970 and 1971 seasons. The team’s turnaround in 1970 was the subject of Part 2 of this list.

In 1971, Dallas was 4-3 following a frustrating 23-19 loss to the Chicago Bears. Tom Landry’s strategy of shuttling Roger Staubach and Craig Morton bombed. The Super Bowl could not have been on anyone’s mind.

Landry named Staubach the permanent starter before the team’s week 8 game at St. Louis. When Dallas fell behind 10-3 at the half, though, some might have thought Landry would go back to Morton.

But he didn’t, and Staubach led the Cowboys to a come-from-behind win. With the game tied 13-13, kicker Toni Fritsch nailed the game-winner. His comment following the win—”I no choka.”

The Cowboys did not choka for the rest of the season, either. The Cowboys won their final seven regular season games by a combined score of 202-77.

Dallas plowed their way back to the Super Bowl, then demolished Miami to win Super Bowl VI.

Although Morton had to start throughout most of the 1972 season because of an injury to Staubach, Dallas remained Staubach’s team during the rest of the decade. By the time the decade—and the Staubach era—ended, the Cowboys were America’s Team.

Previously:

Part 1, December 5, 1965: “A Loser No More”—Dallas 21, Philadelphia 19

Part 2, November 22, 1970: “Road to the Super Bowl Begins in Washington”—Dallas 16, St. Louis 13

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Dallas 34, St. Louis 31: Improbable Life

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Dallas Cowboys: Ten Pivotal Regular Season Games, Part 1

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