now browsing by tag
We’ve been recovering from a flooded house, so no trivia during the past couple of weeks. Sorry.
Here is a play showing Bob Lilly tackling a Cleveland Browns running back. Trivia questions follow the image.
(1) During what year did this play occur?
(2) What was the significance of this game?
(3) Cleveland quarterback Bill Nelson threw three interceptions in the game. Charlie Waters picked off one of those passes. Who recorded the other two interceptions?
It was yet another struggle to find an obscure player on a Super Bowl-winning team. I found one, though, thanks to Super Bowl XII itself.
John Facenda famously said of Super Bowl XII, “It was fiercely fought, but frightfully flawed.” The Cowboys’ 27-10 win over the Denver Broncos featured a total of 10 turnovers, including eight by the Broncos. Of those eight, four were fumble recoveries.
In the second quarter, the Cowboys led 13-0. A Dallas drive stalled, leading to a punt. Denver’s John Schultz fumbled the ball on the return, and the player who recovered the fumble is our Most Obscure Player for 1977—
He signed as a rookie free agent in 1977. He played in all 14 games that year, primarily on special teams.
His fumble recovery in Super Bowl XII was a main career highlight. However, the play did not lead to any points. Dallas drove into field-goal range, but Efren Herrera missed a 43-yard field goal attempt.
Huther played four seasons in Dallas before being traded to the Cleveland Browns in 1981. He played one year in Cleveland and another in Chicago before returning to the Cowboys as a free agent in 1983.
He signed with the Chicago Blitz of the USFL in 1983 but was involved in a trade before ever playing with the Blitz. Chicago traded Huther to the Pittsburgh Maulers in exchange for none other than Efren Herrera, the same kicker who missed the field goal after Huther’s fumble recovery in SB XII.
Huther finished his career in Denver (another small irony) as a member of the Denver Gold in 1984.
Some definitions of outrageous:
a : going beyond all standards of what is right or decent
b: deficient in propriety or good taste
This brings us to the Cowboys’ 23-20 overtime win over the Cleveland Browns. The Cowboys fielded a patchwork offensive line featuring Mackenzy Bernadeau at center and Derrick Dockery at right guard. Tyron Smith suffered an ankle injury, requiring Jermey Parnell to play left tackle.
It makes sense, then, that Tony Romo spent much of the day running for his life. He was pressured 10 times and suffered 7 sacks. When the team tried to help Romo, the line and others just decided to hold. In fact, on two different plays, the referees called two different Cowboys for holding.
Right tackle Doug Free is not a backup, nor was he hurt. But he turned in one of the the worst plays of the game, allowing Jabaal Sheard to sack Romo. Dan Dierdorf’s comment: “Wow. That’s inferior play.”
And that summed up the Cowboys’ pathetic, gutless, awful performance during the first 35 minutes or so of Sunday’s game. Fortunately for Dallas, the Browns entered the game at 2-7 for a reason.
First, Dallas stopped the Browns on Cleveland’s opening drive of the first half. Second, the Cowboys scored on their next drive to cut the Cleveland lead to 13-3. Third, Dallas held Cleveland to a three-and-out.
The Cowboys had come to life and took the lead thanks to two fourth-quarter touchdowns. On the go-ahead drive midway through the fourth, fullback Lawrence Vickers made the most critical three-yard reception in recent memory when he leaped in the air to grab the catch on a 4th-and-1 play. The play extended a drive that ended with a touchdown pass from Tony Romo to Dez Bryant.
On the next drive, Almost Anthony Spencer almost had an interception. One play later, he dropped the Almost from his name and sacked Brandon Weeden, stripped the ball, and recovered the fumble.
Dallas 17. Cleveland 13. Ball on the Cleveland 18. 5:45 remaining.
Get all that? Most teams punch the ball in and put the game away.
Not Dallas. The Cowboys were called for holding, moving the ball back to the 28. One play later, Romo dropped back to pass but faced pressure.
Secure the ball?
Aw, hell no.
Romo fumbled it right back to the Browns, who promptly drove 64 yards to the Dallas 1.
Somehow, though, the Cowboys held the Browns without a touchdown. With 1:42 remaining, Dallas needed a first down or two to secure the win.
Of course, starting from the 1 was difficult. Dallas gained three yards, which barely gave Brian Moorman room to breathe. Moorman hit a 49-yard punt, but it was a line drive that Josh Cribbs fielded easily en route to a 21-yard return. Moreover, John Phillips was called for a horse-collar tackle, even though it appeared that Phillips grabbed Cribbs’ hair.
The next play was Weeden’s 18-yard touchdown pass to Benjamin Watson. The genius and pregnant defensive coordinator on the Cowboys sideline was once again late putting personnel on the field.
Now the Cowboys trailed 20-17.
Romo managed to move the ball back downfield, thanks largely to two penalties on the Cleveland defense. Dallas had the ball at the Cleveland 14 with 23 seconds remaining.
Remember those problems with time management? Such as the problems that cost the Cowboys the win over Baltimore?
Well, how about a delay-of-game penalty from the Cleveland 9 with 12 seconds left? Impressed?
Dan Bailey kicked a field goal to send the game to overtime. It marked the first time the Cowboys have had an overtime game at Cowboys Stadium.
The teams exchanged punts. Dwayne Harris showed why Dez Bryant should not return another punt this year, as Harris helped save the Cowboys for the second straight week. His 20-yard return put Dallas in good shape, and the Cowboys managed to drive the ball into field goal range. Bailey’s 38-yard field goal gave Dallas the win.
If the events that happened before win weren’t enough, Jerry Jones had to add to the excitement. His quote:
I’m really pleased with the offensive line, as it is as we sit here right now with the win.
There is no single profane word that describes my verbal reaction to this statement. I’ll stick with vanilla and just say Outrageous.
Against the Browns on Sunday, the Cowboys did something they had trouble doing last season: starting strong. Dallas also repeated what happened in most of the games a year ago: pulling away in the second half.
Marion Barber provided the strong running early the game, which set up big throws to Jason Witten and Terrell Owens. Barber had two short touchdowns in the first half, and Tony Romo found a wide open Owens on a post route. The second Barber touchdown with 29 seconds left in the half gave the Cowboys a 21-7 lead.
Felix Jones scored a touchdown on his first NFL carry in the third quarter, which increased the Dallas lead to 28-7. The game wasn’t close after that, though Romo’s otherwise perfect day was flawed when he threw an interception in the end zone late in the third quarter. Cleveland could only manage a field goal for the rest of the way out, as the Cowboys rolled to a 28-10 win.
Rate the Cowboys
In the polls below, rate the various players and categories. I will keep a tab of these as the season progresses.
My votes for Cowboys’ offense:
Tony Romo – Five Stars: Romo’s only real mistake was the poor pass in the back of the end zone. It was just as much Felix Jones’ fault on the play, however, as Willie McGinest bowled over Jones to put pressure on Romo. Otherwise, Romo had an outstanding day, throwing for more than 300 yards for the 11th time in his career. The team record in this category is 13, held by Troy Aikman.
Marion Barber – Five Stars: Barber run tough as usual, and he averaged 5.0 yards per carry on the day.
Terrell Owens – Five Stars: Owens had a solid performance with five receptions for 87 yards, and he could have been even more productive, as Romo wasn’t able to get the ball to him on a couple of longer passes.
Patrick Crayton – Five Stars: It should be tough for everyone on the offense to get five stars, but Crayton made some great catches today. In the third quarter, Romo threw the ball over Crayton’s back shoulder, and it looked as if defensive back Brandon McDonald might pick it off. But Crayton managed to snag the ball and turned the play into a 17-yard gain.
Jason Witten – Five Stars: Witten had a pretty bad drop in the second quarter on what turned out to be a touchdown drive, but otherwise he dominated the middle of the field.
Pass Blocking – Five Stars: The Browns eventually got to Romo in the second half, but there were a few plays where Romo just stood behind the line without a hint of a Cleveland player near him.
Run Blocking – Five Stars: Barber, Felix Jones, and Tashard Choice combined for 168 yards on the ground with a 5.6 yard-per-carry average.
Role Players and Backups – Four Stars: Felix Jones just about broke three long runs and finished with 62 yards. Isaiah Stanback caught his first two NFL passes, while Tony Curtis caught his first NFL pass that wasn’t a touchdown. Tashard Choice ran well at the end of the game as well. Martellus Bennett did not show up on the stat sheet.
Penalties – Four Stars: Of the Cowboys’ 11 penalties, eight were on offensive players. Two penalties were on Terrell Owens for unsportsmanlike conduct and offensive pass interference, and another penalty was called for illegal formation. The other five were on offensive lineman Flozell Adams (2 for 15 yards), Leonard Davis (1 for 10 yards), Marc Columbo (1 for 5 yards), and Cory Proctor (1 for 10 yards).
My votes for Cowboys’ defense:
Run Support – Five Stars: Cleveland only ran the ball 18 times, and four of those runs were by quarterback Derek Anderson. Jamal Lewis had some decent runs, but he was never really a factor after midway through the first half.
Pass Rush – Four Stars: This could have been better. DeMarcus Ware recorded a sack, but he was not as disruptive as normal. The Cowboys’ blitzes generated some pressure, but Anderson usually had time to throw the ball.
Tackling – Four Stars: Overall, the tackling appeared to be solid. Ken Hamlin had a couple of solid hits, and there were only a few instances were Dallas really had trouble bringing Lewis down. One of those was a 24-yard run right after a Romo pass was intercepted in the end zone by Eric Wright late in the third quarter.
Coverage – Five Stars: Even without Terence Newman, Dallas had a solid day. Anderson had some success to start the game, but he failed to complete a pass for nearly two full quarters. There were a couple of scares, though, including pass in the first quarter that Braylon Edwards dropped after he had beaten Anthony Henry to the post. That said, limiting a Pro Bowl quarterback to 114 yards ought to be good enough for five stars.
Penalties – Four Stars Two of the Cowboys’ three defensive penalties occurred on third down plays. Pacman Jones was called for defensive pass interference in the end zone, which allowed the Browns to score a touchdown early in the second quarter. Dallas did not have a single defensive penalty in the second half.
My votes for Cowboys’ special teams:
Nick Folk (Field Goals and Kickoffs) – Four Stars: Folk was consistent on his kickoffs, which was pretty much his only job besides extra points.
Mat McBriar – Four Stars McBriar only punted twice but averaged 48.5 yards on those two kicks. His net average was 37 yards.
Coverage Units – Four Stars: Kickoff coverage was solid for the most part, as Cleveland only averaged 18 yards per return. Syndric Steptoe had a couple of decent punt returns.
Return Game – Three Stars: The return game was almost entirely a non-factor. Pacman Jones muffed a punt in the third quarter but was able to recover.
Penalties – Five Stars: Dallas did not commit a single penalty on special teams.
Episode 13 of KYDC, The Show: Money and Polka Make Cleveland’s World Go Around
A bonus this week: a second episode of Know Your Dallas Cowboys: The Show. In this show, Gnome is still in Cleveland and decides to take a tour of the city, leading him to learn about money and polka. We also hear some predictions about Sunday’s game with the Browns.
Dallas won 63% of the simulation games between the Cowboys and Browns. Here is a breakdown of the average stats from these simulations:
Dallas Projected Statistics
|Marion Barber III||13.7||78.2||5.6||0.6|
|Marion Barber III||3.0||22.2||7.4||0.2||DEFENSE||SACK||INT||FUMR||TO|
The score was closer in the predictions for WhatIfSports, with Dallas winning by only two points. Here is the summary of the prediction from there:
Going to the Dawg Pound is a big factor here as the Cowboys are the better team, but it could be close. The Browns offense has high expectations and will likely succeed, but its secondary will be overmatched by Terrell Owens and Jason Witten (who may play receiver with the injuries to Sam Hurd and Miles Austin). Romo, Owens, Witten and Marion Barber are all top ten fantasy players at their positions this week and Derek Anderson, Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow are right there with them. These are two great teams with great offenses. This should be fun to watch.
Here are a couple of additional video previews available on YouTube:
The Dallas Cowboys Show
In the past four years, Dallas has alternated wins and losses in their season openers. The big win over the Giants in week one last year propelled the team into a very strong first quarter of the season, so it would help if Dallas could accomplish the same thing against the Browns on Sunday. That said, I think we are in for a few disappointments this year and that how the team performs down the stretch is more important than shooting out of the gate like gangbusters.
I think Dallas wins, but I don’t think it will be as impressive as everyone would like.
I haven’t asked many trivia questions lately, but this one may be interesting. Take a look at this picture (click on it to see a larger size) and then answer the questions that appear below it.
1. In what year was this game played?
2. Who was the quarterback for the Cowboys in this picture?
3. In what year did the Cowboys begin displaying their names on the backs of their jerseys?