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After a poor performance to open the 2014 season, the Dallas Cowboys have stunned many people by winning six consecutive games.
Historical context: this is the eighth time in team history that the Cowboys have won six straight regular season games. The team made the playoffs during each of the previous seven times. The Cowboys won the Super Bowl during three of those seasons.
The Cowboys opened the season by going 6-0 and finished the regular season with a 12-2 record. However, the Cowboys fell apart in the playoffs, losing to Cleveland.
For the second consecutive season, Dallas started with a 6-0 record. However, after finishing 11-2-1, the Cowboys stumbled again in the playoffs, losing to the Browns.
The Cowboys stumbled out of the gate in 1971, recording a 4-3 record after seven weeks. However, Roger Staubach took over as the full-time starter and led Dallas to an 11-3 finish. The Cowboys won their first Super Bowl that year.
Dallas had its strongest start in team history in 1977, going 8-0. The Cowboys finished the season 12-2 and won Super Bowl XII.
The Cowboys looked like world-beaters in 1983, starting at 7-0. However, the team stumbled in the season half of the season and was knocked out of the playoffs in the wildcard round.
Dallas started the 1993 season by going 0-2 while Emmitt Smith held out. Once Smith returned, the Cowboys won seven straight and finished the regular season at 12-4 before winning Super Bowl XXVIII.
The last time anyone considered the Cowboys to be among the best in the league was 2007. Dallas started at 5-0 and won seven straight later in the season to improve to 12-1. However, the team lost two of its last three and finished 13-3. Dallas then lost to the eventual Super Bowl Champion New York Giants in the playoffs.
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?
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.
Given the lack of viewers, we decided to rename our show from 10 Minutes to Know Your Dallas Cowboys to Know Your Dallas Cowboys: The Show so that we could produce episodes that were less than 10 minutes long. As it turns out, this show ended up being just about 10 minutes long, thus meaning that we just changed the name for really no good reason.
Here is some background information that relates to the show:
Between 1960 and 1970, Dallas faced Cleveland 20 times, including the playoffs. The Browns won 14 of those games, including two huge playoff games at the end of the 1960s. You might or might not know the names of some of the Cowboy-killers of the decade: Jim Brown (232 yards vs. Dallas in 1963); Bobby Mitchell (3 TDs in 1960; 140 rushing yards in 1962); Rich Kreitling (several touchdown receptions vs. Dallas); Gary Collins (same); Paul Warfield (same); Frank Ryan (Cleveland QB); Bill Nelson (Cleveland QB); Leroy Kelly (another of Cleveland’s Hall of Fame RBs).
This series was not all bad news for Dallas, though. The Cowboys pulled off one of their best performance in early franchise history when they routed the Browns 45-21 on December 2, 1962. The picture below (also featured in the clip) show Amos Marsh running for a few of his 117 yards that day.
Cleveland currently leads the series, 17-11. Below is a list of each of the games, which are linked to the box scores available at Pro-Football-Reference.com
Oct. 16, 1960 (at Dallas): Cleveland 48, Dallas 7
Oct. 1, 1961 (at Cleveland): Cleveland 25, Dallas 7
Dec. 3, 1961 (at Dallas): Cleveland 38, Dallas 17
Oct. 7, 1962 (at Cleveland): Cleveland 19, Dallas 10
Dec. 2, 1962 (at Dallas): Dallas 45, Cleveland 21
Sept. 22, 1963 (at Dallas): Cleveland 41, Dallas 24
Nov. 24, 1963 (at Cleveland): Cleveland 27, Dallas 17
Oct. 4, 1964 (at Cleveland): Cleveland 27, Dallas 6
Oct. 18, 1964 (at Dallas): Cleveland 20, Dallas 16
Oct. 17, 1965 (at Cleveland): Cleveland 23, Dallas 17
Nov. 21, 1965 (at Dallas): Cleveland 24, Dallas 17
NFL Playoffs— Dec. 24, 1967 (at Dallas): Dallas 52, Cleveland 14
NFL Playoffs— Dec. 21, 1968 (at Cleveland): Cleveland 31, Dallas 20
NFL Playoffs— Dec. 28, 1969 (at Dallas): Cleveland 38, Dallas 14
Dec. 12, 1970 (at Cleveland): Dallas 6, Cleveland 2
Dec. 7, 1974 (at Dallas): Dallas 41, Cleveland 17
Sept. 24, 1979 (at Cleveland): Cleveland 26, Dallas 7
Nov. 25, 1982 (at Dallas): Dallas 31, Cleveland 14
Sept. 22, 1985 (at Dallas): Dallas 20, Cleveland 7
Dec. 4, 1988 (at Cleveland): Cleveland 24, Dallas 21
Sept. 1, 1991 (at Cleveland): Dallas 26, Cleveland 14
Dec. 10, 1994 (at Dallas): Cleveland 19, Dallas 14
Sept. 19, 2004 (at Dallas): Dallas 19, Dallas 12