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The Cowboys’ 23-20 win over the Cleveland Browns was the first overtime game at Cowboys Stadium. In fact, it was the first home overtime game for the Cowboys since 2005.
The NFL first adopted overtime rules in 1974. Since then, the Cowboys have played in 31 overtime games, compiling a record of 18-13 (including Sunday’s win over Cleveland).
Only nine of those game came a home, however. Until Sunday, the Cowboys had a record of 4-4 in home overtime games dating back to 1975. With the win over the Browns, the Cowboys’ record is now 5-4.
Here’s a list of those home overtime games:
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.
Second-year running back Felix Jones, taken in the first round of the 2008 draft, took a pitch to the left and raced 49 yards for a touchdown. That effectively ended the game.
One week later, the Cowboys hosted the Eagles in the first round of the playoffs. It marked the first playoff game at Cowboys Stadium.
Jones again broke the game wide open in the third quarter when he scored on a 73-yard touchdown run. He finished the day with 148 rushing yards. Another 2008 pick, Tashard Choice, scored in the second quarter to give Dallas a 14-7 lead.
Yet another first-round pick from 2008, Mike Jenkins, snagged an interception in the second half. A fifth-round pick from 2008, Orlando Scandrick, helped in a secondary that mostly shut down the Eagles.
Dallas won, 34-14.
Okay, so what’s my point? Well, let’s look at what the Cowboys have done since beating the Eagles in the playoffs on January 9, 2010.
* The Cowboys barely showed up in a 34-3 loss at Minnesota in the second round of the playoffs.
* The Cowboys’ overall record since January 9, 2010: 16-21.
* Since scoring on long touchdown runs in back-to-back games at the end of the 2009 season, Jones has scored a total of three touchdowns. He has not scored since the opening week of the 2011 season.
* Since rushing for more than 100 yards in back-to-back weeks in 2009, he has rushed for more than 100 yards a total of four times. He has 13 rushing yards in four games in 2012.
* Since Jenkins intercepted the pass against the Eagles on January 9, 2010, he has had a total of two interceptions. That is the same total as Orlando Scandrick during that time.
* Draft picks Choice, Martellus Bennett, and Eric Walden now play for other teams. Although Choice hasn’t done much, Bennett has three touchdown receptions for the Giants, and Walden has been a part-time starter with the Packers.
There have been plenty of things that have gone wrong since the promising end to the 2009 season. The entire 2009 draft was a monumental failure, thanks in large part to a terrible trade for Roy Williams. Several key players aged quickly, leading to the current rebuilding effort.
The 2008 draft class, though, certainly hasn’t helped matters. Those players showed so much promise only to regress almost immediately.
The Cowboys don’t return home until September 23, when they host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A friend visiting Dallas asked whether it was worth taking a look at Cowboys Stadium.
As a venue to watch a game, it certainly is. Some have written that the stadium ranks has high as second among NFL stadiums. Other have written about Cowboys Stadium compared to other stadiums around the world.
Anyway, during a week with an away game, consider visiting the stadium and taking a tour. Cost is about $30, which is a bit high, but you get to visit field, locker rooms, and so forth. Worth the trip, especially if you’re a Cowboys fans.
* * *
The Cowboys rank pretty high in various power rankings, which Dallas Morning News reporter Scott Bell has summarized. The high-end ranking has the Cowboys at #6 (Pete Prisco, CBS), while the low-end ranking (Ashley Fox, ESPN) has the Cowboys at #13.
You can believe everything you’ve read about Cowboys Stadium. The place is amazing.
I took my nine-year-old son to last night’s game against Tennessee. Consider this the nosebleed review of the stadium.
Much was made about the expense and hassle of parking at Cowboys Stadium. The lots closest to the stadium are, to be sure, very expensive, but there are much cheaper alternatives.
Last year, we paid $30 to park at Texas Stadium and basically ended up in a ditch at the back of the lot. We also must have walked a mile. Yesterday, we parked in the Texas Rangers’ Lot D, which only cost $20. The downside was that we could only see Rangers Ballpark and that we had a little bit more than a mile to walk. Conversely, there was plenty of room to tailgate had we chose to do so, and getting in and out of the lot was simple.
The lots went up in price by $10 for every 500 feet or so. Personally, I’d rather spend $10 on something else and just walk a little but further, but that’s me.
One big difference between Arlington and Irving is that there are several more alternatives to getting to the parking lots in Arlington compared with the alternatives to getting to Texas Stadium. We took the I-20 route to Highway 360 and then drove past Six Flags to get to the parking lot– no traffic problems at all except for a stalled bus. From what I understand, the I-30 option was not bad either.
There were a few complaints about restrictions on tailgating in articles in the past couple of days, but there were plenty of people doing it. The restrictions appeared to be enforced in the lot right next to the stadium more so than any of the other lots. Hardcore tailgaters may have a different perspective.
We got to the stadium about 2 1/2 hours before kickoff, just so that we could see everything we wanted to see. We certainly weren’t the first ones there. The doors weren’t open when we first got there, but you could see the video boards through the glass outside.
Put it this way– Texas Stadium looked like a large trash can until you got inside. Cowboys Stadium looks like a palace no matter where you are standing.
It stands to reason, of course, but everything inside the stadium is still in pristine condition, also very much unlike the Texas Stadium experience. Waxed floors are hardly commonplace in stadiums I’ve visited, but you can actually see your reflection in the floors near the gates.
The stadium was not at full capacity, but few preseason games have had so many people attend. Watch most preseason games, and you will see a nearly empty stadium by the time the reserves are in the game for the fourth quarter. Last night, the stadium was more than half full even in the fourth quarter.
I didn’t have Party Pass, so I can’t provide a first-hand account of that experience. However, we sat near one of the long standing areas in the end zone. You cannot see it very well from the picture above, but there is a long counter where people could lean, place their drinks, etc. This area was packed, so those who did not get there early enough were probably trying to see over everyone’s heads to watch the video screen.
Stadium security was pretty vigilant about checking tickets. There appeared to be a few people sitting in our section who may not have had tickets for seats, but once the stadium is filled to capacity, that won’t be a problem. I also saw security on the lower levels checking tickets and turning back those who were trying to move down to better seats (we moved over, but not down, and that was very late in the game).
If you have the option, it is worth the price to be able to see the large boards running parallel to the field. The smaller boards are okay, but you can appreciate the difference when you can see the larger ones. The shot above is from our end zone seats. Compare that shot with the one below:
Anything Wrong or Missing?
There are just a few minor details about the stadium worth noting. I suspect that yesterday’s game was really a test run, so some of this should be worked out.
(1) There are only four scoreboards, and they are very small. This would not be a big deal, except that the video boards did not always include relevant information that would have been useful. In the first quarter, the boards did not show down and distance. Moreover, throughout the game, the board never showed how many timeouts the teams had. As the Cowboys were driving in the last two minutes of the first half, I could barely see the timeout reading on the tiny scoreboard in one of the corners of the end zone.
(2) There are parts of Texas Stadium that are not yet present. The stadium does not have the Ring of Honor members up yet, though there appears to be a place for them (I hope, at least). The banners are also not up yet. The field itself does not have a star in the middle– just a minor detail, but it was noticeable. The walls near the end zone had stars, though, much like the stars on the walls of Texas Stadium.
(3) The PA announcer was bad. I was sitting in nosebleed but could still tell that Patrick Crayton (#84) caught a pass. The announcer referred to him as Deon Anderson (#34), who didn’t even play.
(4) The sound was also pretty bad. At one point, a spokesman for Papa John’s pizza started blabbing about something, and he was so loud that several people applauded when he was abruptly cut off.
I hated to see Texas Stadium go, but Cowboy fans should be proud of this stadium. It contains enough reminders of the old stadium that you will feel like you are in the Cowboys’ home, and the new stadium adds so much that few are going to wish that the Cowboys hadn’t moved.