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Dallas 31, Jacksonville 17: Redemption Was Across the Pond

Today belonged to Dez Bryant, who hauled in six receptions for 158 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-17 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Today belonged to Dez Bryant, who hauled in six receptions for 158 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-17 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

It looked for a little while that a complete change of scenery for the Dallas Cowboys—of course, meaning a trip to London—may not have cured the Cowboys of their problems during the past two games.

Tony Romo missed a wide open Jason Witten on the Cowboys’ opening drive, and Dallas had to settle for a 54-yard field goal by Dan Bailey.

Then the Dallas defense had trouble stopping Jacksonville. Denard Robinson ran free on a 32-yard touchdown run in the first quarter against a Dallas defense that has struggled. The 1-8 Jaguars had an early 7-3 lead and then forced the Cowboys to punt on the next possession.

Fortunately for the Cowboys, the Jaguars were 1-8 for a reason. Ace Sanders muffed a punt, and the Cowboys recovered. Two plays later, Romo did not miss Witten in the end zone, and the Cowboys regained the lead—for good.

The Cowboys never looked back in the second quarter thanks to The Dez Bryant Show.

Bryant took a short pass on a crossing route and turned it into a 35-yard touchdown. Then, with 31 seconds remaining in the half, Bryant hauled in a bomb and ran it in the rest of the way for a 68-yard touchdown. The halftime score of 24-7 was just what the Cowboys needed.

Joseph Randle added another nice looking 40-yard touchdown in the third quarter, and the Cowboys were able to run the clock out for their seventh win of the season.

Dallas could take another half-game lead in the division if Philadelphia loses on Monday night to Carolina. Dallas has a half-game lead over Green Bay and Seattle in the NFC.

Ten Injury-Prone (or Just Injured) Dallas Cowboys

Fragile-Please-handle-with-careMost news recently has focused on Sean Lee‘s season-ending knee injury suffered during a non-contact drill.

In the history of the Dallas Cowboys, many players have, of course, been prone to suffer injuries. Some, however, have never only been able to contribute a small fraction of what they could because of those injuries.

Below is a list of players who fall into that category.

10. Robert Brewster, Tackle (3rd Round, 2009)

We begin with two picks from the dreadful 2009 draft. The team picked tackle Robert Brewster with the 75th overall pick. This was during a time when the team had a decent but aging offensive line.

Brewster tore a pectoral muscle during a workout and did not play as a rookie. He was released during the middle of the 2010 season.

He last played in the Arena Football League in 2012.

9. Brandon Williams, Linebacker (4th round, 2009)

The Cowboys needed linebackers even in 2009 and took Texas Tech defensive end Williams with the goal of converting him to outside linebacker.

He tore his ACL during a preseason game in 2009, though. He played in 10 games in 2010 but was waived before the start of the 2011 season.

He was on the Arizona Cardinals’ practice squad in 2011 and made active roster at the end of the 2011 season. He has not played in the NFL since being waived before the 2012 season by Arizona.

8. Billy Cannon, Linebacker (1st Round, 1984)

If the Cowboys could have picked up the senior Billy Cannon in 1960, he could have been a cornerstone in the new franchise. The senior Billy Cannon won the Heisman Trophy at LSU, and he was a key member of the Dallas Texans’ 1961 AFL Championship Game.

The junior Billy Cannon lasted eight games into his rookie season. He suffered a spinal injury against the Saints and was forced to retire.

7. Tody Smith, Defensive End (1st Round, 1971)

The Cowboys took USC defensive end Tody Smith with the 25th overall selection in 1971. Smith had to deal with an ankle injury as a rookie and played in only seven games. He had knee surgery during the off-season in 1972 but still played in ten games. Perhaps due to the bad knee, he was disappointing in 1972.

The upside of the Smith selection was that the Houston Oilers gave the Cowboys first- and third-round draft picks in 1974 to acquire Smith.

Smith lasted three years in Houston but was waived while injured before the 1976 season.

Meanwhile, Dallas used the picks from the Oilers to take Too Tall Jones and Danny White.

6. Robert Shaw, Center (1st Round, 1979)

Shaw took over as the starting center in 1980 and did an excellent job in three playoff games.

However, he suffered a catastrophic knee injury in 1981 and was never able to play again. Had he remained with the Cowboys, he probably would have anchored a very good offensive line.

Tom Rafferty did a fine job at center, but the Cowboys struggled to replace Rafferty at guard.

5. Jimmy Smith, Wide Receiver (2nd round, 1992)

Smith wound up with more than 12,000 receiving yards while playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

As a Cowboy, though, he was injured most of the time and even had to undergo an emergency appendectomy.

He never caught a pass with the Cowboys, who released him before the 1994 season. Jacksonville picked him up during the Jaguars’ expansion season, and he spent 11 years there, earning five Pro Bowl berths.

4. Bill Thomas, Running Back (1st round, 1972)

The Cowboys selected Bill Thomas as part of an effort to replace Duane Thomas. However, Bill Thomas never recovered from a shoulder injury suffered during college, and the Cowboys cut him before his second season in 1973.

He played two more seasons for the Oilers and Chiefs.

3. David LaFleur, Tight End (1st Round, 1997)

The Cowboys desperately needed to replace Jay Novacek in 1997 and used the 22nd overall pick to take LaFleur, thanks largely to an endorsement from Troy Aikman.

LaFleur played four seasons in Dallas, but he suffered through chronic back injuries. The team had to cut him before the 2001 season when he could not pass a physical.

He finished with just 729 yards in four seasons.

2. Mike Sherrard, Wide Receiver (1st round, 1986)

Sherrard had a promising rookie season in 1986, with 41 receptions for 744 yards and five touchdowns. He would have been the team’s top receiver in 1987, but he broke his ankle during training camp. He missed the entire season.

One year later, he suffered yet another broken ankle, causing him to miss yet another season.

The 49ers signed Sherrard through Plan B free agency in 1989, so Sherrard never played for the Cowboys after his rookie season in 1986.

Dallas had to use another first-round pick to take a receiver in 1988, but fortunately the team selected Michael Irvin.

Sherrard played for the 49ers, Giants, and Broncos but suffered through several more injuries. Nevertheless, his career lasted until 1996.

1. Sean Lee (2nd round, 2010).

Lee has the talent and leadership to be one of the franchise’s great linebackers.

He has the body of a porcelain vase and has been injured frequently. In four years, he has missed 18 games.

He will miss another 16 in 2014 while recovering from a torn ACL.

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Simulations: Chiefs by a Field Goal?

When the NFL schedule came out, most viewed the week 2 matchup between the Cowboys and Chiefs as an easier win for Dallas.

Predictions about the winner of Sunday's game are pretty evenly split.

Predictions about the winner of Sunday’s game are pretty evenly split.

Not now.

After the Chiefs handled the Jacksonville Jaguars in week 1, many view the Kansas City defense as something approaching elite status. The Chiefs enter the game as three-point favorites at home.

Predictions from two sites have Kansas City winning by about three:

Team Rankings

Kansas City 24, Dallas 21

numberFire

Kansas City 23, Dallas 21

 

On the other hand, WhatIfSports thinks that the game will be the game of the week. The Cowboys won 63% of the matchups. The average score:

Dallas 29, Kansas City 24.

One of the more detailed NFL preview sources on YouTube—Football Gameplan—also predicts a Dallas win:

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The Cowboys are trying to improve to 2-0 for the first time since 2008. However, that particular record hardly guarantees anything.

Six teams started the 2012 season with 2-0 records, including the NFC champion San Francisco 49ers (finished 11-4-1), the Atlanta Falcons (finished 13-3), and the Houston Texans (finished 12-4).

The other three? The San Diego Chargers (finished 7-9), the Arizona Cardinals (finished 5-11), and the Philadelphia Eagles (finished 4-12).

And how did those 2008 Cowboys do? They finished at 9-7 and missed the playoffs.

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