Vengeance is mine,” says the Lord, but in the Cowboys’ case, vengeance is past players and coaches. For whatever reason, when players and coaches exit the Dallas Cowboys it’s not always under the best of terms, whether it was Tom Landry, Sean Peyton, Rex Ryan, Jay Ratliff or Martellus Bennett, the Cowboys organization has burned bridges and soured relationships.
Back in November on “Sunday Night Football” the Cowboys came in to New Orleans looking to beat the Saints, at the time 6-2 and the 5-5 Cowboys were atop the NFC East. Dallas embarrassed themselves and in the process, the Cowboys defense gave up a whopping 40 first downs, which was an NFL record. The Saints defense behind the Cowboys’ former defensive coordinator Rob Ryan held the Cowboys offense to just 17 points and 193 total yards. Everybody on the Saints team were involved in the 49-17 butt whipping of the Cowboys and Rob Ryan and Sean Peyton were probably thinking to Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett, “how you like me now?!”
The Cowboys fans were given “fools gold” the next two games as Dallas won against arch rival and division whiners, the New York Giants. This time on Sunday Night Football, the Cowboys took care of business 24-21 and again returned to the top of the NFC East . The Cowboys came out wearing their “cursed” navy blue jerseys against the Oakland Raiders and despite the superstition surrounding them, Dallas got the come from behind win 31-24.
After having 11 straight days off, the Cowboys should have been well rested and ready to play the Bears on the fourth coldest game in Bear’s history, but it was the Bears who were red-hot. The Cowboys received the ball first and after some big yardage runs by running back DeMarco Murray, the Cowboys scored first with a with a two yard pass from Tony Romo to Dez Bryant. The Bears would score next with a four yard pass from Josh McCown to Earl Bennett. The Cowboys had a quick three and out. The Bears scoring on their next possession in the second quarter with a seven yard run from Josh McCown putting the Bears on top 14 to 7 with 8:58 left in the second quarter. The Cowboys would answer right back with a 10 yard pass from Tony Romo to Jason Witten. It looked like it was going to be an old-fashioned shootout but it wasn’t meant to be. The Bears would score two more times before the half, one on a 27 yard field goal from kicker Robbie Gould and the second score came with only TEN seconds left on a beautiful and spectacular 25 yard pass from McCown to wide out Alshon Jeffery to make the score 24-14 at the half.
The second half wasn’t any better for the Cowboys as the D didn’t stand for defense because there was none being played by the team with the star. The rest of the night, the D stood for dismal. Between the three missed picks, Sean Lee getting hurt again, penalties and a Cowboys defense that couldn’t stop a snowflake from falling, I’m surprised the Bears didn’t have more points. The Cowboys gave up a field goal and a touchdown in the third and fourth quarter to the Bears sealing their fate. Dallas got two touchdowns in the fourth quarter but it was too late. The game had already been decided and it wasn’t in the Cowboys favor with the final score Bears 45-Cowboys 28.
The Bears finished with 490 total yards,341 passing yards and 149 rushing yards. Two former Cowboys got to rub salt in the open sore of the Cowboys. Jay Ratliff had one of two sacks on Tony Romo and former tight end Martellus Bennett had five catches for 43 yards. The Cowboys single-handedly made quarterback Josh McCown a star overnight who had four passing touchdowns and one rushing. Once again, the Dallas Cowboys made themselves look like the mediocre team they continue to be. There were only a few bright spots for Cowboys fans, DeMarco Murray had 18 carries 146, and Dez Bryant played with plenty of passion scoring the first touchdown and never seemed to give up. There was also former Wake Forest defensive standout Kyle Wilber finishing with 10 tackles to lead the defense.
As far as the stat for the $50 million dollar quarterback for Dallas, Tony Romo had a conservative night, throwing 11 times for 104 yards. Thanks to that poor performance, the Cowboys have now backed themselves in to a corner and fallen a game behind the Philadelphia Eagles. They must beat the Packers at home Sunday to have a chance to win the NFC East by beating the Eagles the last game of the season and with the Packers coming off a win last Sunday and the possible return of Aaron Rogers, this won’t be a small feat. In the NFL as in life, timing is everything and the return of Aaron Rogers could be the worst timing of all for Dallas.
Tom Landry is turning over in his grave and if you walk by his bronze statue in front of AT&T stadium, you may just notice that Landry’s famous hat isn’t on his head but over his face.