Cowboys 38, Colts 35: My Top 10 Observer-ations
10. Been saying Marion Barber's done for a while. If he gets another carry over Tashard Choice this season it will be criminal. I know the Colts' run defense is putrid, but you can't deny that Choice is a much better running back than Barber at this point. Maybe even better than Felix Jones.
9. Sure enough, No. 18 won the game. Raise your hand if you thought, however, that the winning points would be scored not by Peyton Manning but rather David Buehler. On a scale of 1-10, my confidence level as Buehler lined up for his 38-yard field goal in overtime was about a 6.4.
8. Wonder if Jerry Jones is kicking himself for not firing Wade Phillips sooner?
7. With Sean Lee and Orlando Scandrick turning the trick, the Cowboys returned two interceptions for touchdowns for the first time since Dexter Coakley and Mario Edwards against the Giants in 2001. Was it just me or did Scandrick's pick-and-run resemble Tracy Porter's clinching interception of Manning in Super Bowl XLIV?
6. We can point to big plays from Choice and Jon Kitna and Jason Witten and Scandrick, etc. but the biggest may have been made by Lonyae Miller. Who? The rookie running back from Fresno State - called up from the practice squad this week - somehow came up with Bryan McCann's fumbled kickoff in the last 30 seconds. Otherwise, the Colts kick a game-winning field goal and we're groaning about how Dallas let another one - literally - slip away.
5. Didn't have a problem with head coach Jason Garrett's conservative decision to take a knee on Dallas' final fourth-quarter possession. At your own 24 - granted with three timeouts remaining - with 29 seconds remaining in a tie game, you needed about 40 yards for a long field-goal attempt to win it. Doable, but some of us, including Garrett, remember Washington.
4. Not that I'm saying Manning should go the way of Brett Favre, but there are major cracks in the foundation. After yesterday's four picks, he is the first NFL quarterback to throw 3+ in three consecutive games since 2001 and a fella named Aaron Brooks. Ouch.
3. Sad for Dez Bryant, out for the season with a broken ankle. So much for his Rookie of the Year push. I've called all season for him to return kickoffs, to get the ball in his hands as much as possible and Sunday it worked out with three returns for a 35-yard average not counting an 85-yarder called back by a Sam Hurd penalty. But critics have countered that he is more likely to get hurt on kickoffs. Touche.
2. Sean Lee > Keith Brooking. Phillips said all season that the rookie linebacker from Penn State wasn't "equipped" to play in Dallas' Nickel package. But with two interceptions - one for a touchdown - he made more plays Sunday than Brooking has all season.
1. The Cowboys are 4-8. Should be 5-7. If Roy Williams doesn't fumble on Thanksgiving Garrett is 4-0. Even with his quarterback and playoff hopes both out of the equation, the interim head coach has Dallas playing harder and better. Is it time to hand him the full-time job?
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