I'm generally considered a pissy guy with a half-glass-empty view of the world
around attacking me. But there are times when I can be joyfully hopeful.
The Cowboys' season ended with a resounding 34-3 thud, but there were plenty of warm-n-fuzzy moments to keep us both satisfied about '09 and optimistic about '10.
10. The Texas Tease: Roy Williams opens the season with a 66-yard touchdown catch at Tampa Bay. Over the next 17 weeks he'd catch only 35 more balls and five more scores but, hey, it was great while it lasted.
9. Brooking's Bluster: Not a particular play, mind you, but when the Cowboys host Atlanta in October linebacker Keith Brooking walks the walk after talking the talk. After seemingly each of his tackles, he runs past and taunts his former team's bench with a moxy and machismo the Cowboys haven't enjoyed for years.
8. Mike'd Up: After starting the season splitting time with Orlando Scandrick, cornerback Mike Jenkins solidifies his starting job and Pro Bowl-caliber season with a leaping interception in a ho-hum victory over the Seahawks.
7. Crayton's Return: In a week in which he lost both his jobs as receiver (to Miles Austin) and kick returner (to Allen Rossum), Patrick Crayton responds with a touchdown reception and a score on a 72-yard punt return as the Cowboys open eyes with a easy win over the Falcons.
6. Doomsday III?: When a helmet-less Jason Hatcher sacks Donovan McNabb against the Eagles at Cowboys Stadium on Jan. 3, it not only secures the NFC East Championship and a 24-0 victory, but also the defense's first back-to-back shutouts in franchise history.
5. 86 the 44-6: The Cowboys need two first downs to run out the clock in Philadelphia a showdown night in early November. Marion Barber picked up one with a couple tough runs and tight end Jason Witten sealed the deal with a 6-yard catch on third-and-five that sent him and Wade Phillips into a giddy, if not awkward high-five exchange.
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4. Felix the Phat: For the first time in 13 years the Cowboys win a playoff game, climaxed when Felix Jones scampers 73 yards for a commanding 34-7 lead over the hated Eagles.
3. Miles to Go: The Cowboys were on the verge of implosion. With a 2-2 record there were predictions of doom and gloom and even calls for Jon Kitna. An injury to Williams gave a starting job to Austin and - presto - season saved. Austin caps a 10-catch, 250-yard debut with a 60-yard catch-and-run score in overtime.
2. David Blaine Romo: After a dismal offensive day, Romo bails out Dallas by spinning away from two Washington Redskins' linemen, buying time and finally finding Patrick Crayton for a touchdown in a 7-6 escape. The play reminded us that while Romo matured via more conservative decision-making, he also retained the ability to be a game-changing ad-libber.
1. Sacking the Saints: Just six days after leaving Cowboys Stadium on a stretcher, DeMarcus Ware sacks New Orleans' quarterback Drew Brees and forces a game-ending fumble to clinch the upset over the undefeated Saints. Cue the goose bumps.