Those of you expecting a “Top 10 Ugliest Wins in Cowboys’ History”, sorry to disappoint. But I like your thinking.
Marion Barber ran hard. The defense – led by Zach Thomas and Bradie James – played inspired. The offensive line was improved. Nick Folk was perfect.
Brad Johnson was, well, Brad Johnson. And the Cowboys were – warts and yuck and luck be damned – winners.
Woo. And hoo?
Fortunately, the Cowboys on Sunday played an opposing offense and a quarterback just as conservative and a smidge worse than theirs. You think Johnson was boring and bad? Tampa Bay’s Jeff Garcia threw 44 passes. How many went more than 10 yards? I remember three. Seriously. I don’t think any of the 44 landed in the end zone.
On the final drive, the Bucs ran out of downs. But, considering Garcia’s 2-yard checkdowns, they were bound and determined to run out of time. On Tampa’s final play – check the TiVo – Tampa’s offensive line formed a perfect pocket for their quarterback. But, inexplicably, Garcia nervously scooted up toward the line and the pressure, ultimately committing an unforced error.
It’s the first time the Cowboys have won a game scoring only 13 points since ‘04. The 172 offensive yards are the lowest ever in a Dallas win. But it is a win.
Give the Cowboys credit. They survived a game against a decent team despite losing Jason Witten and gaining only 172 yards. They also lost cornerback Anthony Henry though, on second thought, that might have been a blessing.
Down the stretch Dallas shut down Garcia and a solid group of veteran receivers with two rookies (Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick) and a second-year 7th-rounder (Alan Ball) in the secondary.
And after a week of heat, head coach Wade Phillips got a treat: The game ball from owner Jerry Jones.
"Wade Phillips did his job today," Jones said. Really? A win over Tampa? In October? To get to 5-3?
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Regardless, I ask you, true-blue diehard, this about today's game. Is it:
A) A gutsy win that reveals backbone and yanks the playoff train back on track.
B) An ugly, lucky win that shows this team is ultimately not among the NFL’s elite.
C) Just another meaningless week until Tony Romo returns. – Richie Whitt