ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 28: Tackle Jay Ratliff #90 of the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on September 28, 2009 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Up 10-7 on the undefeated Broncos, Dallas has managed to play an incredibly flawed first half and hit the locker room with a lead.
The reason for this, in great part, is that Denver has been slightly more flawed.
The Cowboys have commited four penalties for a total of 30 yards. The Broncos have already commited 8, for 62. But the ugliness isn't limited to poorly timed transgressions. The first half held a veritable menagerie of bad football.
Anthony Spencer has been this close to big, wonderful, game-changing plays, twice. The only trouble is, he didn't quite get there either time, and this close-but-no-cigar approach--in these two instances--have resulted in a Knowshon Moreno touchdown (which was this close to an interception) and a first down (which was this close to a five or so yard loss).
But the height of the ugly in the first half had to be Dallas' last drive. It began on their own 7, so, okay; it would've been tough to score some points on the drive, anyway. After a botched snap and an ill-advised throw down the sideline, ostensibly to stop the clock, a three-yard dump to Tashard Choice would be the last play of the half. Dallas had two timeouts left, but, apparently, a great deal of comfort in their three-point lead as well. Never mind that they're playing an undefeated team--on the road.
With Gerald Sensabaugh on the sidelines with an injured thumb, this may be the most ugly, off-putting, winning first half of football most of us have ever seen.