In Hollywood, scripts that don't end well are said to have problems in the third act.
It's safe to say we know what a studio executive would have to say about the Cowboys after Sunday's 31-29 loss to the Ravens. The Cowboys have problems in the third act.
So much went well for the Cowboys in Baltimore. Their running game clicked before and after DeMarco Murray's injury, they didn't lose hope once they fell behind the Ravens and they got more than a few breaks to go their way over the course of the action. It all set up for a great ending, right up until everything went sideways and another loss was posted on the ledger.
It would be nice if this felt surprising. It would be different, anyway. This feels as familiar as your Uncle Bill having a little bit too much of the grape at Thanksgiving. The Cowboys needed just a few plays to undo everything that went their way, taking away a chance to keep pace in the NFC East and, again, leaving us to wonder why the Cowboys so often struggle to finish.
There's a lot on this front coming up as we look at the good, bad and ugly of the Cowboys loss.
GOOD: Nice to see Felix Jones again, huh? The Cowboys run game was as good as anyone could have hoped it would be on Sunday, regardless of whether Jones or Murray was in the game. Good work by the line, the backs and play calls that kept attacking Baltimore by stretching them out.
BAD: Of course, this is all tempered by Murray's foot injury. The Cowboys are saying he suffered some ligament damage and he's likely to miss some time, which makes Jones' reappearance all the more welcome.
GOOD: Dez Bryant had 13 catches for 95 yards and two touchdowns in another case of the Cowboys sticking with what was working on Sunday. Bryant can be so dominant at moments that it makes it all the more baffling when...
BAD: He drops a perfectly thrown ball by Tony Romo on a two-point conversion to tie the game. The ball was right in Bryant's hands and he should have caught it, no matter what he says about ...
UGLY: Cary Williams interfering with him on the incompletion. It looked clean, Bryant should have caught the ball and, to agree with Williams, Bryant should've manned up.
GOOD: Romo was pretty brilliant while leading the Cowboys on the drive that culminated in Bryant's touchdown before Bryant's failed two-point play. Converting a third-and-27 is big stuff, which makes the rest of it so maddening.
BAD: Romo made one mistake, the interception to Williams with the score tied at 10 late in the second quarter, and it was a total killer. He's really the perfect quarterback for a team whose motto really should be "Yeah, but..."
UGLY: Which leads us to the time management fiasco before Dan Bailey's 51-yard field goal attempt. It's on Jason Garrett, Romo and every other player that this kind of thing can happen in this spot. That lost time would have made a world of difference, but these wouldn't be the Cowboys if they didn't make mistakes like that.
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