In a painfully familiar refrain, the Dallas Cowboys watched a December game slip away on Sunday as the result of numerous miscues on every side of the ball.
Dallas surrendered all momentum going into half, after surrendering 14 unanswered points. The first score came on a Hakeem Nicks touchdown catch, a play on which Terence Newman could have made the tackle. Instead, he played the ball, allowing Nicks, after securing it, to trot into the end zone unabated.
On the Cowboys' next drive, Marion Barber fumbled at the end of a run, allowing Osi Umenyiora to return the ball to the Dallas 28. It took only four plays for New York to cash it in, with a Brandon Jacobs touchdown run. With Nick Folk missing a desperation field goal attempt from 57 yards out, the Cowboys failed to salvage any momentum.
That pendulum swung once again in Dallas's favor in the second half, when they retook the lead on a Roy Williams touchdown catch, his second of the day. The lead would last all of a few seconds though, as Jacobs took the first play from scrimmage--a screen pass--74 yards for a score, after Anthony Spencer dropped into coverage a second too late.
Poor coverage on the part of the punt team reared its ugly head as well as, with around six minutes remaining, Domenik Hixon returned a punt for a 79-yard touchdown.
After taking over on offense, the Cowboys had a golden opportunity to answer in short order. But Romo missed a wide open Roy Williams on what would have been an easy touchdown with four minutes to play. By the time Miles Austin got into the end zone, there were a mere 59 seconds left on the clock, the game all but locked up for New York.
This is a dark harbinger for the Cowboys, who saw a competitive game go down the tubes as a result of untimely mistakes, much in the fashion of last season's loss to Baltimore in the final game at Texas Stadium.
With contests against San Diego and New Orleans looming, the Cowboys must "clean it up," as they say, if they have any hope of anything other than another long winter.