You know how you know when your team’s having a horrible season? When you’ve had to edit and reconfigure the list of all-time heart-breaking losses … three times!
But here were are, again. First there was the late-interception loss to the Broncos. Then the blowing of a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter at Detroit. And now, in what has to be the worst loss in the franchise’s 53-year history, comes a 23-point halftime lead that somehow couldn’t hold up.
You can blame the defense for giving up 34 points and five touchdown drives in the second half against backup quarterback Matt Flynn.
You can blame Jason Garrett for not handing the ball to DeMarco Murray more than eight times in the second half.
And, of course, you can blame Tony Romo for changing a run to a pass and then changing a sack into an interception on Dallas’ next-to-last possession.
But what you can’t do is deny that America’s Team has deteriorated into America’s Heartbreak Team.
The freshly re-shuffled list of the Cowboys’ most kick-to-the-crotch losses in the Garrett Era:
- October 2, 2011: Lions 34, at Cowboys 30 – Dallas blows a 27-3 lead as Tony Romo throws 2 3rd-quarter interceptions for touchdowns and Calvin Johnson catches a clinching touchdown with 1:39 remaining.
- December 25, 2010: at Cardinals 27, Cowboys 26 – After Dallas produces a Christmas comeback from 18 down to take a 2-point lead on a late Miles Austin touchdown, David Buehler misses the extra point. The Cardinals convert a 4th-and-15 and then celebrate when Jay Feely’s 49-yard field goal crawls over the crossbar on the game’s final play.
- December 11, 2011: Giants 37, at Cowboys 34 – Dallas leads 34-22 with 5:41 remaining, but gives up 2 late TDs and loses when Dan Bailey’s 47-yard game-tying field goal is blocked on the game’s final play.
- September 11, 2011: at Jets 27, Cowboys 24 – Dallas leads by 14 in the 4th quarter but coughs up a blocked punt for a touchdown, a Romo fumble inside New York’s 10 and eventually loses on former teammate Nick Folk’s 50-yard field goal with 24 seconds remaining.
- October 14, 2012: at Ravens 31, Cowboys 29 – After dominating the game and recovering an onside kick for late life, Dallas loses when it inexplicably allows 16 seconds to run off clock after a pass play and then watches Bailey float a game-winning 51-yard field goal wide left. It’s the first loss in franchise history when the Cowboys run the ball 42+ times (89-1).
- November 25, 2010: Saints 30, at Cowboys 27 – Leading by 4 points in the final 2 minutes on Thanksgiving receiver Roy Williams fumbles at New Orleans’ 11 after a long catch-and-run, setting up a Saints’ late touchdown that holds up when kicker David Buehler’s game-tying 53-yard field goal sails wide left.
- October 6, 2013: Broncos 51, Cowboys 48 – Romo throws for 506 yards, but his interception near the 2-minute warning helps the Broncos score the game’s final 10 points and win on a last-second field goal.
- October 27, 2013: Lions 31, Cowboys 30 – Two 10-point leads in the 4th quarter wasted as Tyron Smith commits a holding penalty that saves 40 seconds for the Lions, setting up a game-winning, gut-wrenching 80-yard scoring drive with :12 remaining.
- December 4, 2011: at Cardinals 19, Cowboys 13 – Dan Bailey makes an apparent game-winning field goal from 49 yards, only to find out the Cowboys called a timeout because coach Jason Garrett wanted to ensure a “smooth operation” on the kick. The next attempt dies left and short to force overtime, in which Arizona’s LaRod Stephens-Howling takes a screen pass to the house from 52 yards.
- December 15, 2013: Packers 37, at Cowboys 36 – After building a 23-point halftime lead, Cowboys run the ball only eight times in second half and lose when Romo throws two interceptions on his final three throws.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently writes a sports/guy stuff blog at DFWSportatorium.com and lives in McKinney with his fiancee, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.