For a franchise long quarterbacked by Captain Comeback – aka Roger Staubach – there have been bigger Cowboys’ rallies in more important situations. But in the Jason Garrett Era, Sunday night’s frenetic win over the Giants is nothing short of epic.
The pulsating, improbable, 27-26 triumph over their NFC East rivals pales in comparison to some of the all-time escapes:
Playoff wins from down 20 (in Atlanta, 1980) and 15 (in San Francisco, 1972). The Eagles’ botching a potential game-winning field goal from the 1-yard line in 1997. Staubach throwing two touchdown passes in the final 2:30 to beat the Redskins for the division championship in 1979. Recovering two onside-kicks, overcoming six turnovers and scoring nine points in the final 20 seconds to beat Buffalo on a 53-yard field goal at the gun in 2007. And, of course, Hail Mary.
Maybe rallying to beat the Giants isn't one of the franchise’s best all-time comebacks, but not bad for a season debut. Good enough, in fact, to top my list of the Top 5 improbable wins under Garrett:
5. Dec. 10, 2012 – Cowboys 20, at Bengals 19: Grieving and numb just hours after Josh Brent’s car crash that killed teammate Jerry Brown, a gutsy Dallas team scores the final 10 points of the game and wins on the final play as Dan Bailey nails a 40-yard field goal.
4. Jan. 4, 2015 – at Cowboys 24, Lions 20: Down 14-0 early and 20-7 late, they rallied for an unlikely playoff win behind a key 4th-down conversion from Tony Romo to Jason Witten, a controversial flag pick-up of an interference call on Anthony Hitchens and a game-sealing sack and strip by rookie DeMarcus Lawrence.
3. Dec. 22, 2013 – Cowboys 24, at Redskins 23: Trailing 23-14 with eight minutes remaining, they win on Romo’s 10-yard touchdown pass to DeMarco Murray with 1:08 remaining. Because of a herniated disc, it was the quarterback’s final pass of the season.
2. Sept. 18, 2014 – Cowboys 34, at Rams 31: Dallas’ produces its biggest comeback in franchise history, rallying from a 21-0 deficit to win late on Bruce Carter’s 25-yard interception return.
1. Sept. 13, 2015 – at Cowboys 27, Giants 26: Can’t get much more bleak than trailing by three, out of timeouts and your opponent at your 1-yard line with 1:43 remaining. But, aided by an inexplicable incomplete pass by the Giants that saved them a precious 40 seconds, the Cowboys drive 72 yards in six plays – without a timeout, a stop-the-clock spike or an injured Dez Bryant – and win when Romo (after corraling a bad, bouncing shotgun snap) hits Witten at the goal line with seven seconds remaining. It’s the latest game-winning touchdown pass in franchise history.
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 lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.