10. Sorry, but part of Sean Lee’s job is to remain healthy and stay on the field. Whether it’s bad luck or bad form (leading with his helmet), Lee will merely frustrate and tease us until he finds a way to avoid injuries. Lee’s the Cowboys’ best defensive player, but critics that say “he’s too small to play so violently” have another card in their deck tonight after his concussion.
9. I contribute the following analysis fully aware that I expect too much logic from TV commercials. But … Good try by Subway with its “Trophy Talk”, but it’s gonna take more than Davey O’Brien’s statue to make us forget Jared Fogle’s pedophilia. And in the US Bank ad, the woman buys the giant helmet blocking her view only to put it on and thereby block the view of the poor fan behind her? Real nice.
8. The Cowboys are too hurt and too mediocre to play dumb. What’s dumb? A penalty for 12 men on the field during that turns a punt into a field goal. 3-point mistakes in overtime games are killers. And, yep, dumb.
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7. The Cowboys are besieged by injuries, but not along the offensive line. I watched the lowly Buccaneers run for 139 yards against Rob Ryan’s porous Saints’ defense. But tonight? Only 115 for the Cowboys. Unacceptable.
6. Brandon Weeden doesn’t know how to “climb the pocket” to avoid sacks and he salivates over check-down throws like we do free buffets, but I give him credit for at times looking like an NFL quarterback. His throw to Brice Butler for a 67-yard gain was a beauty, and his game-tying touchdown to Terrance Williams on 4th-and-7 was both gutsy and glorious. Still, there’s a reason he’s lost his last 10 NFL starts and we saw it on display for most of the game.
5. Tough night for Lance Dunbar. He buys 17 tickets for family members, and has his grandmother watching him play live for the first time. But for some reason he returns the second-half kickoff from eight yards deep in the end zone and promptly injures his knee. Game over. Season likely in limbo.
4. Joseph Randle obviously has talent, but not a lick of sense around the goal line. He fumbled last week diving across the goal line against the Falcons and tonight he, well, I’m not sure what to call it. Let’s try this: Randle took a hand-off at the 1 and attempted a spinning, whirling, Peter-Pan finesse move punctuated by him sticking the ball out with one hand and trying a George Gervin-like finger roll. That about right? It resulted in a touchdown, but also a tongue-lashing from both Jason Garrett and running backs coach Gary Brown. My $1 says Dallas’ next goal-line hand-off is to someone other than Randle.
3. At least one team that calls Arlington home won a big game on Sunday. Sorry Cowboys, but considering your plight and the Rangers’ play, our sports spotlight will be focused on baseball for a week or so. Or longer.
2. The trouble on Drew Brees’ game-winning touchdown pass to C.J. Spiller actually started the play before, when linebacker Andrew Gachkar was picked by a Saints’ receiver and had to leave the field with a leg injury. Enter Keith Smith, who has been on and off the Cowboys’ roster constantly the last two years. Unsure of where to line up, Smith was consulting with rookie Damien Wilson when the ball was snapped to Brees, a wily veteran who obviously sensed Dallas’ defensive confusion. Spiller got a step immediately on the out-of-place, out-of-sorts Wilson, then somehow eluded safety Barry Church’s feeble tackle attempt around midfield and scampered 80 yards. Reminiscent of the Cowboys’ loss in Arizona in 2011 when LaRod Stephens-Howling took a pass 52 yards for the game-winning score on the first possession of overtime.
1. You catch the break of a season when the Saints’ miss a 30-yard field goal, then lose the game two plays later? This was the worst possible scenario for Cowboys. Not only did they lose an offensive playmaker (Dunbar), their defensive quarterback (Lee) and a heart-breaking, overtime game, but Weeden looked just competent enough on Dallas’ last drive to earn a third start next week. Which, yep – against the Patriots – means a third straight loss.
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.