In another incredible show of internal strength and resolve, the Dallas Cowboys were able to again prolong their season with a gutsy overtime win against the Steelers. By now, you've read all the recaps, seen all the tweets, watched the highlights, and heard all the press conferences. But there's still more to talk about in Cowboys land.
Brandon Carr made a vital interception for the 2nd week in a row (Photo by Ronald Martinez / Getty)
First off, we as a fan base need to give a collective pat on the back to the Offensive Line. They came up with by far their finest performance of the season against the #1 overall defense in the NFL. Save for a few penalties (Tyron Smith: False Start Extraordinaire) the unit was magnificent. Tony Romo had time to take the snap, survey the field, call his wife, ask her to make the special chicken cutlets with rice, NOT mashed potatoes, for dinner, and then deliver the ball to the open receiver. While the Steelers don't have the worlds greatest pass rush, it was impressive to see what Romo can do with time. He completed the first 300 yard passing game of the season against the Steelers, and didn't even need the extra time to do so (he had no passes in the overtime period). If this becomes a relatively normal occurrence, this team will continue to win games.
Let's also give them a hand for what was accomplished in the running game. Demarco Murray finished with a whopping 5.8 yards per carry against Pittsburgh, something that no fan thought possible going into the game. Murray looked visibly healthier in this contest than the previous two, showing the great burst and power that we've become accustomed to from him. If you're just looking at the box score, you begin to wonder why Dallas only ran the ball 17 times. But the answer lies within the ulta-effective passing game, often mimicking a running game with short passes that kept them in front of the chains.
On the other side of the ball, the Dallas defense continues to somehow piece together strong performances. Remember Michael Coe, the guy that Miles Austin kept burning against the Giants in the first game of the season? Yea, he's on our side now. And he played pretty well actually. Other no-namers, guys like Sterling Moore and Brady Poppinga and Brian Schafering all made contributions. Players that we thought may have a future with the team are proving that the future is now, with guys like Alex Albright and Sean Lissemore coming up with huge plays in the game. And then the cornerstones of this defense, guys like Anthony Spencer, Demarcus Ware, and Gerald Sensabaugh all made game-changing plays to help in the effort. This defense has seen undue injuries to the most important components, but still refuses to give in.
Brandon Carr gets his own bullet point. Two week ago, he was starting to look like another guy the Dallas Cowboys over paid for in free agency. Now, he's looking like the pick-up of the year. His two interceptions in the past two games have directly played a part in Dallas winning, especially yesterdays pick of Big Ben in overtime. At a time in which his world must feel like it's falling apart around him (he and his fiance were friends with Belcher and Perkins. He was also friends with Jerry Brown), Carr has been able to funnel his emotions onto the playing field. He is playing some of the best ball of his career at this point, and we can't help but wonder where the Cowboys would be without him.
With a post like this, you realize that it's not all about just the players playing out there. We've seen teams that were much more talented than this one lose double-digit games in a season. It's becoming more and more apparent that Jason Garrett (yes, that Jason Garrett) is the right man for this job. This team, no matter who is strapping up the pads on Sundays, is responding to his coaching and his beliefs. They're believing in his one-game-at-a-time mantra, not falling into trap games and looking past opponents. We firmly believe that it would be a mistake to show him the door after this season, even if Super Bowl winner Sean Payton is the one walking in. Let Garrett continue to build the type of franchise he wants, and the results will continue to be delivered.
Next week, the Cowboys face the always tough New Orleans Saints. The defense will face another huge challenge in the form of all-world QB Drew Brees and the potent Saints offense, a unit that just dropped 41 points on the still-in-contention Tampa Bay Bucs. But right now, let's enjoy this win against a premier franchise in the NFL; and not forget that the Cowboys are 3-0 in December!
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