Record-Setting Comeback Lifts Cowboys Over Rams 34-31
Well, let’s at least give the football team from Dallas some credit. They sure know how to go about stinkin’ a place up.
And on this day they proved equally capable of finishing off a comeback. Record comeback, make that.
We don’t know if this will lead to anything of consequence in 2014. All of the positives of a two-game winning streak may just evaporate after next week’s visit from New Orleans. In fact, some would consider it a probable happening.
But in the what-have-you-done-lately world of the NFL, the Cowboys have done a whole lot, rallying from a 21-point deficit to down the Rams 34-31. It was the first time in franchise history that the Cowboys have overcome a 21-point deficit to win a game in regulation, and is the fourth consecutive season that Dallas has begun the season with two victories in the first three weeks.
Those old self-destructive impulses reared their ugly head again on Sunday in the air-conditioned Edward Jones Dome. It was Demarco Murray (fumble) and Tony Romo (pick-six) and a heartless defense trying to give it away early. As it turned out, all three parties would play a significant role in what turned out to be an epic rally.
This was one game when Jason Garrett’s many slogans about staying the course came into play for those on the Dallas sideline. It would have been easy to pack it in during the first quarter when it seemed every member of the team had a hand in digging a deep, dark hole.
With a strong running game to bolster his confidence, rookie Austin Davis looked unstoppable while moving the St. Louis offense to consecutive touchdown drives to begin the game. After Romo’s interception, the Rams were up three touchdowns with a quarterback who looked as if he’d been playing for two decades rather than just two games. This was not the script that Dallas had planned on writing.
And just when you thought that offensive coordinator Scott Linehan would ditch the running game (Murray had 6 carries for 1-yard to that point) he showed some gumption by sticking with the game-plan. Five carries later, Murray gave the Cowboys their first points on the afternoon, with a one-yard plunge up the middle.
The Rams fumbled a gift field goal at the halftime buzzer into the Cowboys’ laps, and suddenly it was a 21-10 ballgame with Dallas set to receive the second-half kickoff.
Jerry Jones said earlier in the week that he liked Romo serving a complementary role within the Cowboys offense. But it’s almost a given that your quarterback is going to have to do something out of the ordinary to complete the comeback, and that’s just what he did.
Finding Dez Bryant all alone behind the Rams defense for a 68-yard score early in the third quarter was the first part. The touchdown drew Dallas within 21-17. Later in the fourth period, with the Cowboys trailing 24-20, Romo pieced together a drive that that would have made Jolly Roger Staubach proud.
On a third-and-13 play, instead of waiting in the pocket for a receiver to come open downfield, Romo, bad back and all, went about to make a play himself, turning upfield. Just when you thought he would come up short, Romo put a nifty move on St. Louis linebacker Alec Ogletree and fell forward to complete the 15-yard gain.
Moments later, his pass to Terrance Williams on third-and-14 gave the Cowboys another set of downs on a drive that ended with Romo finding Williams again across the middle for a 12-yard scoring play to give Dallas their first lead of the game.
And when Bruce Carter ran back an interception of Davis 25 yards for a touchdown, it appeared that the Dallas defense had put an exclamation point on the comeback. But that’s not how it turned out.
Davis orchestrated another touchdown drive, and the St. Louis defense forced a Dallas punt for the first time in six possessions. That’s when Davis, who had enjoyed a field day picking on Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne, went to the well one too many times.
With just over a minute remaining, Davis’ pass directed toward Brian Quick was off-line and intercepted by Claiborne, sparking a raucous celebration on the Dallas sideline.