Titans 34, Cowboys 27: My Top 10 Observations
9. Tony Romo was sacked once in his first 132 passing attempts. On Sunday he went down five times in the game's first 20ish minutes. It's rare that an offensive lineman gets yanked during a game, but that's exactly what happened to right guard Leonard Davis. Ouch.
8. For a guy with size, strength and nifty moves, Dez Bryant sure takes a lot of violent, direct hits with the ball.
7. Is it just me or is the NFL going waaay overboard shoving all this pink down our throats? Sweat bands, cleats, chinstraps and even referees' whistles. I've had friends and family with breast cancer and I sympathize, I really do. But I've got two words: Prostate cancer. Breast cancer kills more people, but I guarantee that annually prostate cancer kills more NFL fans. Not a bad cause, just a strange fit.
6. Want to feel even worse about 1-3? In their three losses (to the Redskins, Bears and Titans) the Cowboys produced massive statistical edges in total yards (+422) first downs (+24), plays (+57) and time of possession (+28:00). Frustration is when the best team - your team - keeps losing games it should win. Problem is, of course, that in those three game the Cowboys also committed a combined 30 penalties and seven turnovers. The Cowboys have also lost consecutive home games to mediocre opponents in which Romo threw for 374 and 406 yards. That's almost impossible.
5. How do you lose a game in which you produce a 100-yard rusher, a 150-yard receiver (Miles Austin is a bonafide badass) and a 400-yard passer? With 12 penalties, three turnovers, no takeaways, a missed field goal and an excessive celebration penalty after a game-tying touchdown. That's how. Wade Phillips used the word "exasperating." I bet we can come up with some more. Revolting. Nauseating. EvenmoremaddeningthantheRangersing.
4. Turns out - as a lot of us feared - the bye week came at a terrible time for the Cowboys. Mike Jenkins, for example, was still on vacation yesterday. Gets burned twice on the opening drive, gets embarrassingly turned around by Chris Johnson on a long run and gives up a long pass to Kenny Britt in which he almost - almost I said - gave up on the play and allowed an 80-yard touchdown. Oh yeah, and I almost forgot his ridiculous drop of an interception.
3. The Cowboys, again, were sorely out-coached. Temporarily transforming his team's identity as a run-first team, Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher surprised the Cowboys by throwing early and throwing deep. And boy did it ever work. Geared up to stop Johnson, the Cowboys were clueless.
2. David Buehler's missed 44-yard field goal was big. Martellus Bennett's drop-turned-tip-turned-interception at the goal line was bigger. But the biggest mistake of the day was Romo's interception inside Dallas' 10 in a 20-20 game. Doug Free failed to get Titans' defensive lineman Dave Ball on the ground on the three-step drop, allowing Ball to get his paws on the ball at the line. The seemingly safe pass - intended for Bennett in the left flat - was picked off by Alterraun Verner. Johnson scored from a yard out on the next play to make it 27-20. That one's on Free.
1. Is it a ridiculous rule? Of course. But it's still a rule, and by losing his balance and falling down and "performing" a backward somersault in the end zone Marc Colombo broke it. I've never seen an offensive lineman penalized for excessive celebration, and there's something wrong with a league where a guy is flagged for accidentally falling down but another (Johnson) is allowed to stand on the Cowboys' star in the end zone and self-aggrandize with arms outstretched. Still, as voice of the Cowboys Brad Sham has grudgingly become fond of saying, "The Cowboys again slipped in a puddle of their own drool."