Jets 27, Cowboys 24: My Top 10 Observer-ations
9. I'm not a big referee conspiracy guy, but the Cowboys had seven penalties and the Jets ... zero? None? On 9/11? Hmmm.
8. Couple of special teams brain farts contributed to Dallas' epic collapse. Still not sure what Martin Rucker was thinking, but the goal-line referee was visibly prepared to blow Mat McBriar's 59-yard punt dead at the Jets' 1 before the backup tight end inexplicably pounced on it and slid into the end zone for a touchback. (Anyone else thinking Leon Lett?) Then, of course, came Joe McKnight's blocked punt right up the middle in which it sure looked like rookie Alex Albright let him go unblocked to his inside. Special teams coach Joe DeCamillis can't be happy.
7. For all that the Cowboys did right -- Romo's 342 yards passing, holding the Jets to 45 yards rushing, etc. -- it took a comedy of errors to lose this one. Included on that list, a shoulda-been interception by Alan Ball that bounced right off his facemask. Two plays later the Jets took their only lead of the game.
6. Jason Garrett has lost four games as head coach of the Cowboys. By margins of 3, 3, 1 and 3 points.
5. Hello, Sean Lee. Goodbye, Keith Brooking.
4. Disappointing performance by Dez Bryant. For a beast who can physically dominate, he seems awfully fragile. After bruising his thigh on a second-quarter punt return he was a non-factor. Bryant caught three passes for 71 yards in the game's first 7:33, and then was shut out the final 52:17.
3. More painful: The 2010 season-opening loss to the Redskins on a Sunday night in which Alex Barron negated an apparent game-winning touchdown catch by Roy Williams with a holding penalty? Or the 2011 season-opening loss to the Jets on Sunday night in which the Cowboys blew a 14-point lead in the 4th quarter courtesy of two Romo turnovers, a blocked punt for a touchdown and a 50-yard field goal by a kicker they previously cut? Gotta be this one. NFL teams rarely blow 14-point leads in the 4th quarter. This one feels worse than being blown out.
2. I know this is going to sound blasphemous, but I feel good for Nick Folk making that 50-yard game-winning field goal with 27 seconds remaining. He went to the Pro Bowl with the Cowboys and should have never been cut late in 2009. Cowboys have been chasing someone as good as him ever since.
1. Impossible not to hang this loss on No. 9. It's one thing to make physical mistakes, i.e. bad throws. But it's totally unacceptable for Romo -- in his 62nd NFL start -- to make bad, careless decisions. Fumbling at the 2 with a 24-17 lead in the 4th quarter is simply inexcusable. It's a play made by losers, plain and simple.