So, I figured it out. If I turn my toaster oven on broil and cross the heating element wires in just the right way – as my article last week demonstrated – I can travel forward in time. Before I was unexpectedly pulled back to the present, if you’ll recall the Cowboys were at the mid-point of the season and stood at 5-3 after having lost at home to the Eagles. Their 5 wins had come over the Giants, the Seahawks, the Redskins, the Browns, and the Falcons. In addition to the Eagles, the Cowboys had lost to the Bengals and the Bears.
In week 9, the Cowboys enjoyed their bye week and used it to get rested and get Miles Austin and Mike Jenkins fully healthy as well as game plan for their next game at the Carolina Panthers.
Cowboys vs Panthers – November 11, 2012
The Panthers have an improved defense and of course a very talented Cam Newton. But, Rob Ryan designs a game plan to limit the damage Cam does and he manages 95 yards rushing and a rushing touchdown but continues his “sophomore slump” and throws 2 costly interceptions – one to Sean Lee and one to Orlando Scandrick. The Cowboys convert both of those turnovers into DeMarco Murray touchdowns and he adds a respectable 87 yards rushing. Romo is sharp again as he passes for 298 yards and throws 2 touchdown passes – one to Miles Austin and one to Dez Bryant. The Cowboys get out of Carolina and get to 6-3 with a 34-17 win.
Steelers vs Cowboys – November 18, 2012
The Cowboys haven’t played the Steelers at home since October 17th 2004 and the Steelers haven’t been in new Cowboys Stadium since losing to the Packers in Super Bowl XLV. They come in having an up and down season with a record of 5-4 but still have a solid defense and plenty of offensive weapons around “Big Ben”. The Cowboys win the opening toss but defer to the second half. Pittsburgh fumbles the opening kickoff and the Cowboys recover on the Steelers 24-yard line. One play later after a beautiful and effective play-action fake by Romo, Jason Witten is open down the seam and holds on despite being rocked by Troy Polamalu. One play in and the Cowboys are up 7-0. The Steelers don’t turn the ball over again but never really recover from the poor start. Trailing the Cowboys 20-17, Roethlisberger drives his team to the Cowboys 31-yard line with :06 left, but Bruce Carter breaks through and blocks the kick as time expires. The Cowboys g
Saints vs Cowboys – November 22, 2012
The traditional Thanksgiving Day home game brings the struggling, talented Saints into Cowboys Stadium. With all of the “bounty gate” issues and the fact that Drew Brees missed most of training camp holding out for a long term contract, has left a talented team in complete disarray. It’s too much to overcome even for a team as loaded with talent as the Saints and they come into the game with a 4-6 record. The Cowboys are licking their chops for what on paper should have been a “W”. But, as is too often the case, the Cowboys take a team they should handle and make a game of it. It’s a lackluster performance that sees Romo throw 2 bad interceptions both of which the Saints convert into points DeMarco Murray also adds an uncharacteristic red zone fumble and the Cowboys can only muster 13 points while Brees throws 3 touchdown passes and watches as Mark Ingram scores once on the ground. Thanksgiving Day indigestion for Cowboys fans as they lose 28-13 in a game that isn’t even that close. They fall to a 7-4 record on the season.
Cowboys vs Redskins – December 2, 2012
Another tough Cowboys-Redskins matchup and RGIII continues an impressive season. But the ‘Boys always seem to play well at FedEx Field and this time is no exception. They bounce back from a bad loss to the Saints with over 300 yards passing and 122 yards rushing from DeMarco Murray. Griffin does some damage with both his feet and his arm but in the end, the Cowboys never trail winning this time 28-20 and matching last year’s win total at 8-4.
Buccaneers vs Cowboys – December 9, 2012
Rookie coaching staff, lots of new personnel, a talented young QB, but still not enough for Tampa Bay to keep pace with a talented, veteran team like the Cowboys whose confidence is growing despite facing another brutal December schedule. They started December with a big road win against the Redskins and continue the December winning streak. Home field and a steady dose of a healthy and productive DeMarco Murray – 108 yards rushing and a touchdown – give the Cowboys their 9th win of the season and they are in the hunt for the NFC East title.
Cowboys at Ravens – December 16, 2012
Just when the Cowboys were building momentum, this tough road game hits the schedule. Joe Flacco is effective and Ray Rice does what Ray Rice does – produce yards and points and the Cowboys suffer a 24-21 setback in Maryland. They play well but never lead and a late drive for a tying field goal sputters out as the Cowboys fail to convert a 4th and 5 at midfield. With 2 games remaining, the Cowboys are at 9-5 and are now a game back of both the Eagles and the Giants in the division. But, those are the remaining 2 games on the schedule and either the Cowboys step up and get it done or face another long off season full of questions.
Giants at Cowboys – December 22, 2012
A primetime Saturday matchup against the hated Giants produces another classic. This game is eerily similar to last season’s game at Cowboys Stadium except this time Romo completes a long touchdown pass to Miles Austin late in the game and the defense is actually able to stop teams when it counts. The Cowboys emerge with a 38-28 win and a sweep of the defending champion Giants. They now own the tie breaker with the G-men and are tied for the division lead at 10-5.
Cowboys at Eagles – December 30, 2012
It’s been way too long since the Cowboys could celebrate a win over the Eagles either home or away. But, this time Mike Vick is on injured reserve and the Cowboys vanquish their December demons beating the “Dream Team” and winning another NFC East Title. They sack backup QB Mike Kafka 5 times en route to a 31-14 dominating win and finish the season at 11-5. DeMarcus Ware wins the sack title getting 3 sacks in this game and finishing with 21 sacks beating his 2008 personal best.
About this point in time, my time-traveling toaster oven gave up the ghost with a puff of gray smoke and I was once again brought back to the present day. Unfortunately, I did not get to see what happened in the post season. But, I have a very good feeling that the momentum the Cowboys had and the fact that they were healthy and gelling at just the right time means good things. With a few lucky bounces that have been all too few and far between for this team, I think the Cowboys just may be hoisting a sixth Lombardi trophy at the end. I can’t wait to watch this season play out live (even if I already know the outcomes). Go Cowboys!