Cowboys’ cornerback Brandon Carr was a very expensive offseason acquisition that proved he is worth every penny of it in yesterday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. I’m not saying the Cowboys wouldn’t have won without Carr’s big interception in overtime, but I’m elated that we didn’t have to wait and see if they could.
Dec 16, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr (39) returns an interception in overtime against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Cowboys Stadium. The Cowboys beat the Steelers 27-24 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
A see-saw game that kept me on the edge of my seat throughout, and went into a tension filled overtime period, was brought to a near immediate end with Carr’s interception of Ben Roethlisberger in only the Steelers second play of overtime, after winning the coin toss and taking the ball.
Carr has been steady throughout the season, if not necessarily making many of the big plays he was brought in to provide. But there would be none bigger than this one against the Steelers. And Carr showed a lot of athleticism in his ability to get to the ball and make the play.
There’s a lot to like about what we’re now seeing from this team as they continue to scratch and claw their way into playoff contention. There are so many starters missing from the defense, yet they still find a way to get it done when they have to.
Not only does the loss of these starters mean the Cowboys are fielding a defense with players that are not quite as good, it also keeps them from running their complete defensive package, because of the replacements lack of experience in this defensive system. But somehow defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan is keeping it all together.
Dec 16, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr (39) takes a moment on a knee after the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Cowboys Stadium. The Cowboys beat the Steelers 27-24 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
One thing for sure, the Cowboys need to find a way to sign Anthony Spencer to a long-term contract. The man has turned into a real beast and is one of the reasons this defense it still playing at such a high level.
Don’t get me wrong, there are still many flaws on this team and they still make an unacceptable level of mistakes. The offensive line did just enough to protect Tony Romo, but that is only because of his ability to move in the pocket. However, there are still way too many false starts.
I can’t complain too much about holding calls in this game, because there were only two. One of them was on Dez Bryant and the other one kept Tony Romo from taking a hard hit. And you have to appreciate the heart Bryant showed, just being out there with a fractured finger and still making plays. That being said, we did see the Cowboys having to punt due to drive ending penalties.
This has improved over the season, but needs to improve much more if this team is going to have a chance to make it to the playoffs and then do something if they get there. In this game I was impressed with Jason Garrett’s play calling and the execution by the offense early on. It was the first time in a long time that the Cowboys were able to seize the lead early and it’s sure easier to bring home a win when you get an early lead, than it is when you fall behind.
I don’t know what the squib kick was about though. The Cowboys kickoffs had been going into the end zone, so I’m not sure why they took a chance on a kick the ultimately allowed the Steelers to start at their own forty yard line, with a shorter distance to drive for the touchdown they ended up scoring. It must have scared the Cowboys when the Steeler kick returner ran one out of the end zone and almost turned it into a big play.
So, the Cowboys live on to fight another day and that fight will be upon us quickly as the New Orleans Saints come to Arlington on Sunday. Results of today’s games have the Cowboys in a three way tie for the lead in the NFC East and it appears the Cowboys control their destiny with a lead over the Giants, due to record in the division, and the chance to settle things with the Redskins in the last game of the season.