Fantastic Finish Keeps Cowboys Hopes Alive


Dec 22, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) throws the ball as Washington Redskins nose tackle Barry Cofield (96) chases in the fourth quarter at FedEx Field. The Cowboys won 24-23. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

I’d be willing to bet my autographed picture of the famous “Hail Mary” catch that I’m not the only Cowboys fan that’s feeling a bit of cautious optimism the day after Tony Romo’s miraculous touchdown toss at FedEX Field Sunday afternoon. I’m emphasising the word “cautious” in that statement because, after seeing what the Philadelphia Eagles did to the Chicago Bears on Sunday Night Football, the ‘Boys have definitely got their work cut out for them if they are going to be playing in January.

Dallas’ defensive woes aside, the Cowboys’ offense didn’t have much success against the hapless Redskins until the end of the game on Sunday. At one point in the first half they had managed only a little more than 5 minutes of possession time, compared with over 16 minutes for the ‘Skins. I wasn’t feeling very warm and fuzzy about Dallas’ chances to forestall their playoff hopes at halftime. As the time ticked away, I’ll admit that the rumors that had been scrolling across the tv screen about Jerry cleaning house on the coaching staff were gaining credence with this Cowboys fan.

Hope was pretty much lost with a mere 6 minutes on the clock and the Cowboys trailing by two scores. Then, some inexplicable sense of urgency rallied Dallas to what will be looked at as a defining moment in the career of Tony Romo if the Cowboys manage to defeat the favored Eagles for the NFC East crown next Sunday night. No matter what happens in the season finale, Romo was the hero in the comeback against Washington. Even if the Cowboys fail to finish December on a winning note, no one should cast blame on #9 because had it not been for that improbable pass to DeMarco Murray on fourth and goal, Dallas would be planning their winter vacations right about now.

I have to believe that the momentum from the victory over the rival Redskins will carry over to some extent on the offensive side of the ball. For Dallas to have a shot against Philly, they have to continue to use Murray extensively. If the Cowboys can open some running lanes for #29, hopefully it will create some opportunities for Dez Bryant to make some big plays as well.

No word on whether return ace Dwayne Harris will be able to return from the hamstring injury that has sidelined him. Likewise for the status of Sean Lee on the defensive side of things. Should those two players can make their presence known on Sunday night, the Cowboys will have a much better chance at taking the division crown.

Whatever happens in the regular season finale, I have to believe that changes are coming on the defensive coaching staff. Dallas will have its hands full trying to keep the Philly running attack under wraps to some degree, while somehow getting pressure on Nick Foles. If Dallas fails to do either of those things, Cowboys Nation could be in for a long night. In this case, a good defense might well be a good offensive. If Dallas can control the clock and have long sustained drives, the Philly offense will be on the sidelines and I’m pretty sure they can’t score from there.

For today, this Cowboys fan isn’t worried about the Eagles, though. For a little while longer, I’m going to revel in the aftermath of the Cowboys improbable victory and dream of January football.