Cowboys Play Their Best and Still Lose

By Jay Betsill & Scott Holub

The good news from the Dallas Cowboys trip up to play the Baltimore Ravens is that they played their best game of the season. The bad news is that they still lost, 31-29.


After all of their mistakes and several questionable calls by the officials – due in large part to how bad the Ravens played – Dallas still had a chance to win at the end. Following Bryant’s touchdown on a 4-yard pass from Romo with 32 seconds left to make it 31-29, the 2-point conversion pass went through Bryant’s hands in the front left corner of the end zone. The Cowboys had a chance to pull out a win as they recovered the on-side kick, but Dan Bailey’s potential game-winning 51-yard field goal with two seconds to play went wide left after some very questionable clock management by the Cowboys and their coaching staff.


“I’m sick about losing this game,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said after Sunday’s 31-29 loss to the Ravens. “I feel good about this team. Even though we’re 2-3, I feel good about the way we held up, stayed in there, fought, the way we did some things, executed, the way our offensive line played. There are some things I really feel good about our future with, our future being this year.”


The Cowboys gained 481 yards against the once-mighty and currently beat-up Baltimore defense and (thanks in part to the strong performance by the offensive line) held the ball for more than 40 minutes. Dallas totaled 227 yards rushing, the most against the Ravens since the franchise arrived in Baltimore from Cleveland in 1996. Baltimore’s defensive unit lost cornerbacks Ladarius Webb (right knee) and Jimmy Smith (lower leg strain), along with middle linebacker Ray Lewis (triceps). Webb could have an ACL tear, coach John Harbaugh said. Lewis had an MRI on his triceps Monday, according to ESPN.


Tony Romo went 25 for 36 for 261 yards and two touchdowns, a performance of pure redemption after his five interception performance in Dallas’ last game, two weeks ago on Monday Night Football against the Chicago Bears. DeMarco Murray ran for 93 yards, Felix Jones had 92 on the ground and Dez Bryant caught 13 passes for 95 yards and two TDs. Murray left in the second half with a foot injury and was set to undergo an MRI on Monday.


“I felt we fought really hard and well through a lot of different adversities in all three phases,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “(The Ravens) have been awfully good for a while. This team’s been awfully good in this place for a while. We gave them everything they could handle.”


Ray Rice scored two touchdowns and Joe Flacco threw for a score to help the Ravens secure their fourth consecutive victory. The highlight from Baltimore’s side came when Jacoby Jones tied an NFL record with a 108-yard kickoff return. The victory was for their 14th straight regular-season home win, the longest current streak in the NFL.


Dallas’ next game is another road contest at the Carolina Panthers. Carolina is coming off its bye week after falling 16-12 to the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle held the Panthers to 190 yards of total offense as Newton threw for a career-low 141 yards on 12-for-29 passing, and he was sacked four times. He also ran for 42 yards.


“When you know what guys are doing and you still can’t beat them, they’re just good at what they do,” said Newton, last year’s No. 1 overall draft pick. “Let’s call a cat a cat and a dog a dog. They’re a great defense. We knew what they were going to do before the game even started.”


The Carolina game is the second in Dallas’ brutal five game stretch that includes a home game against the Giants and road games at Atlanta and Philadelphia.