By Will Martin
History was made inside the show me state. On a day there was a Super Bowl rematch from six months ago.
I’m willing to bet there were quite a few fans of the Silver and Blue who were thinking back to that fateful day when the Texas Rangers were one strike-ONE STRIKE AWAY-twice from winning a world championship in Game 6 of the World Series in Missouri.
David Freese was public enemy #1 when getting the clutch hit and homer in the 9th and 11th innings of Game 6 to force a Game 7.
This day in St. Louis it would be understandable if Dallas Cowboys fans thought a let down might be possible. Perhaps a trap game in looking ahead to a prime time matchup September 28 with the New Orleans Saints.
Statistically the Rams had Dallas’ number in total yards (448-340), first downs (26-19), and time of possession (32:50 to 27:10). Austin Davis was a respectable 30 for 42 in the air for 327 yards and three touchdowns.
Tony Romo? Even better with 18 completions in 23 attempts for 217 yards and two scores.
DeMarco Murray had his two best performances in his career playing against the Rams. His first game was a 253 yard Picasso that happened just days before the Game 6 in Missouri spoken about above. Held to only 100 this day.
Dez Bryant had one of his games. Terrence Williams and Jason Witten came up big at crunch time.
Two timely game changing turnovers. If you so much as left this game for any reason at any time on this recognized day of seasonal change…you missed an instant classic for fans of the shootout!
A nine minute drive that resulted in a scoring play by Zach Stacy gave the Rams early momentum. An ensuing fumble by DeMarco Murray (his 3rd in 3 consecutive first quarters this season) allowed Austin Davis to continue to mix runs and passes to perfection when connecting for a 51-yard score to Brian Quick for a 14-0 lead.
In what can only be described as a telegraphed Pick Six Janoris Jenkins proceeded to grab a throw by Tony Romo for a 25-yard touchdown and a 21-0 lead which on paper appeared to be insurmountable.
At this point I wondered aloud, ‘Are we in for a fantastic finish? Could the Gods of Karma roll their eyes and unleash a huge can whoop ass upon the Rams’?
The answer would unveil itself before halftime arrived.
Jason Garrett opted to stick to the plan, run the ball and continue to play for the turnover. An eight play 80 yard drive culminated in a DeMarco Murray 1-yard plunge for a score to get Dallas on the board. A subsequent field goal by Dan Bailey from 29 yards out lessened the gap to 21-10 at the half.
Stay put…fireworks a coming!
It began with a huge mix-up in the St. Louis secondary to begin the third period when Tony Romo finally threw a deep pass to a wide open Dez Bryant 68 yards for a touchdown narrowing the gap to 21-17.
The Rams and Austin Davis returned to the run and looked to be in position to build on a 4 point lead. Deep in Cowboys territory Jeff Fisher opted to go for it on a 4th down conversion which proved disastrous.
Back came Tony Romo finding his touch for passes to Jason Witten, Dez Bryant, Terrence Williams, Cole Beasley in a seven play 62 yard drive for another field goal from 42 yards out by Dan Bailey. The two field goals made tied and broke his record set for consecutive field goals made (28). Rams 21-20 after three quarters.
All of a sudden a 1989 meeting between these two teams came to mind (at Texas Stadium) where the Dallas Cowboys were 4 minutes away from a 31-21 win before a Moose Johnston fumble and a Ron Brown kickoff return for a touchdown.
St. Louis continued to stay on the ground with Zach Stacy and padded their lead to 24-20 on a Greg Zeuerlein field goal. It would be another costly turnover that would put the Cowboys in the lead.
One that would not be relinquished.
Rams Center Scott Wells set up as if he was going to hike the ball to Austin Davis. Unfortunately Davis was in shotgun mode five yards back. The ensuing snap and fumble was recovered by the Silver and Blue.
Terrence Williams gave the Cowboys the lead on a 12-yard touchdown grab of a Tony Romo pass to complete a seven minute drive that covered 84 yards for a 27-24 lead late in the 4th.
The very next snap a stunned St. Louis crowd got quieted when Bruce Carter plucked an Austin Davis pass and ran back 25 yards for a touchdown and a 34-24 lead.
Davis and the Rams ground out one more scoring drive with Davis finding Austin Pettis for a 4-yard touchdown and a 34-31 Cowboys lead.
With 62 ticks of the clock left one final deep pass to a Rams receiver was intercepted by Morris Claiborne and Dallas won a Week 3 game for the 12th year in a row.
Tono Romo’s 21st career comeback win on the 21st after being down 21.
Somewhere in the world even Nellie Cruz was smiling. As if that wasn’t enough Voodoo-WhoDo-Mojo mixing next up are the New Orleans Saints. A team the Dallas Cowboys are 1-9 against since 1998.
As for comebacks in the Cowboys history was 21 the most points they ever overcame? In regulation-YES! Some of you will recall the Monday Night opener 9/5/83 at RFK when the Redskins jumped out to a 23-3 lead before the Cowboys came back to win a thriller 31-30.
October 21, 1984 the very team that comes to visit the Cowboys jumped out to a 27-6 lead. The Saints were 4-3 going into that game at Texas Stadium. A Jim Jeffcoat fumble recovery in the end zone forced overtime before Rafael Septien hit a field goal for a 30-27 victory.
September 12, 1999 was Opening Day in the NFL and the Cowboys were again in the state capital. A 14-13 halftime lead evaporated to 22 unanswered points by Stephen Davis and Washington before Dallas and Michael Irvin answered back with 21 points of their own in the 4th quarter to force overtime.
Another game in which Dallas prevailed when Troy Aikman fired a 76 yard bomb to Rocket Ishmail for a dramatic 41-35 win after trailing by 21.
In closing Tony Romo collected his 21st career comeback victory on the 21st after trailing by 21. All that AND a Pick Six. Anybody for Las Vegas?