There will be plenty of play by play recap, I just want to give a feel for the ebb and flow of a remarkably up and down game.
1st Impression: Tailgate. Noticed walking to and at the Blue Crew lot a respectable mix of Cowboy jerseys/fans - I'd say a solid 10-15%. And I've never noticed more than 5% in Indy, it's about a fanatic a home team city as I've come across, and largely without the obnoxiousness of our NFC East brethern.
The mood was anxious, no one here knows what to expect from this Colt team, although I could confidently say the same for DAL. There's a certain fatalism we're all familiar with as Cowboy fans, that the injuries have finally caught up with them. IN a broader context, there's a sense they may be seeing the tipping point as Indy slides form elite to just OK - just as in DAL at the millennium's end.
Very grateful for a domed/temp/controlled stadium on a very cold, blustery Indy winter day. Although many spirits were utilized to fight the cold, I'm just glad it wasn't an outdoor venue.
From the beginning, you could see DAL intent to force its running game. The OLine surge was consistent and a thing of beauty through the 1st 3 Qtrs, but looked like they lost a little steam in the last. We didn't seem to be interested in taking many shots downfield, except for a couple of throws to Miles. The emphasis appeared to be to get the ball out quickly, avoiding the Colts pass rush.
Needless to say, the 17pt avalanche made the locals very nervous, even when they cut it by half. At 17-14, very early in the 2nd half you knew both the fans and players felt they were back in it. DAL played a very uptempo game at the outset, bordering on 2 min drill speed. Indy did the same, but that's more typical. DAL backed off that later on, but remained deliberate in maintaining possession.
Simplistically, I felt the game turned on 3 ST plays in the 2nd Half - Dez Runback and penalty, the blocked punt/TD and McCan's fumble on the KO with 35 secs left. Both the first 2 kept the Colts in a game they were being outplayed, the last almost cost DAL the game. And to think a PS player in his first NFL appearance made the difference on that play.
An observation that might inspire some animated feedback is I didn't think our Pass D/coverage was that awful. Or put another way, I've seen it much worse. Both Jenkins and TNew had solid coverage in the TD's they surrendered. In fact, Jenkins tipped that pass, unfortunately into R Wayne's chest. Our pass rush was non-existent, but Manning was also focused on getting the ball out quickly. Giving credit where it is due - Jenkins play in OT was simply an exceptional individual effort. DAL fans are notoriously unforgiving - just ask Romo and Crayton, but I do believe Jenkins is performing as well as can be expected under some difficult circumstances.
Overall another highly entertaining, game effort from the Cowboys. But yet another example why the line between winning and losing is razor thin in the NFL. And for these Silver Anniversary Cowboys, the self-administered cuts have been the hardest to overcome.