Although a few weeks ago many of us looked at Thursday’s matchup with a sense of ease, now I don’t think anyone is breathing easy at the prospect of playing the Miami Dolphins on Thanksgiving Day.
The last time these two teams met on Thanksgiving, Quincy Carter’s 8-3 Cowboys were destroyed 40-21, while Jay Fiedler had a career day. Now the Cowboys will be playing against another journeyman quarterback in Matt Moore, whom we all should remember well.
Like Tony Romo, Moore was an undrafted free agent. As a rookie in 2007, he played decently in pre-season for the Cowboys, going 29-21-182-1-0. I can recall the debate online as to whether the Cowboys should keep Moore, but with one relatively unproven quarterback already on the roster (and as the starter to boot), I recall that the team installed veteran Brad Johnson as the official backup and tried to sneak Moore onto the practice squad. But to no avail. The Carolina Panthers signed him a day later, and we all wished Moore well.
When Jake Delhomme was injured later that season, Moore was thrust into the starting position and acquitted himself quite well, and even got to face his old team in Week 15. He led the below .500 Panthers to a close loss against the 12-2 Cowboys, going 28-15-187-1-1. Moore was sacked five times. Over the next few years with the Panthers, Moore went 7-6 as a starter on some bad teams and garnered a 73.9 passer rating, not too shabby.
Moore signed with the Miami Dolphins this past “off-season” as Chad Henne’s backup. But of course Henne went down with a season-ending injury a few weeks into the season and Moore took over a winless team. The losing continued for a bit but the Dolphins were clearly improving as a team. We’re all aware now that Miami is on a 3-game winning streak, and Moore is a big part of this resurgence. Over the last three games, Moore has gone 70-50-603-6-1, for a 120 rating.
The Cowboys defense should be wary of the unassuming quarterback of whom they’d probably never heard before they start looking at film tomorrow. If former first rounder Rex Grossman can throw for nearly 300 yards and 2 TDs, why not Moore? Especially with a Dallas pass rush that is often non-existent, and with a banged-up secondary that struggles at times.
Welcome home, Matt Moore. Let’s hope that DeMarcus Ware and company will carve you to pieces.