So, I've seen Cowboys games at the Cotton Bowl (as a very young sprout), at Texas Stadium, and now at Jerry World. The Death Star is simply magnificent. I mean, bread and circuses magnificent. I have to give it up for Jerry and his crew; there isn't much in the way of seating, views, and comfort that they didn't anticipate. We had club seats, which I highly recommend, if you've got some spare change (LOTS of spare change), and we had a fabulous view of the field.
First, I want to dispel a couple of misconceptions I've seen written about this particular game. It was not quiet in there. It is not unrelentingly loud like I"m sure some places are, but when third downs rolled around, and the noise was needed, the noise was provided. The crowd was well aware of when to be quiet (when we were on offense), and when to get rowdy (again, on Cleveland third downs). The screaming was deafening then. So, maybe not all games are created equal, but at this game, the fans did their jobs. Second, the stadium did not empty out before the overtime period. There were some empty blocks of seats that obviously belong to corporations, and a lot of those were empty, but the stadium was mostly full, and it stayed pretty darned full until the final gun.
The game. I was a Romo fan before, and I'm an even bigger Romo fan now. Nothing, and I mean nothing happens unless he makes it happen, and he knows it. The offensive line was horrible, even before Smith went out, and there are a couple of guys on that offense who probably don't belong in the NFL. The run game, or lack thereof, is futile, and the pass blocking is worse. He got hit every which way a QB can get hit, and at one point, I'm pretty sure he was hurt. He got up limping after one knock down, and visions of the rest of the season passed before my eyes. Yeah, he fumbled. I'm sure there are some picking at that today. Here's a fact; Romo can't afford to sit back and let everyone do their jobs (witness the first half), because in some cases, they probably never will. I've seen people complain that he doesn't lift his team. I"m here to tell you that that is exactly what he did yesterday. He went out in the second half, took the hits, ran around like his hair was on fire, and made things happen, most of them good. As Randy Galloway said this morning on the radio, it was a "gallant" performance. Should he have had two hands on the ball. Yeah, and? So should every player who ever gets blindsided and loses the ball. If that's what you want to focus on today, you'll never appreciate what a terrific QB he is.
Dez. When he stepped out of bounds in what looked like a cowardly business decision, he was roundly booed by the crowd. Fortunately, Felix ran for a first down on the next play, and it didn't matter. BUT, I think whatever happened there (business decision or mental lapse), and whatever was said to him afterward sparked something, because he came out in the second half and had what I hope was his coming out party. He and Romo were down right studly, and I hope they continue to connect that way going forward. One reason there were so many penalties on the Browns was because once Romo and Dez (and Harris) started to connect, the Cleveland DBs couldn't do anything but grab.
Harris. Another blossoming going on? Some key plays on his part made me feel that Ogletree may soon be done.
The defense. No pressure on Weeden for much of the game. I don't know what the defensive game plan was, but if the Browns had a better QB, the Cowboys would have been torched. I get that their O line is good, but there were numerous plays where Weeden could have sat down, had a cup of coffee, and called his wife to see how she was doing. I mean, he could literally just stand there, counting off the seconds until someone got open. Fortunately, he sucks; I may be more accurate than he is. That was a bit discouraging to watch.
Was it pretty? No. I'm not sure I can express how infuriating the penalties on Rat and Scandrick were. Stupid, boneheaded penalties that were completely pointless. Did I love everything about the game plan? No. May I never have to see Ware or Spencer drop into coverage again. But I tell you what, we had a couple of prettier games this year that we lost, so I'm not going to apologize for being happy we won, even if it was ugly. Believe it or not, the Cowboys have never lost a game I attended, and I'm happy to say my streak is unbroken.
Other notable things: Moorman had some awful kicks and some good ones. I doubt he'll be around next year. Bailey continues to be money. On a more personal note, the cheerleaders? Whatever. There were some flag-carrying guys in jeans, boots, and cowboy hats dancing around on the sidelines, and ladies, it was pretty. Jerry has something there for everyone. Bread and circuses.