#1: Nick Folk's 106 yard winning field goal
Week 5; Dallas Cowboys versus Buffalo Bills
I had a bad feeling about this game before it even started. During the pre-game shows leading up to the Monday Night Football game, ESPN did nothing but talk about Tony Romo. How great he had been playing so far in the season and how far he will take the team that year. There were plenty of other storylines to focus on but you know ESPN, they have to go for the big fish. And Tony Romo was their prize catch. Just sitting there and watching all the cameras focused on Romo, I couldn't help but think that things just weren't going to go all that well for him.
The way the Buffalo crowd was amped up was disconcerting as well. From my couch, it just seemed like the Cowboys were taking this game too soft. They had played some pretty good ball in the first four weeks but were only truly tested once. And Buffalo was sitting there waiting, just foaming at the mouths to spoil the Cowboys' fun. What made me even more uneasy was how that whole week, every single person in the media stated that this could be a "letdown" game for the Cowboys. It had all the classic makings for one. In the past, this was the kind of game the Cowboys never really played well anyway. So I was braced for the worst as the game started.
How I wish I was wrong.
After Romo threw the first interception, I told myself that it would be alright. I wasn't all that worried about the Buffalo offense and I was confident the Cowboys' defense could hold their own. Shake it off, get back out there and get the score back. Never would I have thought that Romo would throw another interception on his very next pass. It became almost comical from that moment on.
Every time Romo went back to pass you held your breath. He was struggling mightily out in the field and it was painfully obvious that he was having trouble getting a read on the Bills' defense. Romo did have a touchdown pass in the first half that tied things up, but even that wasn't a very good throw. Romo would end up throwing five interceptions as well turning the ball over with a fumble in the second half. And while everything was going wrong around them, not one player on the Cowboys sideline gave up and they all pulled together to rally around their star quarterback.
It was tough to see Romo struggle but it was even more heartbreaking to see him sitting on a cooler on the sideline, his head down in defeat. The image of Terrell Owens coming over to Romo and giving him words of encouragement quite honestly choked me up a bit. This was a guy that put everything he had into the game of football and had played unbelievably for his team so far in the season. Now it was his team's turn to save the game for him. Even though it had all gone horribly wrong, the Cowboys were still very much in it when they got the ball with just under four minutes remaining in the game, down 16-24.
Coming out onto the field for that last gasp drive, Romo looked like a man on a mission. He had thrown away a golden chance just a few minutes earlier with a red zone interception, but this time he was determined to put his team in a position to pull off the unthinkable. That drive Romo was 9 for 11 for 77 yards as he led his team down the field, throwing a touchdown pass to Patrick Crayton with just 24 seconds remaining. Unfortunately Owens was unable to hold onto the two point conversion and it looked as if the improbable comeback would fall just short.
I have to be honest here and say that I walked away from the television at that point. It had just been too much of an emotionally draining game and I was exhausted. It had been the toughest Cowboys game I had ever sat through and the whole time I kept telling myself that we could still pull it off. When Owens dropped that pass I just couldn't take it anymore. And as I walked into my bedroom I heard Brad Sham exclaim that the Cowboys had recovered the onside kick. I couldn't believe it. After everything that had happened they still had a chance. Romo stepped right back on the field as confident as ever and made a couple of brilliant throws that put his team in position to win with just 2 seconds remaining.
Now we come to Nick Folk, the Cowboys rookie kicker. For too long the team had been searching for a dependable leg, a guy they could count on to nail the game winning field goal when he was called upon. And now Folk was being asked to kick a 53 yard field goal to cap an impossible comeback. As he stepped into the ball and just absolutely NAILED the kick, the refs started blowing their whistles. The play was called dead because the Bills had called timeout at the very last second. Could Folk kick it again?
Yes he could. It was the most amazing game I had ever seen the Cowboys play. Every single player on that team REFUSED to lose and pulled together around their quarterback. The defense did all it could to keep the Cowboys in the game, giving up just three points the entire game. Nick Folk nailed a perfect onsides kick and Tony Curtis out ran everyone on the field to fall on the loose ball. Folk kicked the game winning 53 yard field goal not once, but twice.
And Tony Romo overcame the worst game of his career to put together two magical drives in the final four minutes to pull his team back from the brink.