Before we get to the links, let's touch on something I've been left to wonder since early in the third quarter.
It goes without saying, that this is one of the tougher Monday mornings for Cowboys Nation to wake up to. The team "mistaked" away a potentially season-defining victory amidst a comedy of errors. The mental fortitude of a team is one of the most important components to team success, yet one of the hardest to properly evaluate from afar. What we do know is, that even after building a huge lead at the halfway point, Cowboys fans worried that the game was yet to be put away. Part of it was knowing that the Lions had come back from 20 points down just one week prior, but most of the apprehension was due to the fact that the Cowboys teams of the Tony Romo era have found a way to keep their opponents viable.
Here's what one BTB member said at the beginning of the second half:
After the Carpenter return, the offense appeared to be righting the ship, crossing midfield in only five plays. And then:
So if we Cowboys fans felt the collapse coming, what was the mental makeup of the players themselves?
On to the links.
Before the game, Rob Ryan said that Calvin Johnson wasn't as good as Miles Austin and Dez Bryant. Ryan believed it, leaving Terence Newman alone on Johnson in the red zone on the game-winning touchdown. Of course, this came after a Frank Walker holding call on third and goal where a stop would have resulted in a field goal attempt. Schwartz, who took time out of his stellar coaching effort that lead to a 27-3 deficit to mock Dez Bryant after an incompletion got the last laugh. Hopefully, the Cowboys will get an opportunity come January to get even.
In his unwavering support of Tony Romo, Jerry Jones said the following:
"There’s no issue about faith in Romo in any place in this organization, period. Any place," Jones said. "There’s no issue regarding Tony. I had all the confidence in the world on the last drive that he gives us the best chance to go down and score a touchdown. Didn’t get it done, but we have a lot of faith in Romo."
Follow the jump to see Tony Romo's reaction to Jones' support (in the heat of the moment), and more links.
"The first one, the linebacker (Bobby Carpenter) made a good play on the ball. He got out under it. I thought I threw it high enough to get over him, but he went up and got it. He did a good job on it."
"The second one, on a slant, the corner (Chris Houston) did a good job staying inside. It is a timing throw. You throw it, let it go, and we just have to be better on the throw and catch on that play. Give them credit again for doing a good job."
"The last one, to Jason (Witten), we had a good call-up to get by everybody. I just didn't get enough on the throw. I'll be anxious to see the tape. He was coming open past the linebackers and it was going to be a good play. We got what we wanted on the play, and I thought it was going to be a big play for us honestly."
The second interception, Romo is clearly not trying to blame Laurent Robinson who, to me, appeared to slow just a bit on the timing pattern. I beg to differ on the last one. I watched that play several times, and Romo did have room to step into the throw if he wasn't concerned with taking the hit. He threw off his back foot on a play where he didn't get touched.
Want to know why Matt Stafford and and Calvin Johnson were finally able to click after the Cowboys defense had completely befuddled them throughout the first half? The Cowboys lost their quarterback of the secondary to a concussion.
"From what I heard, I was making a tackle and one of our own guys came and hit me in the back of the head," he said. "You know, it happens in football. But I feel all right."
Sensabaugh, who made an interception on Detroit's first possession of the game, appeared woozy and walked toward the Lions sideline before he was redirected to the Cowboys bench. He later underwent tests inside the locker room.
It was the largest blown lead in team history, topping the Redskins’ 21-point comeback against the Cowboys in 1965. It also earned a dubious place in NFL history, ranking as the fourth-largest regular-season collapse.
Where did Dez go in the Cowboys offense yesterday? After scoring two first half touchdowns, he only received two targets in the second half. The first interception to Bobby Carpenter, and a bobbled incompletion down the left sideline. In the perfect opportunity to cement his status as a top notch receiver, sharing the stage with Calvin Johnson, Bryant disappeared. He was seen riding the stationary bike to keep his thigh loose, was that the issue?
As I wrote in the quick summary, microcosm for the game. Fourth down, eons to go and Romo dumps it off to Felix Jones who escapes a tackle and just runs out of bounds to save time. Did Romo know it was fourth? Why was he dumping it off instead of at least a hail mary? Did Felix know the situation? Ugh.
Sean Lee didn't have a dominating game for the first time in the 2011 season. There was a play in the game where I tweeted it may have been the first time all year that Lee didn't win when he made contact with the running back, getting pushed backwards. He didn't play badly, but he wasn't Chuck Norris as he had been. As for the first Megatron touchdown, Lee said the following.
"The thing is, he can high-point it a lot higher than we can," Lee said. "You can jump as high as you want, but when he’s a foot above you, it’s very tough. At the same point, when you have two or three guys there, you need to make the play."
The play got the Lions to within 30-24 in the fourth quarter of what turned into their 34-30 victory. But Lee said he and the defense still felt confident immediately after the touchdown.