After each Cowboys game this season, I'll offer a brief look at the game by the numbers. A quick take on a devastating night in the New Jersey Swamps, in descending order.
68: Number of offensive yards the Cowboys defense yielded in the first half before giving up an 87-yard drive just before halftime. After that, the dam seemingly broke; the Jets middling offense finished with 360 total yards, 315 through the air. All this despite...
45: Yards rushing by the Jets ground and pound. Part of this was New York's peculiar decision to feature Mark Sanchez; but the Dallas front seven played well. After being gashed on the preseason, they were stout in the middle, shed blocks, and swarmed to the ball.
36: The uniform number of Jets safety Jim Leonhard, whose hustle saved a touchdown on a beautiful Jason Witten 64-yard catch-and-run; he managed to nudge the Senator out of bounds on the Jets three yard line--a play that ultimately saved seven points.
More numbers below...
32: receiving yards Jets tight end Dustin Keller had on that scoring drive; also the number of yards Ladanian Tomlinson tallied on a perfectly-called screen pass, aided by an Alan Ball whiff, on said drive.
17: Fourth quarter points for New York. A galling statistic appeared on the NBC telecast: the Cowboys had never, in their 50+ year history, lost a game in which they were leading by 14 points in the fourth quarter. Well, now they have.
8:59: Time remaining in the game when Tony Romo fumbled at the Jets two yard line, thus negating an almost certain opportunity to extend a fourth quarter lead to two scores.
4: Number of Jets three-and-outs (a fifth resulted in the Jets' winning field goal). The last of these took place on the first drive of the third quarter. Clearly, the Cowboys defense wore down. In some small part, this was because of the next number:
3: Number of Dallas cornerbacks that missed the majority of the game. The Cowboys played the majority of that horrible fourth quarter with their 4th and 5th CBs, Alan Ball and Bryan McCann--and if Orlando Scandrick's injury is going to keep him out for any extended amount of time, we'll have to get used to seeing #20 and #37 on the field.
2. Romo turnovers--a number that matched his Jets counterpart, Sanchez. As they often seem to, Romo's miscues came at the worst possible time: the fumble mentioned above and an inexplicable pass to a spent (and blanketed) Dez Bryant with the game on the line. Sigh.
1: Number of starts Bill Nagy and Tyron Smith now have under their belts. Center Phil Costa now has two NFL starts. Although they struggled at times, the kids did alright against a difficult defensive scheme.
0: Penalties on the Jets. The Cowboys had 7 for 40 yards, which isn't bad. But they came in multiples, killing a promising first quarter drive and leading in part to the game's most important play, the disastrous blocked punt in the fourth quarter.
Also the number of catches Dez Bryant had after the first quarter. He came out playing with his hair on fire, but seemed to run out of juice by halftime. Watching the fourth quarter, I couldn't help but wonder whether the Cowboys indoor training camp schedule--wherein they played in climate-controlled comfort--contributed to their fourth quarter el foldo once they had to play four quarters in the elements, namely East Coast humidity.
Also the number of Cowboys victories in 2011. I expect that to change next week.