It was looking ugly. That person you went home with after you lost count of how many tequila shots you had type of ugly. Bad snaps, receivers running bad routes, linemen getting beat and drawing flags, inability to get touchdowns in the red zone. Sick to your stomach, not wanting to go into work and face the Cowboys haters ugly.
And then, one strip sack, and it was a thing of beauty. Like a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader.
The rivalry between the Washington Redskins and our Dallas Cowboys is legendary. The legend grew tonight.
I heard the ESPN announcers in the background while I was working on this calling the game "not very thrilling". Sorry, guys. For those of us who love the Blue and Silver, this was nail-biting, floor-walking, fist-pumping excitement. Since we won, anyway.
Winning makes all the difference, doesn't it?
There were several players who could get a game ball tonight. I have gone back and forth thinking about who to award this to. In the end, I think it has to go to one person.
My pick after the jump.
First, the honorable mentions. To start, I have a man who is turning into star, Sean Lee, aka Chuck Norris' secret clone. Eight tackles, two passes defended, one interception, and one all important fumble recovery. I may have to mention him in every one of these game ball posts the way things are going. I will be grinning from ear to ear every time I do.
While I'm on the subject of defense, Rob Ryan and his whole crew deserve a shout out. Almost all of them had big plays, and in the end, holding the Redskins to 16 points was perhaps the crucial part of this victory.
Dez Bryant deserves a mention, not because he was so dominant. The Redskins were doing all they could to keep him quiet, and for much of the game they did so. But with Miles Austin out, Dez caught all four balls that were thrown his way, and none was more important than the catch on the last drive. Third and 21, he grabs the ball for 30 yards, and gets a facemask penalty to boot. As crucial a play as there was all night.
And now a name I am so glad to put out there. I did a post before the game about how the Cowboys needed to establish a running game. Just in the nick of time, Felix Jones busted out with 115 yards and 8.2 per carry, with a long of 40 yards. His performance looks even more significant when you see that the rest of the team had 10 whole yards rushing, and the team average per carry was 4.8 yards. The Cat returns.
Of course, I cannot neglect Tony Romo. He was an absolute warrior tonight (Dez said the same thing after the game), in some ways having to overcome his own team's mistakes as much as the defense of the Redskins. I loved how the announcers were talking about him being a coach on the field. How, watching him rally the team over and over, the word "leader" just kept coming to mind.
The guy who almost got the game ball from me is Dan Bailey. He did not have ice water in his veins. This guy was mainlining liquid nitrogen. Kicks of 41, 27, 32, 41, 23 and 40 yards, and not a one of them was the least bit in doubt (well, five for sure were down the middle). Ladies and gentlemen, we have us a kicker.
But the big award, the game ball, goes to a man who has not gotten much love over the years. I have to give this to a man who may be finally arriving. Anthony Spencer, step up. You earned this one.
My decision was of course influenced by that last play he made, but he was playing hard all night, with four tackles. Yet, it all came down to the biggest play of the night for him. It was a play that seemed to stretch out. He came around as Rex Grossman scrambled to his left, and you could just see it coming. Anthony closed in, his arm came ripping down, and there was the ball on the field. And the game in the bag. Oh, and I just want to mention that he is now second on the team in sacks with one in each game this season. Maybe we can start calling him Consistent Anthony.
The best players make the biggest plays at the most crucial times. In this season, while the team struggles mightily with young players and injuries that just keep coming, he made a play that is one of the biggest of his career. For that, Anthony Spencer gets this Game Ball Of The Week.