The Dallas Cowboys suffered a terrible tragedy this weekend. The Cowboys then went on the road and honored their fallen teammate with a win. This team has been through a lot this season. It's been filled with injuries and mistakes, but the passing of Jerry Brown was the worst thing that could have happened.
This was a game that the Cowboys had to win. In order to make it into the playoffs they probably have to close out the season with four victories . This is a good start for the Cowboys. They took a major step in the right direction by going into Cincinnati and beating a very good football team. They didn't quit and they kept fighting throughout the game. As a fan, you have to be proud of the Cowboys for pulling out this emotional win.
I don't know if the Cowboys will make the playoffs. Honestly I didn't expect to even win this game, but the team continues to fight. The injuries on the defense are really starting to limit what defensive coordinator Rob Ryan can do. The offensive line is clearly still an issue that we have to watch every week. Each player had to be emotional with their thoughts on Jerry Brown and Josh Brent, but they went out there and played the game with passion. I have to tip my hat to the entire Dallas organization.
As always after a win, let's get to handing out the game balls.
We've discussed and beaten it to death, but Romo really could be amazing with a good offensive line. Romo was beaten down by the Bengals and their talented defensive line. Romo was sacked three times, but he was consistently taking shots that made me cringe. If you were watching closely, you could see that the #9 from Romo's jersey was nearly completely torn off.
Romo didn't play his best game today, but can you blame him? It's nearly impossible to play the quarterback position at a high level when you are running for your life. The Cowboys needed Romo to bail them out once again, and for the most part Romo did everything in his power to win this game.
His poise and leadership have come into question over the years, but I don't know how you can question Romo for that anymore. You have to hope that he can enter the 2013 season with an upgraded offensive line. That should be the number one priority for Jerry Jones and the front office next offseason.
Murray brought some juice back to the running game last week against the Eagles. The Cowboys' offensive line clearly cannot give any running back consistent running room, but Murray is one of the most talented running backs in the league. I seriously doubt that Murray is even 100 percent healthy, but he is bringing a much needed change to the running game.
The stat line really won't wow you. 21 carries for 53 yards and one touchdown isn't exactly going to win you a lot of fantasy football games, but Murray's clutch running down the stretch of the game will win you games in real life. Murray's 6-yard run late in the fourth quarter was the type of run that you can expect from him. Murray used his speed to get to the outside and then used his balance and strength to pick up the first down.
That play set the Cowboys up to win the game. Dan Bailey drilled the 40-yard field goal and that was the ballgame. Murray was a key piece that was critical down the stretch. The Cowboys have missed his ability to close out games in the fourth quarter.
It's hard to really blame the defense for not making more plays. The injuries just continue to stack up and without key players up the middle, it's going to be hard for Rob Ryan to dial up a lot of blitzes. Spencer is having a huge season for the Cowboys. He continues to be a key element in stopping the run, but Spencer is making big plays in key moments of the game.
Late in the fourth quarter, the Bengals faced a 3rd and 4 on their own 36. Spencer came through the line and sacked Andy Dalton for a 10-yard loss. That sack forced the Bengals to punt the football and it gave Tony Romo a chance to drive the Cowboys down the field for the win. Spencer has really elevated his game to the next level. The Cowboys need to keep him in Dallas. Spencer finished the game with two sacks and 11 tackles.