In the manly world of football, a loss is – unequivocally – a loss. It does not matter how many injuries were sustained or how shamelessly the “refs were paid off.” A loss is a loss. That’s why it’s curious that the Dallas Cowboys defeat at the hands of quarterback Peyton Manning and the unbeaten Denver Broncos stands out as not being your run of the mill, “my team always sucks” type of a loss.
Sure some say the defense, giving up 51 points, is beyond reproach. Sure some say the coaching decisions to take time off the clock, once again, doomed the now 2-3 team. And surely, some would say Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo threw his usual “choke at the last second” interception.
Despite all, the spark lit in Romo’s 506-yard sensational passing game has somehow overshadowed the gloom of this defeat. Certainly, the Dez Bryant – Romo hook up for 141 yards and two touchdowns adds to the anticipation of what the Cowboys have yet to show.
Which Cowboys fan’s heart did not stop beating for at least a millisecond when watching Romo’s 82-yard pass sail ever so gracefully into the hands of – hold on a sec – who’s that guy? Rookie Terrence Williams. And if the Cowboys allowed the Broncos to score 51 points, then it should also be noted that no team has yet scored over 30 points against the Broncos this season.
Guess which team finally broke Manning’s no-interception streak? Thanks to – not star corner back Brandon Carr whose play in the opener was so memorable – but Cowboy Morris Claiborne, a corner back who came into this game with something to prove.
Perhaps this loss does not seem so bad because the season itself started off hype-less enough. Oddly low-key, owner Jerry Jones did not dazzle with any new sign-ons. Ticket sales were not stellar even for the season opener. Yet fans witnessed the Cowboys display a certain vigor and resolve when they fought back against a charging Giants offense.
As usual, victory over the Giants who came into Dallas with a 4-0 record against the Cowboys at their new stadium, once again raised the expectation bar. And memories of an America’s team that had once seemed dusty and distant, suddenly reappeared… So the see- saw cycle of win/loss began – losing to the Chiefs 17-16 in week 2, then beating the Rams 31-7, only to fall to the Chargers 30-21.
Surely enough, owner Jerry Jones got an earful from fans after referring to this latest loss to the Broncos as a “moral victory.” Most of us can agree that moral victories don’t translate into bragging rights, and almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.
Yet somehow, this particular defeat to the Broncos feels more like a rainbow after a bad storm. The storm is, of course, the year after year of seeing the Cowboys continue to disappoint in Decembers and post-seasons. Of course, only time will tell whether this game really was a sign of good things to come – or simply another albatross around the neck.
Written by: Fatema Biviji
ESPN, Dallas Morning News, NFL.com