Pokes keep playoff hopes alive impressively
The Dallas Cowboys’ formerly named Doomsday Defense was reincarnated Sunday night when it was needed most as it prevented the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants from crossing their goal line and posted an impressive 20-8 victory before a national television audience.
The crucial victory kept the Cowboys’ wild card hopes alive for another week, after nearly blowing themselves out of the picture a week ago in Pittsburgh when the Steelers scored 17 unanswered points in the fourth period to overtake Dallas 20-13 and place the Pokes in a “must-win” situation for their remaining three games.
This Korner missed the fiasco in Pittsburgh because we were flying to Orlando for a four day stay at Disney World that Sunday.
But against the always-tough Giants, the Cowboys’ defense was at its best, recording a season-high eight sacks and virtually stopping New York’s vaunted running game cold in its tracks. Quarterback Eli Manning was running for his life on most passing downs.
The victory left the wild card hopeful Cowboys (9-5) in possession of the NFC’s No. 5 playoff seed with two games remaining. Atlanta and Tampa Bay also stand at 9-5, but Dallas owns the tiebreakers over both teams.
Cowboys’ quarterback Tony Romo was sacked four times but overcame a slow start and a back injury from one of the sacks to complete 20 of 30 passes for 244 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Romo threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Patrick Crayton early in the second period and then hit blocking back Deon Anderson on a one-yard toss early in the fourth period, upping the scored to 14-3 and giving the Pokes a little breathing room.
The back-breaker for the Giants came after they had spent all their time outs and Romo hit tight end Jason Witten on a crucial third-and nine situation in which Witten bowled over a couple of Giants defensive backs to reach the first down marker.
And then with 2:16 left in the game rookie tailback Tashard Choice, subbing for the injured Marion Barber, sprinted 38 yards to paydirt that clinched the victory for Dallas.
The two-point conversion try failed, but the Cowboys led 20-8 and kept their playoff hopes alive. Choice finished the game with a career-high 91 rushing yards on just nine carries and caught four passes for 52 yards.
The victory capped a tumultuous week in which idiot owner Jerry Jones questioned Barber’s toughness after a broken toe and a calf injury sidelined him from the Pittsburgh game. Barber played some against New York but was used mainly as s decoy and blocking back.
On top of that, perennial troublemaker Terrell Owens persuaded fellow receivers Roy Williams and Crayton to meet with offensive coordinator Jason Garrett complaining that Romo favored throwing passes to Witten. Most of the incident was blown up by ESPN and ESPN.com.
But Orange native Wade Phillips called a team meeting Friday to try to unify the team and said, “Hey, let’s go out and play. All the words and all that stuff is gone, just go out and play. It’s a family. Brothers get into fights. But when they come back to their family, they fight for each other. That’s what our guys did Sunday night.”
The Cowboys will have a relatively short week to get ready to host the defensive-minded Baltimore Ravens (9-5) Saturday night in the final game at Texas Stadium. They finish the regular season Dec. 28 at Philadelphia.
KWICKIES…Bridge City’s Matt Bryant did his part Sunday for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by booting a 38-yard field goal with 44 seconds left in regulation to tie the crucial game at Atlanta 10-10 before the Falcons won it in overtime on a 34-yard three-pointer by Jason Elam, 13-10. The loss dropped the Bucs to 9-5, two games behind division-leading Carolina with two games remaining. Tampa Bay is tied with the Dallas Cowboys and Atlanta , but behind the two teams in the NFC wild card race. The Bucs are still hoping they can be the first team in NFL history to play in the Super Bowl as a host team. Super Bowl XLIII will be played in Tampa.
A tip of the Korner Kap to the Lamar Cardinal men’s basketball team for their 85-79 victory over Texas Tech Saturday night in the Montagne Center in Beaumont. The crowd of 6,182, the largest at home for a Southland Conference school this season, enjoyed watching the Big Red outplay the Red Raiders from the Big 12 Conference who came to town with a not-so-shabby 7-1 record.
Tennessee Titans’ head coach Jeff Fisher must have a soft spot in his heart for the football team playing in the city where he first became a head coach by electing not to kick a very makable 49-yard field goal with less than two minutes left in Sunday’s game in which the Houston Texans held a slender 13-12 lead. The Titans threw an incomplete pass on that fourth-and-three situation and the Texans took over on downs and ran out the clock, chalking up their fourth straight win and giving Tennessee only its second setback against 12 wins. “It was not a good coaching decision,” Fisher admitted after the game. The Texans evened their record at 7-7, the best 14-game start in franchise history.
Orange distance runner Kenny Ruane won the 65-year-and-older division of a 13.1 mile run in Lake Charles Saturday morning in a time of one hour, 30 minutes. He finished 17th overall out of the 150 participants. The overall winner was former Little Cypress-Mauriceville all-state cross country runner Drew Bean, who toured the course in 66 minutes.
The Heisman Trophy selection committee needs to add other categories for choosing a winning quarterback— like his ability to run up the score on an opponent and never running the football himself—to make the choice of Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford more legitimate. Runner-up Colt McCoy and third place Tim Tebow may not have been the best players in college football last fall but they certainly got a lot more bumps and bruises in picking up crucial first downs that enabled their respective teams to post 12-1 records just like Bradford’s Sooners.
JUST BETWEEN US…It’s seems whenever a school district needs to save money, the first place they look is at the athletic department.
That appears to this Korner to be happening in the West Orange-Cove Consolidated ISD as some genius came up with the brainstorm to stop busing athletes home from practice or games at night, a service that’s been provided to the district’s student/athletes since Day One. And it’s not surprising to this Korner that the board of trustees failed to inform Athletic Director Dan Hooks of its diligent plan. If it is so urgent to slash $25,000 from the budget, the trustees should consider eliminating a position the district could get along without, yes, even if it pertains to athletics.