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Dan Bailey connected on a 28-yard field goal as time expired to give the Dallas Cowboys an important 20-19 Thanksgiving Day win over the Miami Dolphins. Tony Romo drove the Cowboys 54 yards in 10 plays in the final three minutes to momentarily put the Cowboys in first place in the NFC East.
Laurent Robinson caught his second touchdown pass of the game just 23 seconds into the fourth quarter to give the Cowboys a 17-16 lead. The Dolphins were able to respond, however, with a lengthy 14 play, 76-yard drive to take a 19-17 lead on a 23-yard field goal. The Dolphins then forced a punt on Dallas' next possession, but the Dolphins could not do anything with the following possession.Romo threw for 226 yards and two touchdowns, but also threw a pair of interceptions in the first quarter. Robinson caught 7 passes for 79 yards and a pair of touchdowns for Dallas. Demarco Murray also finished with 87 yards rushing.
It took 238 plays and almost 14 quarters, but someone was finally able to score a touchdown on the suddenly stout Miami Dolphins' defense. Laurent Robinson caught a five yard touchdown pass from Tony Romo with less than a minute to go before haldtime to give the Dallas Cowboys a 10-3 lead at the break.
Robinson's touchdown was set up by a fumble by Matt Moore, who mishandled a shotgun snap and the ball was recovered by Demarcus Ware at the Miami five yard line. Dallas only needed one play to break a 3-3 tie.
Dan Bailey added a 32-yard field goal earlier in the quarter to tie the game at 3-3. Shayne Graham missed a 47-yard field goal attempt for the Dolphins, who have intercepted Tony Romo twice, but have only turned those mistakes into three points.
Dallas was unable to hold the Dolphins off the scoreboard on the final drive of the half, as a pass interference penalty on 3rd and one. That set Graham up for anotehr field goal he made as time expired.
Tony Romo is not off to a great start for the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day. Romo has been intercepted twice in the first quarter, the second leading to the game's only score on a short field goal by Shayne Graham. The Miami Dolphins lead 3-0 after on quartrer.
Vontae Davis and Sean Smith each intercepted Romo in the opening period. SDavis intercepted Romo at the Miami 17 yard line to end the Cowboys' first drive of the game. The second interception came on a great play by Smith at the Dallas 26 yard line. The Dolphins only gained 18 yards before being forced to settle for a 26-yard field goal.
Dallas was driving with the ball as the first quarter came to a close. DeMarco Murray already has 33 yards rushing for Dallas. Aside from the two interceptions, Romo has completed 3 of 6 passes for 32 yards. Cameron Wake already has a sack for Dallas as well.
The Miami Dolphins are not missing starting quarterback Chad Henne much right now. Henne, out for the season and on injury reserve, has been replaced by Matt Moore, who has had flashes of excellence in relief of Henne. He may need another for the Dolphins to earn a win against the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving.
There are no major Dolphins injuries heading into their Thanksgiving match-up with Dallas, except for kicker Dan Carpenter. Carpenter's groin injury will keep him out of the game, and Shayne Graham will handle kicking duties for the Dolphins.
Graham hit on all five of his extra points against the Bills in Week 11 as Carpenter's fill-in, but has not attempted a field goal this season.
Here's the full Dolphins injury report for Week 12:
OUT: Kicker Dan Carpenter (groin).
The Dallas Cowboys will have to rely on some second-stringers to do their share of carving and avoid being carved up on Thanksgiving. Dallas will be missing Miles Austin and Mike Jenkins for its Turkey Day showdown with the surprisingly hot Miami Dolphins.
Both Austin and Jenkins are out with hamstring injuries in the Week 12 match-up, and while Jenkins' absence hasn't hurt the Dallas secondary very much, Austin being gone has forced other Cowboys receivers to step up.
Here's the full Cowboys injury report for Week 12:
Very little has been made of backup quarterback Jon Kitna's back injury sustained sometime before the Dallas Cowboys game against the Washington Redskins. Most astute observers know that Kitna's inability to throw downfield forced Jason Garrett to adjust his gameplan last season; when Kitna took over for starter Tony Romo. He did, however, guide the Cowboys to a 5-5 record under his guidance and that contribution must be appreciated.
Although reports earlier in the week stated that the team is not worried about this being a career-ending injury for Kitna, the Cowboys move to claim Orton (who was awarded to the Kansas City Chiefs) raises an eyebrow or two. How badly hurt is Kitna, after all? How little faith do to the Cowboys have in the new second string man, Stephen McGee, a fourth-year pro out of Texas A&M? McGee showed he wasn't bum-level in replacement duty at the end of 2010 and during this year's preseason. Dallas however, must have some concerns moving forward if Romo should incur an injury that takes him out of the lineup for any length of time.
Then again, it could have just been gamesmanship to prevent the Chicago Bears from signing Orton. Chicago (7-3) lost starter Jay Cutler to a thumb injury last week and he's expected to miss at least the rest of the regular season.
The Dallas Cowboys will try to extend their winning streak to four games when they host the Miami Dolphins in their annual Thanksgiving day game at Cowboys Stadium. Kick off is scheduled for 4:15 and will be televised nationally by CBS.
Dan Carpenter suffered a groin injury during practice last Thursday's practice and was out of Miami's 35-8 win over the Buffalo Bills. Carpenter has been ruled out by head coach for Tony Sparano for a second consecutive game as the Dolphins prepare for the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving. The Dolphins signed former Bengals kicker Shayne Graham before the game versus Buffalo. Carpenter kicked five extra points against Buffalo.
Its a trap game if I've ever seen one for the Dallas Cowboys.
Here is the injury report for the Dolphins on November 23rd:
|Dan Carpenter||K||right Groin||Did Not Participate In Practice||Out|
|Igor Olshansky||DE||Calf||Did Not Participate In Practice||Questionable|
|Ryan Cook||C||Back||Full Participation in Practice||Questionable|
By the Dallas Cowboys dealing through injuries this season, the opportunity to develop and find depth on their 53-man roster have made Jason Garrett's bunch more versatile and flexible coming into the final stretch of the season. With Miles Austin down, Laurent Robinson has emerged as a viable receiver. With Felix Jones down, Demarco Murray has emerged as a lead back.
If you can persist through injuries and setbacks, generally your team can be better on the back end. If Dallas can defeat Miami, and have a relatively healthy roster....could the playoffs be their stomping ground?
They've got to beat Miami first on Thanksgiving.
Here is the November 23rd injury report for the Dallas Cowboys:
|Miles Austin||WR||Hamstring||Did Not Participate In Practice||Out|
|Tony Fiammetta||RB||Illness||Did Not Participate In Practice||Out|
|Mike Jenkins||CB||Hamstring||Did Not Participate In Practice||Out|
|Jon Kitna||QB||Back||Did Not Participate In Practice||Out|
|Gerald Sensabaugh||S||Foot||Did Not Participate In Practice||Questionable|
|Felix Jones||RB||Ankle||Limited Participation in Practice||Questionable|
|Kyle Kosier||G||Foot||Limited Participation in Practice||Questionable|
|Sean Lee||LB||Wrist||Full Participation in Practice||Probable|
|Mat McBriar||P||left Foot||Full Participation in Practice||Probable|
There aren't many surprises on the Dallas Cowboys injury report for their game Thursday against the Miami Dolphins, as Pro Bowl WR Miles Austin and starting FB Tony Fiammetta are both out for the second consecutive week.
Austin has struggled with an injured hamstring all season, and holding him out of Thursday's game will give him a chance to rest for 10 days before the Cowboys Dec. 4 game against Arizona.
WR Laurent Robinson, who has come on strong this year with 31 catches for 475 yards and 5 TD's, will keep Austin's place in the starting line-up.
Fiametta, meanwhile, is still out with an undisclosed illness that continues to baffle the Cowboys medical staff. He's been a spark-plug for Dallas' ground game, which struggled last week in his absence.
After the Dolphins last-minute field goal had been blocked, Cowboys DT Leon Lett rushed after the ball but slipped in the snow when he tried to recover it, setting up an easy Miami chip-shot for the win.
Now, eighteen years after a play that famously haunted the reclusive lineman, Lett can laugh about it. Snickers, in their latest "Play Hungry" commercial, spoofed the play, claiming that Lett's gaffe was caused by his decision not to eat a Snickers bar before the game.
Lett, now an assistant defensive line coach for the Cowboys, said it was one of the worst moments of his professional career in a radio interview Wednesday:
"Honestly, it was the worst play of my life as a football player. It was tough. I went into the locker room and I was freezing. Jimmy [Johnson] walked in and consoled me, and I had the support of Jerry Jones. Some of my teammates were really upset and I understood that. We were coming off a Super Bowl championship season and looking for another Super Bowl. I was down on myself, but there was some support from my teammates as well."
With a win on Thursday, Dallas can move into first place in the NFC East and put themselves in position to make a similar playoff run in a wide-open NFC behind the undefeated Green Bay Packers.
I admit it. While watching the Cowboys up-and-down performance against the Washington Redskins on Sunday, the fan in me found plenty to blame CB Orlando Scandrick for. The nickel corner has been thrust into the starting lineup more often than not this year, as all of Dallas' top three corners have been oft-injured this season. Scandrick signed a five-year extension this off-season; a clear commitment from the Dallas front office that his near-future will be in Big D.
At the time, several people wondered what Scandrick had done to earn said extension; contemplating whether his performance in shells would translate into production when the snaps mattered. Scandrick was Dallas' best cornerback last season, which is a little like saying someone is the tallest midget then bending the rules and letting him on the roller coaster. The entire Cowboys secondary existed in disarray in 2010. Yet, matched up against the likes of Miles Austin and Dez Bryant in practice, Scandrick apparently was making great impressions.
On Sunday, Scandrick was called for an early defensive holding penalty that ended up not costing the Cowboys at all; Washington would punt on the drive. Later in the game, though, his miscues would prove very costly. On the Redskins game-tying drive at the end of the fourth quarter, Scandrick made several mistakes. Early in the drive, Redskins QB Rex Grossman found his fullback in the left flat, and Scandrick completely whiffed on the tackle, allowing him to gain 27 yards on the play. Later in the drive, he would commit his second defensive holding penalty, on a crucial 3rd and 2. Washington would later score to tie the game with 15 seconds left on the clock.
In the middle of it all, Scandrick was able to pick off Grossman, as pressure forced the QB to throw up a pop fly which Scandrick made a nice interception of. Even still, one would be remiss to say that Scandrick played a good game.
This isn't the only time that Scandrick has had a lackluster performance in 2011. Pro Football Focus, which grades players on a play-by-play basis over the entire season, has graded Orlando negatively over each of the last four games. Of course, theirs are subjective opinions being given objective grades, but more often than not they do a great job of quantifying individual play.
After the game, Scandrick admitted he could have played better, but bristled at reporter's suggestions that he's pressing because of the new contract. A concept I find silly for the same reason as Scandrick.
"How am I pressing?" Scandrick said. "What are you telling me that I can’t play in a full-time role, 'cause that’s not [difficult] at all. I get two penalties and give up one catch and all of a sudden I can’t play anymore. I don’t get it. I didn’t sign an extension here to play a backup role so it is what it is. I don’t know one good corner in this league who didn’t have a penalty in a game or give up a catch." - ESPN
Well, according to PFF, he gave up two catches, but you say tomato...
Regardless, even top corners struggle. Just ask any honest Philadelphia fan how they feel about the investment in Nnamdi Asomugha this offseason. He's played his share of lockdown games this season; shutting out Dez Bryant and Larry Fitzgerald. He's also allowed Victor Cruz to eat his lunch, twice, and committed an outrageous number of penalties (6) and missed tackle attempts (9). As Scandrick said, there isn't a good corner in this league who doesn't have an off day. Or several.
The good news for Orlando is that with Dallas' five-year commitment, he will be afforded every opportunity to redeem himself; especially given Terence Newman's and Mike Jenkins' inability to stay on the field for extended stretches. The money they gave him, $27 million total and $10 million guaranteed isn't number one corner money; but it is an investment made at starting player rates.
Cowboys fans all over hope to see Scandrick bounce back, proving that Jerry Jones didn't in fact give a contract extension to a player a bit too soon.
A rapidly improving Dolphins team on a three-game win streak could pose a bigger challenge than previously thought.
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