After watching the Cowboys stumble to a 1-7 start it sure is fun to watch them put things together and start winning again. They beat Peyton Manning and the Colts Sunday night on an overtime field goal by David Buehler. And what made the win really impressive is that the game was on the road and the Colts were in desperation mode. Sure, Peyton Manning was the best player the Cowboys had but the Cowboys made the big plays in the big moments to win the game.
If you aren't sold on Jason Garrett as the head coach I'm not quite sure what it is going to take to convince you that he is the real deal. We just saw the team that lost to Green Bay 45-7 just four weeks ago beat the Colts on the road without Tony Romo running the offense. And they have now won three out of four games since Garrett took over with two of those wins coming against probable playoff teams. And it isn't like the Saints beat them by much either in Garrett's only loss as a head coach.
The most impressive part of the game to me was the play of Sean Lee. His two interceptions were game changers and he was all over the field making tackles. His development has been a little slow but he stepped up when the defense needed him the most with Brooking hobbled by a sprained foot. Now that Lee has finally established himself on defense he needs to stay healthy a put a few good games together to prove to the team that he can be counted on as a long term answer on defense.
Peyton Manning did throw for 365 yards but the secondary did a pretty good job throughout the game considering that Manning threw the ball 48 times. You can take a guy throwing for 365 yards if you can get four interceptions and return two for touchdowns against him. Mike Jenkins did get beat for a touchdown but he played pretty well overall. He contested most of the throws to Reggie Wayne and he made the biggest play of the game when he tipped the pass to Sean Lee in overtime. Reggie Wayne did pile up some pretty impressive stats against Jenkins, but it wasn't like Jenkins was getting burned all over the field. Orlando Scandrick made a great play to intercept a pass and return it for a touchdown early in the game but he missed the second half of the game after suffering a concussion. Even Alan Ball did a nice job intercepting a deep pass intended for Reggie Wayne.
The run defense was very good but I think part of that was due to the poor offensive line play of the Colts offense. Holding an offense to under 50 rushing yards impressive regardless of the circumstances though. You have to give them credit for stuffing the run enough that the Colts gave up on it.
On offense the Cowboys were inconsistent just as they have been with Kitna running the offense. But you have to give Kitna credit for making the plays that had to be made to win the game. The touchdown pass to Witten late in the game appeared to be his third read on the play and he made a great throw to keep the ball away from the defender trailing Witten. The pass to Roy Williams for the two point conversion was huge as well.
The running game was great during the first quarter and on the drive for the lead in the fourth quarter. You have to be impressed by the play of Tashard Choice now that he finally got his shot to play this year. But keep in mind he does have fresh legs compared to the rest of the guys out there so hopefully this game isn't a mirage like Julius Jones' second half of his rookie season. You have to wonder if Marion Barber has played his last down as a Dallas Cowboy after watching Choice rack up over 100 yards.
The special teams won the game but almost lost it at the same time. The Colts blocked a punt a recovered it for a touchdown in the 4th quarter. Four weeks ago this team would have folded. But Buehler made the big kick to win the game in overtime. He was 3 for 4 for the day. And you have to give Buehler credit for hitting the pressure kick with the game on the line. He has a long way to go if he wants to come back as the kicker next season but he is improving.
A win is always nice but it was bittersweet on many levels. Dez Bryant is out for the year after breaking his ankle on a kick return. And even winning 3 out of the last 4 games has only improved the Cowboys record to a less embarrassing 4-8. And really 4-8 is still horrible but a huge improvement after a 1-7 start. But even with a 4-8 record the world just seems like a better place when the Cowboys win.