If you’re a NFL football fan and you did NOT watch last night’s game, or even worse, you watched it part way and then went to bed… you missed out! What a game! Not even Hollywood could have scripted a more spectacular ending than this one!
This game ranks as one of my Top 5 Greatest Games Ever!
OK, so the Dallas Cowboys rolled into Buffalo to face the Bills with an undefeated 4-0 record. Given the Packers’ defeat at the hands of the Bears the night before, the Cowboys was the only undefeated team left in the NFC, joining the AFC’s Cheater… er… Patriots and Defending Super Bowl Champion Indianapolis Colts. Almost everyone had this game slated as a win for the Cowboys and was looking forward to next week when the Cowboys would face the Patriots in a “Clash of Undefeateds”.
Before the game, former Cowboys Head Coach Bill Parcells also shared with the viewers his 10 Commandments for a QB which he had imparted to Cowboys QB Tony Romo the year before.
The game began with the Cowboys kicking off to the Bills. A decent return gave them good field position, but the Cowboys Defense held strong and forced a punt on 4th and 4. The Bills’ Pro Bowl punter came out to punt and the Bills ran a fake punt with the punter taking off for the 1st down! Another 3 downs later, the Cowboys Defense held strong again and forced another punt… this time the Bills punted a beautiful coffin corner punt pinning the Cowboys back at their 2 yard line.
On 1st down the Cowboys ran and lost a yard. On 2nd down they ran again and gained nothing. Its 3rd and 11. The ball is snapped. Romo rolls right and fires down the middle for TE Jason Witten. Witten runs an in route instead of a streak and the Bills safety intercepts the ball and takes it to the house for a touchdown!
Romo, who had only thrown 3 picks all season long, must have been thinking about Coach Parcells’ 10 Commandments at this point. One of them asked “If you throw 3 picks, can you go back into the huddle and look your team mates in the face and lead them?”
The Cowboys get the ball again and Romo takes his 2nd pass attempt… INTERCEPTED… AGAIN!!! Romo is now 0 for 2 with 0 TD’s and 2 INT’s! QB Rating… 0!
The Bills can’t get the 1st down and with good field position, they go for it on 4th down to deliver, what the commentators called “the knockout punch”. The Dallas Defense comes up huge and make the stop turning the Bills over on downs! This was a huge play for the Cowboys defense who did more than their fair share all night long.
Romo later found Jason Witten in the end zone for the score. The Bills added a FG.
The Cowboys have the ball. They’re pinned back at their 11 yard line again. Romo takes the snap. He rolls to his right. He throws… but the DE jumps up and knocks the ball back, catching it on the way down in the end zone for ANOTHER INT TD!
The Cowboys get the ball again and essentially go 3 and out as Romo throws his FOURTH interception of the night! With about 30 seconds left in the half, the Bills attempt a FG from 52 yards out. They miss giving the Cowboys excellent field position. The Cowboys take advantage and move the ball in FG range and rookie Kicker Nick Folk booms through his longest FG of his career… 47 yards.
At half time, Head Coach Wade Philips had Tony Romo X-Rayed to check for the Grossman virus. Romo came up clean.
Given that Romo had thrown 4 picks already, his steel was going to be tested in the 2nd half. The Cowboys begin the 2nd half getting the ball first. They drive down the field and add a FG.
Now the Cowboys are within striking distance. They kickoff to the Bills… and the Bills run the kickoff back 103 yards for the score!
Fast forward to 5 minutes left in the game. The Bills had the ball. It’s 3rd down and the rookie QB Edwards rolls left and throws the ball. Why would you throw the ball here? You’re up by 8. A FG make the lead 11 which means your opponent has to score TWICE! Well, Cowboys CB Terrence Newman intercepts the ball at the 5 and takes it 70 yards or so before he’s tackled. The ball is stripped out, but the Cowboys recover anyway!
Great! I think. Now get the score and the 2 and we’re tied… but instead… Romo throws his FIFTH interception of the night. Add the fumble he lost and that makes SIX turnovers for the night… TWICE his season total!
OK, that’s it right… game over right?
Time for Big D to step up. They do, forcing a 3 and out getting the ball back for Mr. Pick & Co.
To the Coach’s credit, even though he had backup QB Brad Johnson warming up, he never took the junior QB out of the game. He stuck with him and allowed him to work through it.
Tomo then engineers a great drive of 80 yards ending in a Patrick Crayton TD with 20 seconds left in the game!
The Cowboys go for 2. Of course they spend their final timeout planning for it first. That will prove to be critical very soon. The pass to T.O. is incomplete. I can’t believe the big, strong T.O. let the CB wrestle that pass away from him.
OK, 20 seconds left… Bills up by 2… Game over right…
But wait, there’s more… The ONSIDE KICK! And wouldn’t you know it… the Cowboys actually GET IT! I’m going nuts at this point. I’ve already woken my wife up in my excitement… something I’d pay for later… but this was just too much to bear!
With only 18 seconds or so left on the clock and NO timeouts left, they get a pass to T.O… the officials take way, way, way too long to make the call and in the mean time the clock keeps on ticking… tick… tock… tick… tock… They call it a catch… the Cowboys rush to the line… the snap the ball and Romo spikes it with ONE SECOND LEFT!!!
But NO! The referee says the play was stopped BEFORE the snap! What? You’re kidding right? Nope. They replay ref apparently called a stop before the snap and even though the whistle didn’t blow in time, the play was pronounced dead. The T.O. catch, which wasn’t a catch after all, is overturned and now there’s only 13 seconds left on the clock.
The Cowboys take the snap and get a quick 4 yards before getting out of bounds. There is 0:07 left in the game. From here it would be a 61 yard FG attempt. You gotta take one more shot. They do and they get 8 yards before stepping out of bounds with 0:02 left in the game!
Rookie kicker Nick Folk comes out for a game winning, 53 yard FG try.
The snap is good… the hold is good… the kick is up… it’s GOOD! COWBOYS WIN! What? Timeout? What?!?
Under the new rule Bills coach Dick Juaron had called timeout just before the snap. The kick is nullified. This trick had already worked twice this season with kickers then missing the FG on the 2nd attempt giving the other team the win.
I’m fuming! What a crappy rule! No matter… just do it again Nicky boy… just do it again…
The 2nd attempt… the snap is good… the hold is good… the kick is up… it’s GOOD!!!
COWBOYS WIN!!! COWBOYS WIN!!! COWBOYS WIN!!!