After an agonizing five-season absence, the Cowboys are back in the playoffs — and as division champions to boot.
Led by a spectacular performance by quarterback Tony Romo, the Cowboys rolled to a 42-7 victory over Indianapolis on Sunday afternoon at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Romo was splendidly efficient, completing 18-of-20 passes for 218 yards with four TD passes, three of which came in the first half as Dallas quickly burst clear of sloppy Indianapolis, which committed eight penalties and three turnovers.
With the win, the Cowboys (11-4) clinched the NFC East title. They are guaranteed of hosting at least one playoff game. They will be the only NFC East club in the postseason, as Philadelphia has now been eliminated from playoff contention.
The Cowboys made short work of the Colts (10-5), who saw their faint chances at a first-round bye go completely by the wayside. The Cowboys never trailed, scoring on their first drive and never looking back.
The game was decided in about a 15-minute span in the first half. After Dallas had taken a 7-0 lead about eight minutes into the game, Indianapolis tried a fake punt on its own end of the field. The play looked it would lead to a first down, but rookie defensive back Dewey McDonald dropped a pass from punter Pat McAfee.
On the next snap, Romo threw his second TD pass, hitting Dez Bryant from 19 yards out to make it 14-0.
And from there, Dallas poured it on. A minute into the second quarter, Romo threw another TD, connecting with Colt Beasley on a 24-yard score. And when tailbackDeMarco Murray plunged in from a yard out later in the period, Dallas had a 28-0 lead.
Incredibly, the Colts’ first points didn’t come until about five minutes were left in regulation. By then, quarterback Andrew Luck had been pulled from the game as the AFC South champs looked ahead to January. And for as poorly as they played, the Colts will be one of 12 teams with a chance to win the Super Bowl.
So too will Dallas. And with Romo in sharp form and their defense holding up its end of the bargain, the Cowboys look like real contenders.
It’s enough to make 90s kids dust off their Apex One and Starter Dallas jackets. On Sunday afternoon, the Cowboys were back. And the NFC East, finally, is theirs once again.
The west side of Kyle Field was imploded Sunday as part of the $450 million redevelopment of the stadium.
The rebuilt west side is scheduled to be complete for the 2015 season and will include suites and a Hall of Champions.
Coach Kevin Sumlin reflected this week on his memories of the west side of the stadium, which housed the team meeting room where he served as an assistant in 2001-02. Sumlin watched the events of Sept. 11, 2001, unfold with other coaches. Former head coach R.C. Slocum had a makeshift office that provided no privacy.
“It’s hard to believe that’s all going to change,” Sumlin said. “But it’s all for the better, and our fans will be really, really excited when this phase gets done.”
What it looked like before. By Drone
Brian Hoyer took over at quarterback and started the second half.
Panthers safety Colin Jones hit Manziel by the sideline on a designed quarterback run. Manziel got up and headed back toward the huddle but quickly fell back down. Trainers examined his hamstring for a few minutes on the field and a few minutes on the sideline before taking him into the locker room for halftime.
Manziel completed 3-of-8 passes for 32 yards. He appeared to be playing better than his NFL debut last week despite the pedestrian stats.
The Cleveland Browns are anything but convinced that Johnny Manziel is their franchise quarterback of the future.
In the wake of Manziel’s horrendous NFL starting debut against the Cincinnati Bengals last week, head coach Mike Pettine has openly admitted that the team will still have doubts about Manziel even if he plays well over the final two games of the regular season. Do the doubts run so deep that the Browns already have their sights set on another Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback?
According to Mark Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Browns have kept a close eye on Marcus Mariota. And if they become even more discouraged by Manziel over the next week or so, Cabot notes that the Browns will “consider every possibility for an upgrade,” which could include trading up in an attempt to draft the Oregon star.
Cabot speculates that the Browns would have to trade their two first-round picks and a first-rounder from 2016 to move up — similar to the price the Washington Redskins paid to move from No. 6 to No. 2 to draft Robert Griffin III.
If Manziel doesn’t show enough flashes of the Johnny Football he was at Texas A&M over these next two games, the Browns might even consider trading him and cutting their losses. With Cowboys owner Jerry Jones admitting on several occasions earlier this season that he regrets passing on Manziel at No. 16, perhaps he’d still be willing to part with a pick for him. The Browns haven’t made a huge financial investment in Manziel, and wouldn’t be out much from a financial standpoint if he doesn’t work out.
While Browns general manager Ray Farmer has always said he explores every possible opportunity at every position, it sure seems like the team has a bit of buyer’s remorse with Johnny Football. Teams don’t typically consider drafting quarterbacks in the first round in consecutive years unless they’re extremely unhappy with their initial investment.
It’s far too early to label Manziel a bust, but he has obviously discouraged the Browns. Given what the former Texas A&M star recently admitted about his season-long practice habits, that is not really a surprise. Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers is a critical one for Manziel.
For those fans who wanted Jerry to draft Johnny Football last draft day, the chance may be there for the Cowboys to get Johnny Football after all.
DALLAS — Monta Ellis equaled his season high with 38 points, including 11 during the final four minutes, to spark a late rally as the Dallas Mavericks beat the depleted San Antonio Spurs 99-93 Saturday in Rajon Rondo‘s debut with the Mavericks.
Ellis broke a 91-91 tie with a basket from the right corner that sailed over the corner of the backboard to give Dallas the lead for good.
Rondo, the four-time All-Star who played his first eight-plus seasons with the Boston Celtics, finished with six points on 3-for-11 shooting. He had nine assists and seven rebounds. Acquired in a multi-player trade Thursday, he went into the game leading the league averaging 10.8 assists.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich dressed 10 players and played only eight after his team played triple-overtime games on Wednesday and Friday. Veterans Tim Duncan andManu Ginobili, who logged 90 and 71 minutes, respectively, in those two games, were left home. Danny Green and Tiago Splitter dressed but didn’t play.
The Spurs have lost four straight games for the first time since the 2012 Western Conference finals against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Rondo missed his only two field goal attempts of the opening half and scored his first points as a Maverick with 7:59 to play in the third quarter on goaltending by Boris Diaw.
The Spurs used a 12-point run starting in the final minute of the opening quarter to break a 21-21 tie and lead for the rest of the half. The Mavericks trailed 47-42 at intermission having scored their fewest first-half points of the season.
Dallas went into the game leading the league in field goal shooting at 48.1 percent, but shot only 38.1 in the half. Nowitzki hit 1-of-8 from the floor.
The defending champions were already without Tony Parker, who has missed five straight games with a strained left hamstring, Kawhi Leonard, out three games with a torn ligament in his right hand, and Patty Mills, yet to play this season because of an injured right shoulder.
The Spurs went into game having won 10 consecutive regular-season games against the Mavericks, who took them to the full seven games in the first round of last season’s playoffs.
LANDOVER, Md. — The Philadelphia Eagles have proved themselves to be a mirage, a team that got away with its faults until it couldn’t any longer. Leaders in the NFC East as recently as a week ago, they’re now just about done in the playoff race, and they’re in no position to argue that they deserve any better.
Penalties, missed field goals, two more turnovers by Mark Sanchez and an inability to keep track of former teammate DeSean Jackson turned into a 27-24 loss to the lowlyWashington Redskins on Saturday night, the Eagles’ third straight defeat and one that gives Dallas two chances to clinch the NFC East.
“We’re currently minus-9 in the turnover margin, so us having nine wins is really impressive for that,” said safety Malcolm Jenkins, echoing the mood of a locker room hit with a communal reality check. “And really we were on borrowed time playing that style of football. If we had run the table in December with that kind of football, it would have been surprising, and it’s something we didn’t fix.”
Sanchez’s interception with 1:31 remaining — his 13th turnover in seven games — led to Kai Forbath‘s winning 26-yard field goal with 5 seconds remaining as the Redskins (4-11) snapped a six-game losing streak.
The Eagles (9-6) will now be rooting for Indianapolis to beat the Cowboys (10-4) on Sunday. A Dallas win eliminates Philadelphia. A Dallas loss keeps a modicum of hope alive.
“I’m not going to throw a party and watch it,” receiver Jeremy Maclin said. “I’m going to watch it at home.”
The loss also knocked Philadelphia from the wild-card race and clinched a playoff berth for Detroit.
Sanchez set an Eagles record with 37 completions in 50 attempts for a career-high 374 yards with two touchdowns to Riley Cooper, and tight end Zach Ertz set a franchise game record with 15 catches. But Sanchez lost a fumble for the third time this season and threw his 10th interception to put the Eagles’ NFL-leading turnover tally at 36.
Robert Griffin III, back from his recent benching after a season-ending neck injury toColt McCoy, went 16-for-23 for 220 yards with one interception for the Redskins to win in his first complete game in 13 months. Griffin’s only other win as a starter this season came when he was injured in the first quarter against Jacksonville in Week 2.
First-year coach Jay Gruden, who has frequently been critical of Griffin, gave a glowing assessment, saying RG III “did an outstanding job of managing the football game.”
“You would think a 3-11 football team would just quit,” Griffin said. “And we’re not.”
From the Eagles’ perspective, everything seemed to go wrong in pairs. Two wide-rights by rookie kicker Cody Parkey — doubling his number of misses this season — were converted into two 1-yard touchdown runs by Darrel Young.
One of those Washington scoring drives included roughing-the-passer penalties byBrandon Graham and Vinny Curry in a span of four plays. The other drive featured a 55-yard over-the-shoulder grab by Jackson, the second 50-plus Griffin-to-Jackson connection in the game.
“I missed kicks and we lost the game,” said Parkey, who has been battling a groin injury in his kicking leg. “I don’t think there’s any words to really describe it. You let yourself down. You let your teammates down. The kicks had nothing to do with my groin.”
Curry also had a roughing-the-passer call on the Redskins’ winning drive. Earlier, a pass-interference call on Nate Allen in the end zone set up Young’s second scoring run. Philadelphia was flagged 13 times for 102 yards.
“We’re beating ourselves with the penalties,” defensive coordinator Bill Davis said. “They stay on the field, and they get more shots on goal, and bad things happen in the NFL.”
The Eagles trailed 24-14 when Sanchez hit Cooper for a 16-yard score early in the fourth quarter, and Parkey kicked a 22-yard field goal with 6:17 to play.
But, on their next possession — with the score tied and the season on the line — Sanchez made the game’s final mistake, the interception to rookie cornerbackBashaud Breeland at Washington’s 42.
“We wanted to spoil their Christmas and send them home,” Griffin said, “and we did our part.”
Jackson, cut by the Eagles after last season, caught four passes for 126 yards. … Washington rookie LB Trent Murphy broke a bone in his right hand, and LT Trent Williams re-aggravated his sprained right shoulder.
What a fun group project!
Markus “Notch” Persson, creator of the immensely popular video game Minecraft, has purchased a swanky Beverly Hills megamansion for a cool $70 million. According to Curbed LA, the property was also being considered by Beyoncé and Jay-Z. The purchase comes several months after Microsoft agreed to acquire Mojang, the developer behind Minecraft, for $2.5 billion.
By the way, notice the cool photography? Credit the GoPro drone?
This was the measurement on a 4th down play by Cedar Park against Ennis.
As you can see, the ball does not reach the stick which means Ennis clearly stopped Cedar Park. But the official gave Cedar Park a FIRST DOWN!
C’mon man, this is a state championship game!!!!!!!!
I don’t know if Ennis will survive, Cedar Park has now gone ahead of Ennis, 21-17.
I hate when bad officiating decides a game.
Proud of my boys from Ennis!!