In 2011, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten dropped a grand total of five passes combined, according to Pro Football Focus. But Witten and Bryant matched that number in less than three hours Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.
Tomorrow, I promise we'll shift the attention to this Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but let's relive painful memories one more time by reviewing those five fateful drops to determine how things might have changed if not for the careless mistakes committed by usually reliable players.
Drop No. 1
10:33 remaining in the first quarter
Cowboys 0, Seahawks 0
3rd-and-5 on the Dallas 21-yard line
The Cowboys would have had a first down at the 27-yard line. Instead, they punt.
And that punt is blocked, resulting in a Seattle touchdown. Down 7-0, the Cowboys would have to march back onto the feel in flustered fashion, leading to...
Drop No. 2
6:44 remaining in the first quarter
Cowboys 0, Seahawks 7
1st-and-10 on the Seattle 24-yard line
Drop No. 3
14:18 remaining in the second quarter
Cowboys 0, Seahawks 10
2nd-and-8 on the Seattle 45-yard line
Drop No. 4
9:21 remaining in the second quarter
Cowboys 7, Seahawks 10
3rd-and-2 on the Dallas 22-yard line
The Cowboys are back in the game and have just stopped the Seahawks on a three-and-out. They're trying to avoid a three-and-out of their own on third-and-two, and Bryant has a first-down catch in his mitts.
Drop No. 5
7:51 remaining in the fourth quarter
Cowboys 7, Seahawks 27
1st-and-10 on the Dallas 19-yard line
Last chance for the Cowboys, down 20 with less than eight minutes to play. Witten is open and targeted on a throw that will get them seven or eight yards out of the gate.
Would the Cowboys have lost regardless? Maybe. Probably, even. But it's notable that turnovers directly followed two of the drops, and only one was followed by a positive play.
Seattle probably wouldn't have blocked that punt had Witten secured the first ball, and Romo might not have been intercepted had Bryant caught the second pass. Considering the latter drop took place inside the red zone, that's at least a 10-point swing.
And had the Cowboys found the end zone on that possession, it was at least a 14-point difference. Then you have to consider whether the Cowboys might have ended up scoring on that first drive, as well as what might have come from drops four and five, both of which helped spoil drives.
With all that considered, I'd have to imagine that without those drops, the Cowboys would have had a chance to win this game in the final minutes.