The Dallas Cowboys must dig a little deeper after Sunday's 31-29 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Outgaining a team in terms of yards in a loss happens quite often in the NFL, but letting one slip away after dominating on most fronts leaves much to be desired.
There are no moral victories in this league. The NFL is a results-driven business and, oftentimes, the journey means absolutely nothing.
The Cowboys entered with a solid game plan, and the Ravens did their best to let it succeed. But Dallas just couldn't get the job done.
A quick glance at the box score and one is left scratching their head as to how Baltimore actually won this game. The Ravens held the ball for less than 20 minutes, only gained 316 yards on offense and committed 10 penalties—usually a recipe for disaster.
However, the Cowboys committed 13 of their own penalties and allowed Jacoby Jones to return a kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter.
The record-tying scamper put the Ravens up 24-13 and, at the time, looked like the nail in the coffin for the Cowboys. But Dallas was able to battle back and actually had a chance to tie the game after wide receiver Dez Bryant scored his second touchdown with :32 seconds left on the clock.
Bryant finished the game with 13 receptions for 95 yards and two touchdowns. However, the wideout's dropped pass on a two-point conversion that would have tied the game is the play everyone will remember.
His career game is one of the reasons the Cowboys had a chance at the end, but Bryant's drop is why they couldn't quite pull it out.
How many wins will the Cowboys finish the 2012 season with?
It is imprudent to isolate this play as why Dallas lost this game. But after all that transpired—dominating time of possession, total yards and keeping Ray Rice at bay, while committing all the penalties and their special teams goof—the Cowboys are left with a 2-3 record and must simply get better.
Whether that is minimizing preventable mistakes, going back to the basics or driving home the importance of concentrating for the entire 60 minutes, it is imperative that Dallas gets back on the winning track—the only track anyone cares about.