The Dallas Cowboys have played with the toughness, determination and resolve that most thought they had, but wondered if they would ever see.
Dallas has done what it had to do to put Dan Bailey in position to boot back-to-back game-winning field goals. It has come against the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers, two AFC North squads who were just as desperate for wins as Dallas was.
The Cowboys are poised to make this a December to remember. This scenario didn't seem likely when they were sitting at 3-5 at the midway point of the season.
How they finish is completely up to them. A home date against the New Orleans Saints, who are playing for pride at this point, and a road game against the equally desperate Washington Redskins are the two obstacles standing between them and10-6.
Sunday's game versus the Steelers was a typical Pittsburgh-Dallas game, a hard-fought game that went down to the wire. The only blowout between these two teams in my lifetime was 15 years ago, which was also happened to be the last time Dallas defeated Pittsburgh in the regular season.
Dallas jumped out to a 10-0 lead and let opportunities to blow it open even more go by the boards. Ben Roethlisberger seemed bound and determined to throw a pick. The Cowboys were flying all over the place and getting their hands on several balls.
Anthony Spencer would no doubt love to have his dropped interception back. DeMarco Murray's fumble inside the 5-yard line cost them another chance at increasing the lead.
Despite all of this, the Cowboys kept battling. When Pittsburgh fought back to tie the score at 10, Dallas forged ahead and took the lead back.
When the Steelers ran off 14 unanswered points to take a 24-17 advantage, the Cowboys didn't blink. Brandon Carr's near pick-six helped Dallas close on a 10-0 run of its own to take a 27-24 overtime victory.
Tony Romo was special. He put the ball in the air 42 times without a pick, completing 30 passes for 341 yards and two touchdowns. Dez Bryant fought through his injured finger to snag four balls for 59 yards and another touchdown.
The entire team has been battling, but they all have had to take things up a notch as they deal with the aftereffects of Josh Brent's bad decision-making.
The Cowboys are an impressive 5-1 in their last six games, but if they want to have a 7-1 second half and a 10-6 season, they are going to have to keep grinding.
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