Cowboys-Giants: Criticism Filled Week Didn't Affect Dallas in 20-8 Upset Win

Daniel EvansCorrespondent IDecember 14, 2008

All week the controversy in Dallas has continued. OSF Writer Josh Schwader actually stuck a fork in Dallas and called them “done” after it was announced that Cowboys cornerback Adam Jones would miss the remainder of the season.

The media stuck the rest of the forks in. All week there were reports that the Cowboys just couldn’t get along and that Tony Romo, Jason Witten, and Terrell Owens were fighting over favoritism.

Apparently  the news didn’t get to the actual players who put on the Dallas Cowboys jerseys. The NFL’s top team in a lot of people’s minds, the New York Giants, were coming to town to take on a Dallas team that couldn’t even get along. It sounded like a real dud of a Sunday night game unless the drama on the Cowboys sideline broke out in the middle of the game.

Then something incredible took place. Instead of falling apart and letting a week of controversy rip apart their dreams they came together and played their best football game of the entire season.

Instead of letting Owens feud with Witten and Romo come between them they joined together as a team and produced one of the gutsiest performances in recent Cowboys history.

Last week, they were stunned in Pittsburgh. The Cowboys played incredible defense all day long and still found a way to lose in the closing minutes. There was no way their defense could play so well again, right?

Well the critics, and the media were incredibly wrong. Tony Romo went down with an injury in the first quarter and the stir of uneasiness among Cowboys nation could be heard around Texas Stadium.

Maybe the media was right, hell Romo has never been successful in December (4-6 record coming into the game) and the Cowboys have been downright plagued with injuries.

So this was how it would all end, with Romo laying on the turf groaning in agony. When he got to the sidelines he was not likely to return, and needed help just to get up. Around the NFC, the other playoff contenders had begun popping the champagne corks.

With their star quarterback out the Cowboys were likely done. But wait...did I see this right? Well it turns out I did. Romo, who has been criticized all week and has the weight of the world on his shoulders, returned to the game with a back contusion and led the Cowboys right down the field for the first touchdown of the game.

On the sideline everything was going great until the fourth quarter. There were even signs of Romo, Witten, and Owens standing on the sideline laughing and smiling together.

Then it appeared that just like a week ago things had fallen apart. The Giants sacked Romo in the end zone for a safety and then added a field goal to pull within six points at 14-8. On the ensuing drive the Cowboys faced 3rd-and-9. Romo threw to Witten and he was being tackled three yards short of the line of scrimmage.

And then something amazing happened. A team that has been put down all week saw the ultimate effort from one of their stars when Witten refused to be tackled short of the first down and drug his defender an extra four yards for a first down that put the game away.

With Jerry Jones and Wade Phillips smirking at opposite ends of the field, Tashard Choice took the next play 45 yards for the game finishing touchdown. The final score read Dallas 20, New York 8.

And just like that everything that we have come to know in the NFL changed. The Cowboys have been put down all season but all of a sudden they showed the heart of a champion in front of the entire nation.

It seems everyone forgot this was a team that has dealt with Terrell Owens, Adam Jones, Tony Romo’s pinky, and Jason Witten’s ribs this season. Plus they were playing the same Giants team that has already clinched the NFC East and knocked them out of the playoffs at Texas Stadium last season.

Instead of just faltering under the media and Ed Werder’s reports on ESPN all week they came together and they rose above it all. They became more than individuals for at least one night in pursuit of a bigger goal than a goal they reach as individuals.

They came together as a team. In fact, this Cowboys team looked like the one that was picked as Super Bowl favorites before the season. And now instead of laughing at the thought of meeting a collapsing NFC powerhouse the rest of the league is cringing at the thought of facing the NFL’s most talented league playing its best football.

And it’s all happening in December, which is suppose to be impossible for the Cowboys.

So what drama will next week bring? Talk of Romo’s back injury is surely going to make headlines. Probably reports of another practice argument between Romo, Witten, and Owens...especially after TO personally questioned Ed Werder’s journalism after the game in an interview.

Owens is not alone in his thoughts about Werder. Although I seldom question an ESPN analyst’s integrity I tend to agree this time around. It appears that both Werder and ESPN were looking for a big story, and it might’ve backfired.

Werder has been covering the Cowboys for years, but for the first time it appeared he had turned completely against them this week for some reason. Although he never showed favoritism in past years, he did show hatred this week and he had the look of a man that was making money off of a team that was reportedly collapsing from within.

It’s sort of hard to believe three guys that can’t stand each other all agreed to be interviewed together after the game as teammates. Arguing among the talented offensive stars in Dallas? It was news to the Cowboys' Big Three.

Maybe somebody should ask the defending Super Bowl champions about the health and wellness of the Cowboys. DeMarcus Ware had three sacks and extended his NFL leading total to 18 overall. Eli Manning was sacked eight times overall as the Cowboys defense ruled the night.

So Ed Werder, why don’t you go ask Big Blue what the state of the Cowboys is right now? I think they will tell you they are clearly back as one of the best teams in the NFC, and clearly one of the few that can run through the playoffs and make a magical run to a Super Bowl championship.