Twenty-three (48%) of the Cowboys' games under Garrett have been decided by three points or less, in OT, or in some crazy last-second variety.
The rant is always if they just won those bleepin' games this would be a playoff team. It's impossible to win all of the close games because this league is so close. But upon closer inspection of these selected games you will see the Cowboys have blown their fare share of games, and won when they should not have. Overall, they have lost more than they should have.
This is an inexact science, and some of it requires the eye-ball test.
2010: Six games; 3-3. Should have been 3-3.
2011: Nine games; 4-5. Should have been 8-1.
2012: Five games; 3-2. Should have been 1-4.
2013: Three games; 0-3. Should be 2-1.
The Cowboys are 10-13 in those games. They should be 14-9.
Again, this is inexact but take a look for yourself:
Nov. 25, 2010 Saints 30, Cowboys 27
On Thanksgiving, the Cowboys trailed 23-20 going into the fourth quarter. They took a 27-23 lead with 5:56 remaining in the game.
The Cowboys could have put the game away when QB Jon Kitna hit receiver Roy Williams for a 47-yard gain but he was stripped by Malcolm Jenkins at the Saints’ 11.
Four plays later, with 2:25 remaining, Drew Brees found Robert Meachem for a 55-yard gain to the Cowboys’ 12 that set up the game-winning score.
The Cowboys missed a potential long field goal to tie at the end.
Should the Cowboys have won: YES. They blew it.
Dec. 4, 2010 Cowboys 38, Colts 35 (ot)
The Cowboys led 27-14 going into the fourth quarter; the Colts scored 21 fourth-quarter points to force overtime. The Cowboys intercepted Peyton Manning a fourth time in the OT and won on a field goal.
Should the Cowboys have won: YES. This team was the beginning of the slide for Manning in Indy; he had no defense.
Dec. 12, 2010 Eagles 30, Cowboys 27
The Cowboys led 20-17 after three quarters, but the Eagles slowly grinded away and led 30-20 with 8:19 remaining. The Eagles were the better team.
Should the Cowboys have won: NO.
Dec. 19, 2010 Cowboys 33, Redskins 30
The Cowboys led 30-14 going into the fourth. Neither team was very good.
Should the Cowboys have won: YES.
Dec. 25, 2010 Cardinals 27, Cowboys 26
The Cardinals led 21-3 in the second quarter and 21-20 after three. Cowboys QB Jon Kitna suffered an injury during the game, which put third stringer Stephen McGee, who led a TD drive in the fourth quarter for a 26-24 lead. The Cardinals won it on a last second field goal by Jay Feely.
Should the Cowboys have won: NO. They had the lead in the fourth quarter, but they were chasing this team on the road the entire way.
Jan. 2, 2011 Cowboys 14, Eagles 13
The final game of the season, the Eagles were not concerned about the final score as they were preparing for the playoffs.
The Eagles led 13-7 midway through the fourth quarter; the Cowboys won when McGee completed a 4-yard TD pass to Jason Witten with :59 seconds remaining.
Should the Cowboys have won: NO. The Eagles weren’t trying.
Sept. 11, 2011 NY Jets 27, Cowboys 24
in New Jersey
The Cowboys led 24-10 in the fourth quarter before executing a brilliant choke. Tony Romo lost a fumble at the Jets’ 2-yard line with 9:12 remaining. The Jets blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown with 5:08 remaining. Romo threw a pick with 59 seconds left to set up the Jets winning field goal.
Should the Cowboys have won: YES. Absolutely. A mother gag.
Sept. 18, 2011 Cowboys 27, 49ers 24 (ot)
The 49ers led 24-14 early in the fourth quarter before they blew it. Despite playing with busted ribs, Romo led a TD drive with 7:03 remaining and the tying field goal at the end of regulation.
Should the Cowboys have won: NO WAY. No one knew how good the 49ers would be.
Sept. 26, 2011 Cowboys 18, Redskins 16
An ugly game that the Redskins led 16-9 in the third quarter. Three Dan Bailey field goals in the second half won the game. The Redskins, on their four possessions, were punt, punt, punt, fumble.
Should the Cowboys have won: Sure, why not?
Oct. 2, 2011 Lions 34, Cowboys 30
The Cowboys led 27-3 in the third quarter before pulling off a miracle to lose this game. Romo had consecutive pick-six plays in the third quarter to get the Lions started. The Lions took the lead with 1:44 remaining on a Calvin Johnson touchdown.
Should the Cowboys have won: God YES.
Oct. 16, 2011 Patriots 20, Cowboys 16
The Patriots led 13-3 in the second quarter but this game was tight the entire way. The Cowboys took a 16-13 lead in the fourth quarter. Twice the Cowboys had the ball inside the Patriots’ 5-yard line in the second half that resulted in field goals.
The Pats’ regained possession at their own 20 with 2:31 remaining, and Tom Brady quickly did what Tom Brady do – score. He completed an 8-yard TD pass to Aaron Hernandez (yes, that Aaron Hernandez) with 27 seconds remaining to win.
Should the Cowboys have won: No, but yes. This is a tough call. Yes.
Nov. 20 2011 Cowboys 27, Redskins 24 (ot)
The Cowboys were asleep for most of the game against a 3-6 Redskins team. Washington led 17-10 in the third quarter but the Cowboys took the lead on a 59-yard pass from Romo to Jason Witten.
The Redskins tied it with 22 seconds remaining. They missed a 52-yard field goal in overtime.
Should the Cowboys have won it: Uhhhh … yes.
Nov. 24, 2011 Cowboys 20, Dolphins 19
A bad Fish team, “led” by QB Matt Moore, had a 16-10 lead in the fourth quarter before the Cowboys tied it. The Cowboys won it on a last-second field goal by Dan Bailey. A brutal game.
Should the Cowboys have won it: Yes.
Dec. 4 2011 Cardinals 19, Cowboys 13 (ot)
An awful loss that trigged their season-ending collapse. The Cardinals were 4-7. The Cowboys led 13-6 in the fourth quarter. On their final drive of regulation, the team badly botched the clock and timeouts, which led to a Dan Bailey 49-yard field goal with seven seconds remaining. He missed.
The Cardinals took the opening kickoff of the OT and scored on a 52-yard touchdown pass from Kevin Kolb to LaRod Stephens-Howling.
Should the Cowboys have won: Yes. They had no business losing this game.
Dec. 11, 2011 Giants 37, Cowboys 34
With 5:52 remaining in the game, the Cowboys led 34-22. The Giants two touchdowns in their next two drives to take the lead. The Cowboys had a potential game-tying field goal blocked with six seconds remaining.
Should the Cowboys have won: Yes. Yes. Yes.
Oct. 14, 2012 Ravens 31, Cowboys 29
The Cowboys led 10-3 in the second quarter but chased it the rest of the way. They made the score 31-29 with 36 seconds remaining but missed on the two-point attempt. They then recovered the ensuing onside kick, but promptly screwed up clock management and play calling to force Bailey to try a 51-yard field goal with six seconds remaining. He missed.
Should the Cowboys have won: NO way.
Nov. 18, 2012 Cowboys 23, Browns 20 (ot)
The fact this game makes this list is quite telling. The Browns were 2-7. The Cowboys trailed 13-3 after three quarters. The Browns took a 20-17 lead with 70 seconds remaining. Bailey tied it with six seconds remaining, and won it in OT.
Should the Cowboys have won: Nope.
Dec. 9, 2012 Cowboys 20, Bengals 19
The Bengals should have won this four different ways; they led 19-10 in the fourth quarter. Leading by two, Bengals DB Terence Newman dropped a sure game-ending int.
The Cowboys won on Bailey’s 40-yard field goal at the end of regulation.
Should the Cowboys have won: No way.
Dec. 16, 2012 Cowboys 27, Steelers 24 (ot)
This game was close throughout; the Cowboys tied it at 24 with 6:58 remaining. They won it after Brandon Carr intercepted a pass in OT and returned it to the Steelers’ 1-yard line to set up the game-winning field goal.
Should the Cowboys have won: Yes.
Dec. 23, 2012 Saints 34, Cowboys 31 (ot)
No one could stop anybody; the Cowboys chased the game the entire day. The Saints led 31-17 in the fourth quarter before Romo hit Miles Austin for the game-tying TD catch with 19 seconds remaining.
The Cowboys won the coin toss in OT but did nothing. The Saints were moving when receiver Marques Colston was stripped deep inside Cowboys’ territory but the Saints recovered the fumble. They kicked the game-winning field goal on the next play.
Should the Cowboys have won: No.
Sept. 15, 2013 Chiefs 17, Cowboys 16
The Cowboys led 13-7 in the third quarter before their offense fell apart against a superior Chiefs’ defense. They were minus-2 in turnovers.
Should the Cowboys have won: No.
Oct. 6, 2013 Broncos 51, Cowboys 48
The Cowboys led 14-0. They trailed 35-20. They led 48-41.
When it was tied at 48 late in the game, Romo threw a killer pick that led to the game-winning score for the Broncos.
Should the Cowboys have won: Yes. They had the ball late in a game that was whoever-had-the-ball-lasts wins.
Oct. 27, 2013 Lions 31, Cowboys 30
The Cowboys led 27-24 and were unable to grind away more of the clock and had to settle for a field goal for a 30-24 lead. The Lions regained possession with 62 seconds remaining. And, of course, they scored a touchdown.
Should the Cowboys have won: No, but yes. Their defense was terrible, but a six-point lead with one minute remaining against a team with no timeouts should be a win.
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