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2013 Game Recap: What We Learned In December


Game 13 – at Chicago:

Personally, I think the debacle in Chicago taught us exactly how low this defense could sink. Tony Romo threw three touchdowns and no picks, and DeMarco Murray rushed for 146 yards – and yet the Cowboys didn't even come close to the Bears. Why? Because the Dallas defense didn't force a single punt all night, allowing backup quarterback Josh McCown and his receivers to completely dominate. The defense couldn't even capitalize on the few opportunities it did get, as Orlando Scandrick and Bruce Carter both dropped interceptions and Sterling Moore had another called back by a defensive holding penalty. On a more positive note, we also learned that Murray could hold up down the stretch of the season, as this game was the first of several big days in December. He totaled 424 yards in the Cowboys' final four games. – David Helman

Game 14 – Green Bay:

Done. Finished. Wrapped up. Any and all of these words and phrases could have described the Packers at halftime here, but they would all be wrong. Of all the bitter, close, late losses the Cowboys suffered through, this had to be the worst. What the Cowboys and their fans learned, after squandering a 23-point halftime lead against an offense using backup quarterback Matt Flynn, is that with this defense and the pass-heavy play-calling under basically all circumstances, no lead is safe or insurmountable. Despite Dan Bailey's perfect 5-for-5 day, the Packers owned the second half and outscored the Cowboys, 34-10, after halftime. – Rowan Kavner

Game 15 – at Washington:

We learned once again, Tony Romo is one of the toughest players this team has seen in a long time. Dealing with a back injury for most of the day, Romo re-tweaked it on a crucial third-down pass in which he spun out of would-be sack and converted the first and then went on to lead the Cowboys to two scoring drives, including the game-winner in the clutch. Romo being diagnosed with a herniated disk that needed surgery just a few days later should give further proof of his toughness and dedication to his team … We also learned Orlando Scandrick can be just as effective sometimes as Brandon Carr, who struggled with Pierre Garcon all day. Scandrick switched to him later in the game and was able to come up with key stops to get the offense the ball back … We also learned that in some cases, fourth-and-goal from the 10 can be better than second-and-goal from the 1. – Nick Eatman [embedded_ad]

Game 16 – Philadelphia:

For the third consecutive season for Jason Garrett and his squad, it was a winner-take-all game with the NFC East on the line. Leading up to the game, there were plenty of media members who believed Monte Kiffin and his Cowboys defense would be run out of the stadium by a high-powered Eagles offense led by Nick Foles. Initially it did not look good, but the group managed to rally and hold things together, and as the game wore on, the better the defense played. There were several three and outs, five sacks and a goal line stand for a group that, coming into the game, was viewed as a liability. George Selvie and Jason Hatcher were outstanding up front as was DeVonte Holloman, making his third start at middle linebacker. Morris Claiborne played like that player they hoped he would be when they drafted him two years ago. Before the season, there were so many questions that if Monte Kiffin and his scheme could hold up against Chip Kelly and this style of offense. In their first meeting of the season, Kiffin was awarded a Game Ball for his efforts and if not for an early fumble and two costly interceptions, he should have had his second one. – Bryan Broaddus

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