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3) Will The Cowboys Keep Playing Catch Up In Tight Games?


IRVING, Texas – As the Cowboys focus on the offseason, training camp is still in sight.

Coming off two straight 8-8 seasons and three full seasons removed from the playoffs, the Cowboys have plenty of question marks surrounding them as they prepare for the 2013 season.

As we count down the days to camp, the writers of will take a different question each day that is hovering over this team.

With three days until the Cowboys take the field in Oxnard, Calif., today's question centers on the number of three-point games in recent history.

*3) How Many Games Will The Cowboys Win Decided By Three Points Or Fewer? *

The game of tag was familiar to the Cowboys last year.

They seemed to get down early every week, chasing their opponent before mustering a late comeback that wound up either in a magnificent come-from-behind victory or a bitter last-second defeat.  Either way, it was rare to find a fourth quarter of a Cowboys game that wasn't close.

The Cowboys played in seven three-point games in 2010, winning just three of them. They performed better in tight contests a year later, going 4-2 in games decided by three points or fewer in 2011.

Dallas went 3-2 in such games last season, with the first occurring on a missed 51-yard field goal By Dan Bailey with fewer than 10 seconds remaining against the Ravens. Those misses wouldn't happen often the rest of the season, as Bailey missed just one other field goal the rest of the year. [embedded_ad]

The Cowboys went 3-1 in games decided by three points or fewer the rest of the way, losing only an overtime matchup to the Saints after a Marques Colston fumble was recovered by New Orleans, resulting in a short field goal to cap the game.

Dallas ended up on the winning end of its other two overtime games, with game-winning field goals by Bailey against the Browns and the Steelers.

If the Cowboys can't get their running game going early in games during the 2013 season, it's likely the comeback attempts will continue to come in bunches, which will subsequently result in a significant reliance on Bailey's leg.

If that's the case, the Cowboys will need to perform even better than their 3-2 record in three-point games last season to earn a trip to the postseason.

 Sticking with our numerical journey to training camp, let's take a closer look at the number three:

  • Brandon Carr led all Cowboys with three interceptions last season. No other defender had more than one.
  • Quarterback Nick Stephens currently wears the No. 3. Another Cowboys quarterback to wear the number recently was Jon Kitna. Before that, it belonged to kickers Billy Cundiff and Richie Cunningham.
  • The Cowboys have never entered an NFL Draft with the No. 3 overall pick.
  • Victor Butler finished last season with exactly three sacks. Only DeMarcus Ware (11.5), Anthony Spencer (11) and Jason Hatcher (4) had more than Butler.
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