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Defense Finally Falters In This Ending

there on the sidelines and thinking about the Washington game from earlier this season here at Texas Stadium. Their first loss of the season, and it was basically the same type of game.  

  The Cowboys didn't have control for most of that game. Yet, they found a way to get a late touchdown and pull the same 26-24 score. That day, they just missed getting the onside kick. But here for the final game, the football Gods were going to provide some help, right? You just knew it.  

  Oh, but they kicked it deep. Yeah, I know they had three timeouts. I understand the logic of booting the ball down the field, holding the Ravens to a stop and getting the ball back near midfield with a chance to win. Yeah, I get the strategy.  

  But there are exceptions. And that was one of them. The Cowboys had no business kicking that football deep. Not after McGahee just ripped through them for a 77-yard touchdown through the heart and soul of the defense.  

  Your offense is finally hot. You're making plays. To me, it's an onside kick with the hope of getting this football back and winning the game.  

  If not, you still have to stop them and use your three timeouts. Even if Baltimore managed to make a field goal, the Cowboys are going to get the ball back, trailing by five points.  

  Wade Phillips didn't agree, of course.  

  "We had three timeouts both times," Phillips said. "If we stop them there, we've got field position. We had them way backed up on the last one. If we make them punt, we're pretty close to field-goal range already. I think the strategy was right, but we didn't make a play at all." 

  Nope. The Cowboys kick it deep the second time. Baltimore takes over at their 18-yard line. All the Ravens are trying to do is hold onto the football with some solid runs. That's why they didn't go back to McGahee, the speed back. No, this was a fullback run to Le'Ron McClain. Or was it Jim Brown? Whoever it was, he stiff-arms Ken Hamlin on his back, runs through the entire defense and even turns Terence Newman around at the end for yet another 82-yard, crowd-silencing touchdown.  

  What's worse than a kick in the gut that drops you to your knees? How about finally getting your breath back, getting back on your feet and then getting kicked even harder once again.  

  That one, the Cowboys couldn't overcome.  

  It's hard to place blame on this defense. The last few weeks the unit has been lights out. But the night the lights literally went out at Texas Stadium, it was the defense that couldn't close the deal.                                                                                          

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