CINCINNATI –While the memory of practice squad linebacker Jerry Brown was very much with the Cowboys in their win over the Bengals on Sunday, head coach Jason Garrett and the players did not hide their support for nose tackle Josh Brent.
Brent was the driver in the Saturday morning accident that left his 25-year-old best friend and roommate dead. He was arrested following the crash in Irving, Texas, and charged with intoxicated manslaughter. Roughly an hour after the Cowboys topped the Bengals and some 800 miles away, Brent posted a $500,000 bond and was released from jail.
He had been expected to start for the Cowboys in Cincinnati.
"He too is a teammate, somebody who's still well-respected in our locker room, someone we love very much," head coach Jason Garrett said of Brent. "It's a very challenging situation that he's in right now. Josh and Jerry were very close. They were close in college at Illinois, and there was no one more excited in our organization when we signed Jerry Brown. Josh was jumping up and down. 'That's my boy! That's my boy!'
"Obviously (Brent) is going through as difficult a time as anybody, and we just … have to be there for him. Everywhere he turns, he has to feel support – from every player, coach, every resource that we have with the Dallas Cowboys – he just needs to know that we're there for him to help him get through this. It's a difficult time. You just have to take it day by day. He'll never forget this. None of us will. But we have to help him get through it."
It is Brent's third year with the Cowboys.
"We love Josh like a brother," said defensive line teammate Marcus Spears. "We're going to support him. I'm just concerned about his state of mind. We're going to try to keep his mind right. This is such a hard situation for everyone, but we're not going to turn our backs on anyone."
Brent released a statement through his agent on Saturday night, saying he is "devastated and filled with grief." In 2009, Brent spent time in jail for a DUI charge.
While the Cowboys provided counseling for players on the trip to Cincinnati, and have looked into bringing more mental health professionals in during the coming week, team officials have spent much of Saturday and Sunday considering what might've prevented the accident.
"Personally, I have spent a lot of time over the last 24 hours thinking about what might have been said and done," owner Jerry Jones said. "I know there are many things that might have been said or done … but that's the way things happen when you have a tragedy."
The Cowboys suffered a few more injury setbacks, but nothing that appeared too severe. Although rookie cornerback Morris Claiborne seemed to have a serious injury in the third quarter when he was on the ground motionless for a few moments. He suffered a laceration to his face and did not return to the game, although he was able to walk off the field on his own power.
With Claiborne out, the Cowboys used a combination of Sterling Moore and Mike Jenkins.
Dez Bryant also suffered a finger injury that required him to wear a splint after the game.
Anthony Spencer dealt with a calf injury and needed an IV in the second half, while DeMarcus Ware battled through his shoulder/neck injury again. Safety Gerald Sensabaugh hobbled through the second half with an apparent foot injury and Ernie Sims missed a few players after a big hit in the second half.
- *Nick Eatman *
- Dan Bailey connected on a 40-yard field goal as time expired to give Dallas the win. It was his second game-winning field goal of the season (vs. Cleveland, Nov. 18, 38-yarder in overtime) and the sixth of his career. Bailey's six game-winning kicks are second in franchise history behind Rafael Septien's seven.
- Dez Bryantcaught four passes for 50 yards and a touchdown. He upped his career receptions total to 183 to pass Walt Garrison (182) and tie Lance Rentzel for 22nd in franchise history.
- Bryant upped his season receiving yards total to 1,028 with his 50 yards against the Bengals. This season is his first career 1,000-yard season, the first by a Cowboy since Miles Austin and Jason Witten did it in 2009, the 28th time in franchise history a player has reached 1,000 yards, and Bryant became the 12th different Cowboy to do it.
- Bryant's 50 yards also upped his career yardage total to 2,517 and allowed him to pass Alvin Harper (2,486) for 20th in club record books.
- Bryant also became the 20th Dallas Cowboy to reach 2,500 career receiving yards.
- Bryant's touchdown catch was his fifth consecutive game with a touchdown reception, the longest streak in his career.
- Bryant's 24th career scoring grab* *also broke a tie with Patrick Crayton for sole possession of 12th in team history
- Tony Romo finished the game completing 25-of-43 passes (58.1%) for 268 yards, one touchdown, and an interception. He upped his season passing attempts total to 526 – the fourth time in his career and the seventh time in team history a quarterback reached 500 attempts. Romo's 526 pass attempts this season ranks third in a season in franchise history.
- With his 25 completions, Romo now has 2,021 for his career to become the second Dallas Cowboy (Aikman) to reach 2,000 career completions.
- Romo's25 completions upped his season completions total to 349 and establish a single-season club record.
- Romoopened game completing his first five passes. Along with his 12 straight completed from last week (last two of the second quarter and all 10 in the second half), Romo established the club record for consecutive completions (17). The previous record was 14 straight, held by Steve Pelluer (vs. Seattle, Nov. 27, 1986) and Randall Cunningham (14, vs. Philadelphia, Sept. 3, 2000; 13, at Arizona, Sept. 10, 2000).
- With 268 passing yards Sunday, Romo passed Bart Starr (24,718) for 65th on the NFL's all-time passing yards chart with 24,762 for his career.
- Tony Romo's touchdown pass gave him 20 scoring throws this season – the fifth time in his career and the 16th time in team history a quarterback reached 20 touchdowns. His five career 20-touchdown seasons are the most in franchise history. Danny White is second with four, then Don Meredith and Roger Staubach are next with three each.
- In guiding Dallas to its second consecutive game with a come-from-behind win, Romo now has four fourth quarter comeback wins for the season and 17 for his career, bettering his franchise-high.
- Ernie Sims had his first sack as a Dallas Cowboy in the second quarter.
- Anthony Spencer had 2.0 sacks, to give him 8.5 sacks this year and improve his single-season career-best.
- Spencer posted his third multi-sack game of the season and the seventh of his career.
- DeMarcus Ware's sack gave him 110.5 career sacks, and moved him past Greg Townsend for 18th all-time in NFL history.
- Jason Witten had four catches to give him 92 for the season, and give him his fourth career season with 90-plus catches. Witten already had the most 90-catch seasons in team history with three, and his four are now tied for sixth-all time in NFL history. Jerry Rice, Marvin Harrison and Torry Holt share the league-high with six 90-catch seasons.
- Witten's fourth 90-catch season was the sixth time a Dallas Cowboy reached 90 catches in a season (Witten in 2007, 2009-10, 2012 and Michael Irvin in 1993 and 1995), the 14th time an NFL tight end reached 90 catches and tied with Tony Gonzalez for the most among league tight ends.
- For the season, Witten has 92 catches – the fourth-most in a season in his career, fifth-most in a season by a Dallas Cowboy and the second-most in a season by an NFL tight end.
- Witten's 62 receiving yards upped his career total to 8,789 and allowed him to pass Joe Horn (8,744) and Mark Carrier (8,763) for 59th on the NFL's all-time receiving yards chart.