Sullivan: An Unlikely Victory, Crawford's Night, Among Thoughts

Some of the thoughts that run through an oversized, bald head:

  • The majority of wins at any level, from the little tots who sit down in the middle of the soccer field to the 87-year-old trying to shoot his age on the golf course, there are exactly two ways to analyze the athletic competition that has taken place. That was a mess of a football game. The Cowboys literally took the "Ways to Lose a Football Game" handbook and ran down the list. Yet, they won. So I'm blindly going positive for the moment: This team is 6-1, about 87 floors above once-in-a-lifetime mojo.
  • Seriously, that win was showing up in Las Vegas with a plan, investing four days of $100 a hand blackjack and being down to the last penny at the airport and then hitting on a six-figure slot. I cannot fathom they won that game. It's one of the top three from the last decade of having no business thinking about victory and doing so. Right there with Week 1 against the Giants last year and that Buffalo game when Tony Romo threw five picks on Monday Night Football.
  • There's no reason to make this about the quarterback controversy outside of the fact that it's all anyone wants to talk about. I've been asked about this every hour for the last two weeks and it's only going to intensify. Dak Prescott is a special kid. The last few drives he made some ginormous throws. It's just that we don't know which Tony Romo is on the sidelines. If he's even 80 percent of 2014 Romo, then it's a no-brainer despite the winning streak.
  • Wow, that was not the Jason Garrett of the last five years making some of those calls – the fake punt, the Cole Beasley pass that was wide open to Terrance Williams, going for it on fourth down in overtime. There were some frustrating instances watching the Eagles blitz down after down and the Cowboys not having answers, but in the end, Garrett deserves a lot of credit for that win. Not that he wants it.
  • The officiating was a mess in both directions. Could write the entire column about that. Just too many penalties. We get it. There could, technically-speaking, be a flag on every play, especially in the secondary and on the line. Just make it worthwhile, make the laundry stand out. Throw the obvious ones or adjust the rules accordingly for just that.
  • All four NFC East teams have a winning record through Week 8. For those youngsters in the audience, this was a routine occurrence in the 1980s and 1990s outside of the Cardinals, who were then the fifth rival. Makes for a better league when Dallas, Washington and the Giants are relevant, much like the Celtics, Knicks and Lakers in the NBA.
  • The Cowboys were super-duper sloppy. Like, cruising down a greased waterslide into a pigpen. We had too many men on the field on a punt return, delay of game on third down, an interception thrown in the end zone and 11 penalties in all. And that's before we even begin discussing Lucky Whitehead, who, bless him, loves playing football as much as anyone on the planet. That first kickoff was a train wreck, the most fortuitous bounce imaginable, and fielding a punt at the 3-yard line is just plain ridiculous.
  • Tyrone Crawford has quietly been lurking this season, as in playing better than 99.9 percent of the fan base realize. Entering the game, he was tied for second among defensive linemen in quarterback hurries. Not on the team. We're talking in the league. Most coaches will tell you that hurries are a more valuable statistic than sacks. One is flukier than the other; they will take the consistent pressure. Well, never mind that, Crawford enjoyed a career day and then some: five QB hurries, three QB hits, 1.5 sacks, two tackles for loss and a fumble recovery. Likely NFC Defensive Player of the Week.
  • That's also as well as Sean Lee has played in three years, since before the ACL injury. All that tape he watches, for hours before and after anyone else, games like this, it's so obvious. He anticipated at least eight plays I counted, where he fooled the offense into thinking he didn't know, but then made the play.
  • Dez Bryant looked 100 percent healthy and made some plays. I've been critical of him at times the last two years, but it's worth pointing out that he could have easily finished with 12 catches for 240 yards and three touchdowns. He was that open on that many occasions.
  • Philadelphia's Fletcher Cox is considered one of the premier defensive tackles in the game. And he is. Watch what Zack Martin did to him throughout the game. The blitzes caused a whole lot of pressure on Prescott, but it wasn't because of Martin.
  • The Cowboys lost that game at least five different times. Fans left the stadium during the fourth quarter. Magical stuff. And once again, all week, we're going to hear about the offense, Ezekiel Elliott, the quarterback situation, and who knows what else. Yet the key to this team's success has been the defense. Having Orlando Scandrick back, healthy, helped a whole bunch, too. No idea how Carson Wentz held onto that football on the attempted strip. He wound up like Mike Tyson pre-Buster Douglas.

Check out Jeff Sullivan's column each week in *Dallas Cowboys Star Magazine. Find out more at You can also follow Jeff on Twitter, @SullyBaldHead, or email him at*

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