IRVING, Texas – Overall, there weren't enough individual performances in 2012 to produce a playoff-caliber team.
For the second straight year, the Cowboys came up short and are now about four weeks into the offseason. But still, there were some individual efforts that should be noted.
In a weekly series throughout the offseason, the staff writers of DallasCowboys.com come together for a Top 10 list. And today, we'll continue with the Top 10 individual performances of the 2012 season. It's not the Top 10 players or games, or even the Top 10 seasons, but the 10 best games of the year by the individual.
Honorable Mention:There were some good performances that didn't make the cut, including a few more from Dez Bryant, who had big games against the Redskins on Thanksgiving and at Baltimore. DeMarco Murray's game against the Giants on the opening night missed the cut, as did Dan Bailey's four field-goal game vs. Carolina. Bailey had a shot to make it with his three big kicks against Cleveland. And Tony Romo had some other games that were worthy of consideration, such as New Orleans and Pittsburgh. But they all came up short to these Top 10 individual performances of the 2012 season.
10. Phil Costa at Baltimore –The Cowboys rushed for 227 yards that day, the most by any Ravens' opponent in franchise history. It was the only game Costa started and finished but he paved the way inside, regardless who was running behind him.
9. Sean Lee at Seattle – He's remembered more for getting his bell rung on a blindside hit, but Lee tied the Cowboys' single-game record with 21 tackles, including 15 stops. He also returned from that big hit on the same series.
8. DeMarcus Ware vs. Tampa Bay – We can't forget a lot of the great games Ware had early this year, including Week 3 against the Bucs. He had two sacks, with one clinching the game late. He forced two fumbles and had seven tackles in a big win.
7. Anthony Spencer at Cincinnati – By the end of the year, Spencer was not only getting unblockable but clutch. He had 11 tackles against the Bengals with two sacks, including a big stop to set up the game-winning field goal.
6. Kevin Ogletree at NYG – Regardless of the impact he had all year, Ogletree was huge in the season-opener. He caught eight passes for 114 yards and two touchdowns – all season & career highs. He was a marginal year overall but a big-time performance.
5. Tony Romo vs. Philadelphia – His ninth-highest passing total of the year, but Romo was near flawless with a 150.5 QB rating. He was 22 of 27 for 303 yards and three scores, no picks. This was proof what he could be when he's not having to take over.
4. Dez Bryant vs. Cleveland – One of the games where Bryant really took over in the fourth quarter. He had 12 catches for 145 yards and two second-half touchdowns to rally the Cowboys from a 13-0 halftime deficit.
3. Brandon Carr vs. Pittsburgh – We know how it ended, with Carr picking off Ben Roethlisberger in overtime and returning the ball to the 1 to set up a game-winning field goal. Carr also had three pass deflections and matched the Steelers' physicality.
2. Jason Witten vs. NYG – Nothing flashy, except for an NFL record for most catches by a tight end and fourth-best in league history. Maybe all 18 catches collectively for quite flashy for Witten, who had 167 yards and couldn't be stopped by the Giants.
1. Dez Bryant vs. NO – While it did occur in a losing effort, Bryant was in beast-mode with a career-high 224 yards on nine catches, including a pair of 58-yard TDs on consecutive drives. It's not easy for WRs to dominate a game, but Bryant did that day.