Sports Outside the Beltway

Dallas Falls to Seattle in Stunner

The Dallas Cowboys lost 21-20 to the Seattle Seahawks in one of the most exciting, most bizarre football games I have seen in nearly thirty years of watching the game.

Dallas was leading 20-13 late in the 4th quarter when Seattle mounted a drive that looked to end in a sure touchdown. The defense stopped the Seahawks on the goal line when Holmgren decided to go for it on 4th down rather than attempt a short field goal.

The Cowboys threw a pass to the sure-handed Terry Glenn on the next play and he proceeded to fumble it. Seattle recovered and was ruled to have a touchdown. A Cowboys challenge led to a booth review and a correct call that the Seattle defender was out of bounds, making the recovery invalid, and thus only a safety.

Seattle then got the ball back in good field position on the ensuing free kick and drove for a quick touchdown, bringing the score to 21-20. They tried and failed the 2 point conversion.

Dallas got the ball back with over three minutes left on the clock and marched down the field, running the clock down to a little over a minute and forcing Seattle to burn its timeouts. On 3rd down from inside the Seattle 20, they went for a gutsy tight end pass that was ruling a 1st down and goal to go from the 1. An official review, though, gave Dallas a lousy spot and forced them to go for a chip shot field goal.

Inexplicably, the Cowboys botched the snap and quarterback Tony Romo recovered and scampered toward the goal line, seemingly getting the first down. The spot was short, though, and Seattle recovered on downs.

Seattle ran the clock down and punted with 8 seconds left on the clock. The Cowboys got the ball with 2 seconds left on their own 52, well outside Martin Gramatica’s field goal range. A failed Hail Mary later, and the game was over.

I’m not sure what’s worse: Losing a playoff game because of a bad overturn call on a spot late in the game or botching a gimme field goal. Either way, the result is the same: Eight months until the next game that counts.

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Um, you give the impression that the snap was somehow bad. It was not a bad snap – Romo just dropped it.

Posted by Mark | January 7, 2007 | 01:02 am | Permalink

…and the overturn of the spot on the catch at the 1 was a good one, too. A better complaint – after that was reviewed, and Seattle called a timeout, the clock should have been rolled back to 1:43. Seattle would have called it then, not at 1:19, had the ball been marked correctly the first time.

Posted by Ezzie Goldish | January 7, 2007 | 01:37 am | Permalink

Mark, I think that’s what happened, too–and that’s how I wrote it to begin with. NBC didn’t show a post-game press conference, though, and I’m not sure what the team’s take on that is. The snap could have come early or otherwise been bad and I wouldn’t know that watching on TV.

Posted by James Joyner | January 7, 2007 | 08:04 am | Permalink

It looks like the Cowboys are acknowledging that it was indeed just a drop on Romo’s part.

Posted by James Joyner | January 7, 2007 | 08:05 am | Permalink

The spot was correct bringing up 4th down. None of the replays showed Whitten getting to the 1. He was either 1/4 or 1/2 a yard short easy.

Posted by John Gibson | January 7, 2007 | 06:55 pm | Permalink

I thought he had it, as did Madden, on forward progress. It’s amazing to me that the spot is an automatic challenge in the final 2 minutes, anyway, since it’s not the entire rest of the game.

Posted by James Joyner | January 7, 2007 | 07:07 pm | Permalink

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