NFL: Cowboys 20, Dolphins 19
Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 24, 2011
ARLINGTON, Texas ó Tony Romo doesnít care about winning in style. Heís leading the Dallas Cowboys to victories, and thatís all that matters.
Romo overcame a pair of early interceptions by throwing two touchdown passes to Laurent Robinson and rookie Dan Bailey made a 28-yard field goal as time expired, giving the Dallas Cowboys a 20-19 victory over the Miami Dolphins on Thursday.
The Cowboys (7-4) were never able to grab control, but also never trailed by more than six points. The defense gave up scores on four straight series, but limited the damage because three of those were field goals. They finally got a stop with Dallas trailing 19-17.
Romo took over on his 36-yard line with 2:59 left. He completed a few passes, then rookie DeMarco Murray kept grinding out yards and winding down the clock to set up Baileyís winner.
ěWe did enough to give ourselves a chance to win the game,î Dallas coach Jason Garrett said.
This was the second straight game that Bailey ended with a field goal, and the fourth time heís done it this season. The kick was his 26th straight made field goal, matching the second-best in club history.
It also was a measure of redemption for Cowboys fans, coming 18 years after the Dolphins won a Thanksgiving game on a last-second field goal following Leon Lettís memorable gaffe on a snowy afternoon. This time, conditions were so balmy that the glass end-zone doors at Cowboys Stadium were opened for the first time all season.
Dallas won its fourth straight, continuing its best streak since a division championship season in 2009. The Cowboys also grabbed sole possession of first place in the NFC East, moving a half-game ahead of the Giants. New York plays at New Orleans on Monday night.
Miami (3-8) had won three straight. The Dolphins hadnít allowed a touchdown for 13 quarters before Robinsonís first TD with 55 seconds left in the first half.
Matt Moore set up that touchdown by letting a shotgun snap go through his hands for a fumble that was recovered by Dallas only 5 yards from the end zone.
He bounced back by leading Miami to scores on four straight possessions. He had three straight drives of at least 70 yards in the second half, putting the Dolphins up 19-17 with 7:14 left. He didnít score on his final drive, and that wound up being the difference.
Romo ended a streak of 128 straight passes without an interception, but he completed 22 of 34 for 226 yards. Many of those came while scrambling and some while also being hit or grabbed. He was patient waiting for the 5-yarder to Robinson to develop, and the pair were in sync on an 18-yarder made with Romo moving to his left.
ěHe just kind of kept hanging in there,î Garrett said. ěI thought he moved in the pocket really well. In critical situations, he … allowed us to make plays.î
Murray ran 22 times for 87 yards. He bloodied an elbow early, leaving red smudges on his jersey and pants throughout the afternoon.