Sunday, October 21, 2012
Dallas Cowboys 19, Carolina Panthers 14
Cowboys prevail in choppy, low-scoring affair.
The Dallas Cowboys got another notch in the win column Sunday afternoon, as they defeated the Carolina Panthers 19-14. The win snapped a two-game losing streak and improved Dallas to 3-3 on the season. Carolina fell to 1-5.
The low-scoring affair was ugly at times, with multiple injuries, turnovers, and ill-timed penalties. Still, the win was a positive for a team plagued by clock possession and mental mistakes in the past two weeks.
After a 0-0 first quarter, Dallas opened the scoring with a 18-play, 92-yard drive that culminated in a 19-yard field goal by Dan Bailey to make it 3-0. Carolina responded with their first sustained drive of the game, marching down to the Cowboys seven yard line before Panthers quarterback Cam Newton threw an ill-timed interception to Cowboys rookie cornerback Morris Claiborne in the endzone.
Dallas took the ball from their own 20 and moved down the field until Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo hit Miles Austin for a long gain. Austin evaded several tacklers before the ball was punched out of his grip, with the Panthers recovering the fumble.
From their own 20, Carolina moved down the field with ease, as Newton ran for 20 yards and passed for 60, eventually scoring when Newton hit Brandon LaFell on a crossing pattern for the touchdown with 14 seconds remaining before the half.
Following halftime, both teams traded punts until the Cowboys took over on their own 37 with nine and a half minutes left in the third. Romo hit three straight passes of 11 yards to Kevin Ogletree, 36 yards to Austin and finished with a perfectly-placed 26-yard pass to Austin for the Cowboys' only touchdown on the day to make it 10-7 Dallas.
After Dallas expanded their lead with a 49-yard field goal, the Panthers finally went to work in the fourth quarter. Starting from their own 27, Carolina marched down the field, assisted tremendously by two huge penalties on Dallas. Fullback Mike Tolbert pounded it in from the two yard line to put Carolina up 14-13 with 11:38 remaining.
After the teams traded punts, Dallas finally got a drive going with seven minutes left starting on their own 46. Romo completed passes of eight yards to Phillip Tanner and 11 yards to Jason Witten, while also running for 10 yards himself, to put Bailey in a position to nail a 26-yard field goal that put Dallas up 16-14 with 3:25 remaining.
Carolina turned the ball over on downs -- assisted by a last-second timeout on 4th-and-1 when the Cowboys had well over twelve men on the field -- and Dallas relied on an idiotic personal foul penalty on the Panthers to move into field goal range, where Bailey hit his fourth kick of the day, a 38-yarder to put Dallas up by five points with just 53 seconds remaining.
On the Panthers' last-ditch drive, Newton hit Steve Smith for a 26-yard gain, but was otherwise unable to complete a pass and was sacked with 24 seconds left, leaving the game up to a desperate series of laterals that only resulted in another Newton fumble.
Romo had a solid game, going 24-of-34 for 227 yards and a touchdown with zero interceptions and sacks. The Cowboys running game was nowhere near as effective as it was the previous week against Baltimore -- where they set a Ravens opponent's franchise record after putting up 227 yards on the ground -- as Felix Jones gained 44 yards on 15 carries before he was injured, and Tanner gained 30 more on 13 carries.
Miles Austin was the most productive Cowboy offensively despite his fumble, with five catches for 97 yards and the sole touchdown.
Cam Newton was his team's only offensive option, going 21-of-37 for 232 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Newton also led his team in rushing with six carries for 64 yards, all in the first half.