Unless you’re just looking to be a contrarian – and if you are, that’s cool – you’d have to say Sunday’s 31-29 win over the Cowboys goes down, currently, as the luckiest win in Ravens history.
I’m not talking a little lucky.
I’m not saying it’s even of the “boy, we really got lucky today” variety.
This one was, “There’s absolutely no way in hell we should have won that game. Can you believe we did? We’re lucky as s**t to win today.”
Consider this: The Cowboys had the ball for 40:03. In case you forgot, the game is 60:00 in length. The Ravens, then, had it for a mere 19:57.
Speaking of offense, the Cowboys riddled the Ravens for 27 first downs (and 3 more due to Baltimore penalties). The Ravens offense managed 18 first downs.
Dallas ran for more yards (227) against the Ravens than any team has — ever. As in, since the team came to Baltimore in 1996 ever. The Cowboys ran the ball so well that Baltimore Marathon officials showed up afterwards with medals-of-completion for all of the Dallas running backs who carried the ball on Sunday.
The Cowboys rang up 481 yards of offense on the Ravens. They drove the ball 80 yards in the final 4:41 and scored a touchdown to narrow the gap to 31-29. Then, the guy who had tortured the Baltimore defense throughout the afternoon inexplicably dropped the 2-point conversion with 32 seconds left.
Game over, right?
The Dallas special teams unit did the unthinkable, recovering the onside kick when the ball slithered through the normally sure-fire hands of the Ravens Brendon Ayanbadejo.
And the Cowboys then moved the ball down the field, reaching the Baltimore 34 yard line with 26 seconds remaining. What happened then was precisely why Dallas doesn’t have a very good football team.
Tony Romo found Dez Bryant for a one-yard gain to bring up 2nd down. Armed with one time-out, there were gobs of options presented to the Cowboys at that point. Romo could have thrown the ball into the dirt, saved a time-out, and used a moment to get his offense together for a 3rd down running play that, if nothing else, would have moved the ball into the middle of the field for kicker Dan Bailey. Romo could have hustled his offense to the line of scrimmage and thrown a sideline pass to give his team a shorter kick. He could have called time-out with 20 seconds to play to figure out how to attack the remaining seconds and get his team in the best position for the winning kick.
(Please see next page for more)