My god. Does anyone have a defibrillator? My heart hasn’t started beating again yet.
I have just watched the most spectacular minute of football I have ever seen.
Better than Vince Young’s endzone dive to win the national championship?
Better than Boise State’s hook and lateral followed by the Statue of Liberty?
Without a doubt.
For those of you who missed this one for the ages, here’s a not-so-quick summary:
The Cowboys entered the game riding a huge wave of momentum. They were 4-0 for the first time since 1995, and that year they had gone on to win their 5th Super Bowl. They had one of the most potent offenses in the league, led by their wunderkind quarterback, Tony Romo. Romo had proven himself not only as a worthy successor of the great Troy Aikman, but had drawn comparisons to Brett Farve for being a fearless gunslinger. He was behind only Tom Brady in QB efficiency. Buffalo was coming off of a terrible start and was wracked by injury. On top of this, the Bills did not have karma on their side. This was a team that had gone to the Super Bowl 4 times in the early 90s, twice against the Cowboys, and had come up empty handed every single time. Clearly, the Cowboys were going to be heavy favorites.
However, no one could have expected Tony Romo to play the worst game of his 17 game career, throwing 4 interceptions in the first half. However, the Cowboys manage to limp into the half down 17 to 10, partly because of the Bill’s stagnant offense and Dallas’s solid defense. The bulk of Buffalo’s points had come from 2 turnovers converted for touchdowns and a demoralizing 103 yard kickoff return. Fast forward to the fourth quarter. With time running out, Romo turns the ball over and then throws ANOTHER interception, tying the franchise single game interception record set by Troy Aikman, bringing his turnover count to 6. For Dallas fans, the game that they had entered as heavy favorites had become a nightmare. Buffalo, hosting Monday Night Football for the first time in 13 years, was shining on the game’s biggest stage.
Then came the final minutes that will be remembered forever in Cowboys lore.
With 3:45 left in the game and down 16 to 24, Romo took his battered team down the field, finally getting a touchdown with 20 seconds left in the game. The score stood at 22-24. Cowboys fans everywhere held their collective breath. They would have to go for the 2 point conversion to try to tie the game and force overtime. Romo found his target, Terrell Owens, deep in the corner of the endzone, and let the ball fly. Owens jumped up and made the catch, but as he was coming down, he had the ball stripped from his hands. No good. It was all over for the Cowboys. The dream 4-0 start had come to a crushing end.
Or so we thought.
As the clock ticked down from 20 seconds, Nick Folk, the rookie kicking sensation, delivered a beautiful onside kick that was tipped by Sam Hurd and recovered by the Cowboys at their own 41 yard line.
18 seconds left. 65 yards out. A field goal away from a win. A botched 2 point conversion to tie the game had given way for a miraculous opportunity for the Cowboys to salvage a disastrous night.
Realizing instantly that 65 yards was a suicidal distance for any kicker, the Cowboys elected to try to gain better field position. Tony Romo threw a 34 yard missile that was dropped by Terrell Owens at the Buffalo 25. Incomplete.
Romo quickly launched 2 more clutch passes that were quickly ran out of bounds for a gain of 12 yards.
It all came down to this. 2 seconds left on the game clock, 2 points down, and a 53 yard field goal needed to seal the deal. Nick Folk came out again to set himself up for the kick. His longest field goal up to this point had been 47 yards, and now all the pressure was on him. Could he do it?
Folk primed himself and kicked a beauty right through the uprights.
The Cowboys had done it… or so it had seemed. Apparently, the Buffalo coaching staff had been waiting for the instant he kicked the ball to use their final time out. The kick was no good, and would have to be done again. Surely, no one believed that a rookie could make 2 consecutive 53 yarders.
Folk, with the golden toe, struck again, this time uncontested. Dallas had pulled off the unthinkable, winning 25-24. As the Cowboys sideline rushed onto the field in an orgy of postgame euphoria, Buffalo fans stared at the scoreboard in disbelief, flabbergasted at how they could have possibly lost. The Cowboys had led for a total of 2 seconds in the entire game, the 2 seconds being at the very end. They squeaked by with a win, preserving their perfect record and improving to 5-0 for the first time in a quarter century. Bad karma had struck the Bills again.
Some random thoughts:
- Forget Marshawn Lynch for Rookie of the Year, how about Nick Folk? He ended up scoring 13 of Dallas’s 25 points, and also delivered the crucial onside kick. The rookie’s only failed field goal has come from a blocked kick against Chicago. I say we use his name as a verb. The Bills definitely got “Folked” tonight. Hehe.
- How about that Dallas defense? Their contribution is overshadowed by Folk’s godly kicks, but let’s not overlook it. The Bills offense never got in the endzone. Their only offensive points came from a field goal. Need I remind you that this was a defense that was ranked among the worst in the league in the opening weeks of the season? My, how things change.
- I’ve analyzed the game, and I’ve figured out why Buffalo lost. Two names: Marshawn Lynch, rookie from Cal, and Trent Edwards, rookie from Stanford. The Bills had Stanford vs. Cal playing in their own backfield! That’s like a pact with the devil, and it’s destined to fail.
- I know Romo had a terrible night, but you’ve got to admit, the kid has composure. He completed 11 of his last 14 passes. He didn’t let his performance get to his head, and when his team needed him in the clutch, he delivered twice, setting up a touchdown as well as setting up better field position for the winning kick. Any other QB his age would have folded under pressure, but he held it together and gave his team a chance to win.
- The Cowboys better train hard in the next 6 days, because if they rack up 6 turnovers against the Patriots, they will get eaten alive. You know Bill Belichick is dissecting this game tape.
- Cowboys win, Yankees lose. Oh yeah, Cal is #2 in the nation, and Arsenal is at the top of the Premier League. Seriously, can life get any better?
Phew, that took forever to write.
I am going to get no homework done tonight.