The Cowboys are putting final touches on a gameplan they hope will beat the Dolphins in Miami in a noon (DFW time) start ... but first they need to be healthy enough to do so ...
Fish reports that McFadden's status is for "precautionary'' reasons and that Dez and company are putting in the necessary work, regardless of their practice status from Thursday. An early snap at Thursday practice shows just that ...
Meanwhile CHQ is trying to talk itself into success for the Cowboys in this Crunchtime Podcast, the finest podcast of its type in the land ...
And off we go with "Cowboys 100'' -- the finest original-numbers project of its type in the land, too!
MIAMI DOLPHINS FACTS
Sunday is a rematch of Super Bowl VI as Dallas faces Miami at Sun Life Stadium, 1/19 Super Bowl rematches this season and 1/3 Dallas will participate in. The Cowboys won their first Super Bowl defeating Miami 24-3. The three points still stand as a Super Bowl record for fewest points allowed, as does Cowboys defensive tackle Bob Lilly’s 29-yard sack of Dolphins quarterback Bob Griese. Roger Staubach would earn MVP honors as Dallas finally shrugged the label of “Next Year’s Champions.” The Dolphins would post a 32-2 record over the next two seasons, including an undefeated 14-0 mark in ’72, en route to back-to-back Super Bowl wins.
This is the fifth time in club history the Cowboys have started 2-7 (1963, 1988, 2001, 2010). 3-13 was the worst they finished while 6-10 was the best.
Since 1990, when a sixth seed was added to each conference playoffs, there have been 73 teams to start 2-7. None of them made the playoffs.
Since 1978, when the NFL regular season expanded to 16 games, there has not been a team that started 2-7 and even posted a winning record.
This is the ninth time in Dolphins history the team has started out 4-5 (1980, 1986, 1987, 1991, 1996, 2009, 2012, 2013). None of those previous teams made the playoffs.
Since 1990, there have been 130 teams that have started 4-5. 16/130 of those teams made the playoffs.
Ahead of the 14th game in this series, this is the eighth time the Dolphins have had a better record than the Cowboys. The Dolphins have the edge in this scenario with a 4-3 mark.
This is the second straight game the Cowboys will wear their road blues. Last year, they wore them in Weeks 2-3 and defeated Tennessee and St. Louis. Dallas has never lost consecutive games wearing their road blues. The closest they came was in 1966 was when they tied the Cardinals on Oct. 16 and then lost to the Browns the next week on Oct. 23.
The Cowboys are 2-5 against the Dolphins in the month of November.
Dallas is 2-2 in Miami. Here is the breakdown by venue:
Orange Bowl: 0-2
Sun Life Stadium: 2-0
The Cowboys are 5-6 in the state of Florida. Here is how that record compares to other states with multiple NFL teams:
New York: 14-4-1
New Jersey: 21-23
Though frustrating for fans, the Cowboys are just 1/255 teams since 1940 to have posted a seven-game losing streak or greater.
TONY ROMO FACTS
This is the third time Romo will make an in-season return from injury. He is 2-0 in such games with a 113.5 passer rating. On average, he goes 20/27 for 272 yards, two touchdowns, an interception, and takes a sack.
Romo is 19-12 against the AFC with an 8-7 record on the road.
Romo is 2-0 against the Dolphins. The only other AFC teams he is undefeated against are the Browns, Bengals, Texans, and Raiders.
Romo is 10-5 when quarterbacking a Cowboys team with a losing record.
In snapping a losing streak, Romo has done so successfully 8/10 times.
Romo is 26-6 in November with a 10-4 record on the road.
Romo is 10-5 when donning the road blue jerseys with a 96.8 passer rating. On average, he goes 20/30 for 243 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.
In the last 15 road games, Romo has only thrown four interceptions, though it worth mentioning he has also lost four fumbles.
In Romo’s absence, the offensive line has given up 2.5 sacks per game. Romo is 19-23 when he gets sacked three or more times compared to 56-24 when he does not.
The last time Romo lost on the road was Dec. 9, 2013 when Dallas lost 45-28 in Chicago. Since then, Romo has won the last 10 road games he has started.
In his first two games this season, Romo had a 90.8 passer rating and a 70.6 percent completion percentage on third down. In his absence, Brandon Weeden and Matt Cassel had a 99.9 passer rating combined and a 67.2 percent completion. Weeden and Cassel had a 30.9 percent conversion rate while Romo had a 47.1 conversion rate.
RYAN TANNEHILL FACTS
Tannehill has a 2-1 record against Tampa-2 defenses with a 95.0 passer rating. On average, he goes 21/33 for 269 yards, one touchdown, one interception, and takes two sacks.
Tannehill is the first Texas A&M quarterback taken in the first round and just the eighth such Aggie signal caller drafted in the history of the NFL.
Tannehill is 7-7 against the NFC with a 4-2 record at home.
A win over the Cowboys would join Tannehill with Dan Marino, Steve DeBerg, and Jay Fiedler as the only Dolphins quarterbacks to defeat Dallas in their first encounter.
Tannehill is an even 10-10 in early games at Sun Life Stadium.
This is the third time in Tannehill’s career that he has started off 4-5.
Tannehill is 13-17 when he gets sacked three or more times compared to 14-13 when he does not.
The Dolphins are 12-21 when Tannehill throws an interception compared to 15-9 when he does not.
Tannehill has not thrown a pick in his last two games, matching the longest such streak since his rookie season when he had two streaks of four games without an interception.
Since Dan Marino, the only Dolphins quarterbacks to start all 16 games in a season have been Jay Fiedler (2001), Chad Pennington (2008), and Tannehill (2012-14). Tannehill is the only one to have not made the postseason after doing so.
JASON GARRETT FACTS
Garrett is 11-7 against the AFC with a 4-5 record on the road.
This is the Cowboys’ first back-to-back road trip of the season. Garrett is 3/3 in avoiding consecutive losses on the road.
Garrett is 5-0 in pre-Thanksgiving games with a 3-0 record on the road with all of those games coming on the East Coast.
Against interim head coaches, Garrett is 0-1 against interim head coaches. His only encounter was against the Joe Vitt-led New Orleans Saints on Dec. 23, 2012. Dallas lost 34-31 in overtime.
Against first-year head coaches, Garrett is 4-5 with a 3-2 record on the road.
In coaching in a venue for the first time, Garrett is 12-11.
In rematch games that Garrett has beaten initially, he is 4-3.
Garrett is 8-5 against quarterbacks from the 2012 draft class.
Garrett just needs one more win to tie Jimmy Johnson for the second-most regular season wins in club history with 44. However, each loss keeps adding to his sole possession of second-most regular season losses with 38.
Garrett, Tom Coughlin, and Gus Bradley are the only active head coaches to have had a seven-game losing streak with their current teams and avoid termination.
DAN CAMPBELL FACTS
Dan Campbell is the third interim head coach in Dolphins history. Jim Bates (2004) and Todd Bowles (2011) were not retained by the team.
Campbell has gone 3-2 in his first five games. Here is how he compares to other Miami head coaches (where applicable):
George Wilson: 0-5
Don Shula: 4-1
Jimmy Johnson: 3-2
Dave Wannstedt: 4-1
Jim Bates: 2-3
Nick Saban: 2-3
Cam Cameron: 0-5
Tony Sparano: 2-3
Joe Philbin: 2-3
Dan Campbell: 3-2
A win Sunday would join Campbell with Wannstedt as the only Dolphins head coaches to have defeated the Cowboys in an initial encounter. Shula, Johnson, Cameron, and Sparano are a combined 0-4.
In the final four games of the Phibin era, the Dolphins had the third-lowest points per game league-wide. Since Campbell, the Dolphins have scored the fifth-most points from Weeks 6-10.
In the final four games of Philbin’s tenure, Miami was tied for 10th-most rushing yards per carry with 4.26. Since the Campbell era began in Week Six, the Dolphins are third-best at 5.02 yards per carry.
In the last four games of Philbin’s stint with the Dolphins, the team had the ninth-worst total yards with 1,259. From Weeks 6-10 with Campbell, Miami is the fourth-best with 1,893 total yards.
Philbin’s first four games of 2015 saw Ryan Tannehill take 10 sacks, tied for the ninth-most in the NFL. Under Campbell from Weeks 6-10, Miami has given up 17 sacks, the second-most in the league.
Campbell is 1/6 ex-Cowboys that is a head coach in the NFL. The other five are Jason Garrett, Todd Bowles, Sean Payton, Jack Del Rio, and Mike Zimmer.
Campbell is the second-straight Texas High School player-turned-head coach Dallas will face in consecutive weeks. The first was Tampa Bay’s Lovie Smith.
Much is made of Campbell’s connections to Jason Garrett and tight end coach Mike Pope with their collective tenure with the New York Giants from 2000-02, but Campbell is also connected to defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. Marinelli was Campbell’s head coach in Detroit from 2006-08.
FOX will air its third game in the series between these two teams. Here is the Cowboys’ record broken down by network:
Dallas had Kevin Burkhardt and John Lynch last week for their 10-6 loss in Tampa Bay. Returning teams with the Burkhardt and Lynch pairing are 3-5.
The Dolphins have never had Burkhardt and Lynch as a pair, but they did have Lynch as a color commentator when hosting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Nov. 15, 2009. Miami prevailed 25-23.
With Lynch doing the color for their games, the Cowboys are 3-2.
Burkhardt was the inaugural play-by-play announcer for Compass Media Networks “America’s Team Radio Network,” that was auxiliary to the Dallas Cowboys Radio Network broadcasts, from 2011-12. Burkhardt’s partner was ex-Cowboy quarterback Danny White, who still does color for Compass.
The Dolphins have a 22-13 record on FOX.
The Cowboys are 116-108 on FOX, including playoffs.
The Cowboys are 18-18 against the AFC on FOX.
JEFF TRIPLETTE FACTS
This week’s referee is Jeff Triplette, who has been an NFL referee since 2000. His last called Cowboys game was the 27-23 win over the Vikings on Nov. 3, 2013. The Cowboys own a 4-7 record when Triplette referees their games. Here are the results:
2000 – SF, 24-41 – L
2000 – @Ravens, 0-27 – L
2001 – SD, 21-32 – L
2004 – @NYG, 24-28 – L
2007 – @NYG, 31-20 – W
2008 – @WAS, 14-10 – W
2009 – @GB, 7-17 – L
2010 – Titans, 27-34 – L
2010 – @Cardinals, 26-27 – L
2012 – PHI, 38-33 – W
2013 – MIN, 27-23 – W
The Dallas Cowboys have won the penalty battle 3/11 times with Jeff Triplette:
2000 – SF: 8/94; DAL: 5/62
2000 – Ravens: 6/55; DAL: 3/15
2001 – SD: 3/57; DAL: 3/27
2004 – NYG: 3/25; DAL: 6/93
2007 – NYG: 8/70; DAL: 10/84
2008 – WAS: 2/10; DAL: 5/40
2009 – GB: 12/100; DAL: 10/67
2010 – Titans: 4/40; DAL: 12/133
2010 – Cardinals: 6/43; DAL: 7/49
2012 – PHI: 1/5; DAL: 7/60
2013 – MIN: 4/35; DAL: 5/45
Triplette is in the middle of the pack in terms of home team winning percentage:
Bill Vinovich: 1.000
Walt Coleman: .667
Ed Hochuli: .667
Ron Torbert: .667
Carl Cheffers: .625
Carl Cheffers: .625
Jerome Boger: .556
John Parry: .555
Gene Steratore: .555
Jeff Triplette: .555
Terry McAulay: .555
Pete Morelli: .500
Tony Corrente: .375
Brad Allen: .375
Craig Wrolstad: .375
Clete Blakeman: .333
Walt Anderson: .285
John Hussey: .222
Triplette has the fourth-highest percentage of the home team having fewer penalties:
Brad Allen: .875
Craig Wrolstad: .750
Terry McAulay: .667
Jeff Triplette: .625
Walt Anderson: .571
Carl Cheffers: .563
John Parry: .555
Ed Hochuli: .444
Clete Blakeman: .444
Bill Vinovich: .444
Ron Torbert: .444
Jerome Boger: .444
Tony Corrente: .375
Pete Morelli: .375
Gene Steratore: .333
Walt Coleman: .222
John Hussey: .222
Triplette has the second-most sacks per game in 2015:
Walt Anderson: 5.9
Jeff Triplette: 5.4
Terry McAulay: 5.1
Clete Blakeman: 5
Ron Torbert: 5
Walt Coleman: 4.7
Ed Hochuli: 4.7
Tony Corrente: 4.6
Gene Steratore: 4.6
Carl Cheffers: 4.6
John Hussey: 4.6
Pete Morelli: 4.3
John Parry: 4.3
Craig Wrolstad: 4
Jerome Boger: 3.8
Brad Allen: 3.3
Bill Vinovich: 3.2
Triplette is also tied for the most offensive holding calls per game:
Jeff Triplette: 4.4
Jerome Boger: 4.4
John Parry: 4.3
Terry McAulay: 4
Craig Wrolstad: 3.9
Carl Cheffers: 3.9
Tony Corrente: 3.8
John Hussey: 3.6
Walt Anderson: 3.3
Pete Morelli: 3.1
Ed Hochuli: 3
Walt Coleman: 2.9
Clete Blakeman: 2.9
Brad Allen: 2.6
Bill Vinovich: 2.4
Gene Steratore: 2.1
The Dolphins are 11-10 when Triplette referees their games. Here are the results:
1999 – Titans, 17-0 – W
2000 – Ravens, 19-6 – W
2000 – @DET, 23-8 – W
2000 – Colts, 23-17 – W-OT
2001 – @NE, 13-20 – L
2002 – DET, 49-21 – W
2002 – SD, 30-3 – W
2003 – @NYG, 23-10 – W
2004 – @BUF, 13-20 – L
2004 – @SF, 24-17 – W
2006 – MIN, 24-20 – W
2007 – @PIT, 0-3 – L
2008 – @KC, 38-31 – W
2009 – @BUF, 14-31 – L
2010 – BUF, 14-17 – L
2011 – @SD, 16-26 – L
2012 – @BUF, 14-19 – L
2013 – @TB, 19-22 – L
2014 – KC, 15-34 – L
2014 – @DEN, 39-36 – L
2015 – @Titans, 38-10 – W
Miami has had fewer penalties than their opponents 9/21 times with Triplette:
1999 – Titans: 2/19; MIA: 5/40
2000 – Ravens: 4/20; MIA: 6/38
2000 – DET: 5/40; MIA: 7/62
2000 – Colts: 1/10; MIA: 7/55
2001 – NE: 7/75; MIA: 9/67
2002 – DET: 6/68; MIA: 4/54
2002 – SD: 6/41; MIA: 7/70
2003 – NYG: 5/35; MIA: 6/50
2004 – BUF: 7/60; MIA: 3/21
2004 – SF: 6/58; MIA: 7/50
2006 – MIN: 6/49; MIA: 5/40
2007 – PIT: 3/30; MIA: 4/19
2008 – KC: 5/46; MIA: 2/15
2009 – BUF: 3/20; MIA: 6/50
2010 – BUF: 5/44; MIA: 4/35
2011 – SD: 8/80; MIA: 2/41
2012 – BUF: 11/100; MIA: 6/69
2013 – TB: 9/70; MIA: 4/70
2014 – KC: 4/23; MIA: 6/65
2014 – DEN: 9/98; MIA: 6/50
2015 – Titans: 7/50; MIA: 9/97
The Cowboys are 4/5 on challenges under Triplette while opponents are 3/5. Replay Assistant is 1/4 with three of those decisions favoring the Cowboys.
The Dolphins are 1/7 with Triplette on challenges while the opposition is 0/8. Replay Assistant is 2/11 with four of those decisions benefiting Miami.
Triplette is a part of the comical part of NFL lore. On 12/19/99, his ball-bearing filled penalty flag hit Cleveland Brown tackle Orlando Brown in the eye, an injury that forced him out of the NFL for three seasons.
Jeff Triplette also refereed the 9/24/2000 match between the Cowboys and 49ers where wide receiver Terrell Owens celebrated on the midfield star at Texas Stadium twice.
Jeff Triplette is a Persian Gulf War veteran and earned the Bronze Star with the North Carolina Army National Guard.
Cowboys running back Darren McFadden has never been a part of beating Miami, going 0-4 in the process. His career average is 2.3 yards per carry and has a 7.6 yards per reception.
McFadden only averaged 1.9 yards per carry last week, tied for the 10th-worst yards per carry of his career. 6/10 of those other dismal performances occurred in his first three seasons.
The first time tight end Jason Witten played against Miami was on Thanksgiving Day 2003 in a 40-21 loss. Rookie Witten caught eight passes for 58 yards as teammate and future Dolphins head coach Dan Campbell wasn’t even targeted.
In his career, Witten has helped the Cowboys to a 2-1 record over Miami. On average, he catches five passes for 42 yards.
The Dolphins are 1/8 NFL teams against whom Witten has not scored a touchdown.
On Opening Day, Witten was targeted nine times, catching eight passes for 60 yards and two touchdowns. Coincidentally, that was Romo’s last full game.
Dez Bryant hasn’t caught 10 passes since Sept. 14, 2014 at Tennessee when he caught 10 balls for 103 yards and a touchdown.
The last time Bryant played the Dolphins, Thanksgiving Day 2011, he had three catches for 35 yards, though he did return a punt 20 yards to setup Romo’s final drive that culminated in Dan Bailey’s 28-yard field goal to defeat Miami 20-19.
Cowboys defensive end Jeremy Mincey has only played one game against Miami despite being a Jacksonville Jaguar from 2007-13. On Dec. 16, 2012, he recorded one sack against Tannehill.
The Dolphins offense leads the NFL with 250 yards lost in sacks.
Miami running back Lamar Miller’s 85-yard touchdown run against the Texans on Oct. 25 is the longest run of the year in the NFL.
Miller’s five rushing touchdowns are tied with eight other players for the fifth-most rushing touchdowns this season.
Dolphins receiver Jarvis Landry has 1,147 all-purpose yards this season, second only to Antonio Brown’s 1,276 for the most in the NFL.
Miami punter Matt Darr is tied with Indianapolis’ Pat McAfee for most yards per punt with 48.6
Despite blowing out his Achilles on Oct. 29 against New England, Dolphins linebacker Cameron Wake is still tied for the fifth-most sacks in the league with seven.
With Wake out of the lineup, the Dolphins sacks per game actually increased from two to 3.5.
Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh’s four sacks through the first nine games is the second-worst start of his career.
Though never touching Romo in the regular season, Suh dropped Romo twice in last year’s wildcard playoffs when Suh was with Detroit. Dallas still prevailed 24-20.
The Cowboys have not lost in the state of Florida since 2006 when the Jacksonville Jaguars defeated Dallas 24-17. They are currently on a three-game winning streak.
The Cowboys are 12-13 since 2006 against Texas High School quarterbacks.
Dolphins defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo hasn’t been a defensive coordinator since 1992-94 when he was with the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.
The last time the Cowboys were unable to win a game without their starting quarterback missing multiple games was 1988 when Kevin Sweeney went 0-2 with incumbent Steve Pelluer out of the lineup.
Joe Vitt is the second (’05 Rams) and fourth (’12 Saints) interim head coach to have defeated the Cowboys. Only Pat Peppler (’76 Falcons) and Jim Haslett (’08 Rams) can claim to have beaten Dallas as interim head coaches.
Since 1996, Dallas and Miami have faced each other five times, and in all five encounters either the Dolphins or the Cowboys have had a different head coach than the last time they faced each other.
6/10 of the Dolphins head coaches have been ex-Cowboys whether as head coaches (Jimmy Johnson), assistants (Dave Wannstedt, Jim Bates, Tony Sparano, Todd Bowles), or players (Dan Campbell).
The Cowboys hold an 8-6 on 11/22. Here are the results:
1964 – @WAS, 16-28 – L
1970 – @WAS, 45-21 – W
1973 – MIA, 7-14 – L
1979 – Oilers, 24-30 – L
1981 – WAS, 24-10 – W
1984 – NE, 20-17 – W
1987 – MIA, 14-20 – L
1990 – WAS, 27-17 – W
1992 – @Cardinals, 16-10 – W
1998 – SEA, 30-22 – W
2001 – DEN, 24-26 – L
2007 – NYJ, 34-3 – W
2009 – WAS, 7-6 – W
2012 – WAS, 31-38 – L
The Cowboys have seven birthdays to celebrate on Nov. 22, including that of defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford, who turns 26 Sunday:
Don McIhenny, RB, 1960-61 – 11/22/1934
Steve Deossie, LB, 1984-88 – 11/22/1962
Mike Zentic, C, 1987 – 11/22/1963
Darryl Hardy, LB, 1995 & 1997 – 11/22/1968
Ryan Neufeld, TE, 1999 – 11/22/1975
Keith Adams, LB, 2001-02 – 11/22/1979
Tyrone Crawford, DE, 2012-present – 11/22/1989