Of 'Borat,' Bond And The 'Boys

IRVING, Texas -- "Borat,'' Bond and the 'Boys -- what a weekend of life-lesson-enhanced entertainment I just experienced!

I took in two hot movies and one hot football game and learned numerous lessons. For instance, I learned of Borat's pride over the fact that his sister is the No. 4 prostitute in all of Kazakhstan. I learned that a villain is especially if his tear duct produces blood. I learned that actor Sacha Baron Cohen is everything Andy Kaufman dreamed of being and that actor Daniel Craig is 007 channeled through Steve McQueen.

And on Sunday at Texas Stadium, by virtue of Dallas' 21-14 victory, I learned that we still have much to learn about the Cowboys. And, for that matter, about the no-longer-unbeaten Indianapolis Colts.

What I thought about Cowboys-Colts going in -- and more importantly, how some of that thinking must now be reviewed:

INDY'S RECENT CLOSE GAMES WERE POSITIVES FOR THEM, NOT NEGATIVES - Seven of Indy?s nine straight wins had come by seven points or less. I didn't think that was an indictment of the Colts; rather, I believed that close wins at Denver and at New England were badges of honor that would steel Indianapolis for more situations like that. But with four snaps in close late in the fourth quarter and a chance to tie, Peyton Manning found nothing, nothing, nothing and nothing. And then, Indy's defense was in a position to befuddle Tony Romo -- and instead, he kept piling up impressive numbers, ending 19-of-23 for 226 yards.

Maybe this outcome means we award a badge of honor to the suddenly steeled Cowboys.

MIKE VANDERJAGT WILL RISE TO THE OCCASION - Former the Colts' "Drunk Idiot Kicker,'' he's now your guy. And for all his blustery confidence. ... he's officially a flop, having missed both his FG tries in this game. He can "unflop'' himself as early as next week, of course. But the big-moneyed "all-time great'' is struggling so that coach Bill Parcells and staff now must factor into their playcalling a distrust of their kicker.

THE COLTS CANNOT STOP THE RUN - Coming in, Indy's run defense was the worst in the NFL at an astounding 9.1 yards allowed per carry. In their own ways, Julius Jones (104 yards from scrimmage) and Marion Barber III (two rushing TDs) nibbled away the Colts. And they did so while exhibiting a Dallas strength, which is. ...

THE COWBOYS EAT CLOCK LIKE A FAT KID EATS CAKE - Wow. Dallas topped Indy in virtually every category: Yards per pass (9.4 to 6.0), red-zone efficiency (Indy was 1-of-3, Dallas 2-of-2), rushing (117 to 88), total yards (342 to 335). ... but the fattest number? Time of possession, where the Cowboys -- the No. 6 team in the league coming in -- consumed almost 34 minutes of clock. That is exactly how to draw it up when you design a gameplan to top the Indianapolis Colts. Bravo, Parcells and staff.


Did you know that Indy came into the game having registered just two completions for 40-plus yards, and no runs of more than 21 yards? Nine games in, and while they score 28 points per, and while they can score 'em in a hurry, they do not score them in large chunks. They score by moving the ball efficiently, but found themselves very much disrupted by Dallas' loaded defense. From Roy Williams hitting anything not nailed down to Demarcus Ware being put in position to succeed by coordinator Mike Zimmer's scheme to Terence Newman's solid work on Marvin Harrison to the army of replacements used to fill the Greg Ellis void, the Cowboys handled the supercharged Colts as well as any D has all season.

DALLAS WOULD HAVE TO WIN A HIGH-SCORING GAME - When the Cowboys have lost this year, it was in part because they allowed 24, 38, 36 and 22 points. Meanwhile, Indy figured to reach right around its 28 points-per average.

If you bet the "over,'' you lost a bundle. But you gained some insight into the quality of Dallas' defense -- and probably of its ability to matchup specifically with a team like the Colts.

THE 'MANNING-VS.-ROMO' TALK WAS A JOKE - The future Hall-of-Famer Peyton Manning is the king of the QB Rating. Romo, so green that this was his first start at Texas Stadium, was somehow second in the NFL in QB Rating to Manning. When those numbers were tossed into the same sentence in the last week, it was usually done with a snicker. None of us who failed to believe in Tony Romo are laughing anymore.

Romo simply handled every single situation on Sunday with aplomb. Oh, he underthrew a ball for an interception. But otherwise, the timely use of his mobility (which is substantial), the cleverness required on pump-fakes and dekes (which is supposed to be the sole property of wily vets) and the intangible stuff that clearly causes teammates to rally around him was actually reminiscent of Manning himself.

In summary, it was all an enjoyable learning experience. In my immediate future: a couple more movies, and a lot more trust in the Cowboys' ability to do this again on Thursday and beyond.

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