Bouncing from the Bottom of the Barrel

Sometimes in life, you think you've hit the bottom of the barrel -- only to realize that you are just in the process of bouncing down a staircase on the WAY to the bottom of that barrel.

That is certainly the case this weekend for former Cowboys quarterback Quincy Carter, whose step-by-step decline included:

STEP 5: Being arrested on a drug charge.

STEP 4: Being unable to scrape up the 500 bucks in bail money.

STEP 3: Suffering the humiliation of having to accept said bail money from a member of the hated Fourth Estate, DFW columnist Randy Galloway.

STEP 2: Suffering the greater humilation of having his full name revealed to be "Lavonya Quintelle Carter."

And finally, that barrel's bottom:

STEP 1: Getting out of jail in time to think he was going to watch the Cowboys-at-Atlanta game. ... and then realizing that he, like most of the rest of the planet, doesn't get the NFL Network at his crib.

America missed a helluva game involving America's Team. The sitting heir to the QB throne that Quincy once turned into a toilet, Tony Romo, was pivotal in leading the Cowboys to a massive 38-28 road win.

Through it all, Dallas had to endure a span -- start of the second quarter to first possession of the second half -- when another mercurial quarterback, Michael Vick, twice erased Cowboys' leads, led the Falcons to four TDs on four consecutive possessions, and dug Dallas a 28-21 hole.

"If we are going to be in a shootout every week, we aren't going very far," said InfalliBill, and he might be right about "every week.'' But he was wrong about "this week'' -- because a shootout is what it was.

Give credit to the Falcons' quality-control department/scouting department; to the layman, it seems that every single thing New Orleans did to bury Dallas a week ago was repeated by Atlanta. Somehow, the Falcons generally destroyed Anthony Henry and the secondary, sneakily utilized a previously silent fullback, tried trickery by installing a two-QB set with Matt Schaub under center and Vick as the tailback, and easily erased the Cowboys' quick 14-0 lead.

Sound familiar?

Fortunetely, the Dallas defense provided an occasional highlight -- DeMarcus Ware picked off a screen pass and breezed 41 yards for a score to open the second quarter -- until the end of the game. At which time, after having hit the bottom of their own barrel, they bounced back up. Atlanta made a late push, and was at the Dallas 37 with a third-and-1. Chris Canty -- InfalliBill's latest whipping post -- plugged up the Falcons' run for no gain.

On fourth down, the Falcons threw to Ashley Lelie, one of the many Atlanta receivers who catch balls with such inconsistency that I wonder if they even possess opposable thumbs. Lelie dropped what would've been a 10-yard gain because Henry -- who almost certainly would have otherwise been DFW's latest whipping post, at least for a week -- popped Lelie into an incompletion.

From the bottom of the barrel back to the top of the heap. That's how it works in today's NFL, so now the 9-5 Cowboys again seem a lock for an NFC East title and a playoff berth. I mean, they close with holiday home games against Philadelphia and Detroit. ... I know anything can happen (who would ever think a parent would name a baby boy "Lavonya Quintelle Carter''?). ... but for the Cowboys, there is no justification for a re-visit to that barrel.

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