Upon Further Review

Life is sometimes unfair. This isn't ground breaking news to anyone that inhabits this spinning globe, I'm sure. So when I was called to do the only permissible four letter word uttered in Sunday Services over the weekend, I took it on the chin and went to work. And missed the Cowboys game.

Yet life does have a way of compensating those that sacrifice for the greater good. Someone videotaped the game for me. Which allowed me to review each play as it unfolded and make notes. A convenience that Mike Martz, the head coach of the St. Louis Rams, wishes he had today.

St. Louis is a team with teeth. They have so many weapons it's amazing the Greatest Show On Turf hasn't scored 100 points in a previous contest over the last three years. Surely the lowly Cowboys, the joke of the NFC East these days, would call in sick when faced with the Warner Faulk scoring machine.

But Paul Tagluabuie's ugly red-headed stepchild that goes by the name parity reared its offensive little head. And if Dallas could utter a phrase made famous by Ali, they would be screaming, "I shocked the world," as they took the 13-10 victory from Goliath.

Quincy Carter again put on a very subtle showcase of his true ability as a quarterback in the NFL. He was accurate and took what the defense would give him. He played within the game plan and save for one errant pass deep in Rams territory, he was flawless in his delivery.

We could very well be watching the coming of age of the next franchise quarterback in a Dallas uniform. While he still makes poor decisions at times, he has settled into an offense that has no running game when Emmitt Smith is on the field and still moves the offense. One has to wonder what he will be like when he has a full compliment of receivers that catch and runners that make positive yardage.

The stumbling blocks on Sunday came in the form of penalties, little to no ground game, and receivers that dropped passes. Not much help for a quarterback playing in his 12th start in the NFL. Yet with all these lemons, Quincy made lemonade by posting 26 for 36 and a completion rate of 72.2.

Troy Hambrick dashed off 40 yards on a whopping 6.7 per carry. Emmitt had a terrific 30-yard run and gashed the Rams for a couple of nice 5-yard spurts. The rest of his day amounted to 10 carries for 18 yards.

As the game neared critical mass, Hambrick was on the field and Emmitt watched. An undeniable statement by Bruce Coslet that records are fantastic for the organization but W's are more important on Sunday. As it should be, I might add.

Antonio Bryant's two dropped passes could be chalked up to rookie mistakes. He will hold on to the ball when he becomes accustomed to the head hunters of the NFL. He is maturing into something special but needs to percolate a few games more before he is through cooking.

But Darnay Scott's drop on a slant from Carter was caused solely by hearing the proverbial footsteps of Adam Archuleta, the strong safety of the Rams. This team has minimal talent to overcome the bobbles and fumbles of veterans such as Galloway and Scott. Both of which had their share of miscues on Sunday.

Mike Zimmer's defense was superb. The Rams played the same game plan as the Eagles the week before. Keep an extra blocker in and stymie the front four of the Cowboys. Yet Zimmer threw caution to the wind and blitzed from every angle to give the Rams signal caller fits.

The second series produced a devastating hit by Roy Lee Williams, the newest sledge hammer in silver and blue, causing Kurt Warner to fold like a card table at the end of Bingo night. The result was less than WWF, but with a broken pinkie, Warner became a spectator.

Insert Jamie Martin as the number one target of La'Roi's Legion. The eight year pro out of Weber State, the Mecca of college football, was harassed and hammered all day long. His gusty performance included 24 completions out of 37 tosses for 262 yards, and picking himself off the turf after every pass. After all this is the Rams offense. A juggernaut that could produce points if the geriatric Bob Hope were calling the signals.

Yet with all that yardage the Rams could only muster 10 points going into the last 4 minutes of the contest.

After a nice drive left the Rams facing 3rd and 3 on the Dallas 25 yard line, Mike Martz, the unofficial offensive guru of the NFL, called for a pass. A fitting end for the back-up Martin to gain the first down and work the clock for a last second field goal and victory.

Mike Zimmer had other thoughts and blitzed Roy Williams from the left side. Greg Ellis, second in sacks in the entire league took an inside move when the tackle hesitated on William's outside rush and sacked Martin for a 6 yard loss.

Jeff Wilkins, the Rams field goal specialist, could have ended this charming little play by splitting the uprights and seizing the day. The ball clanged off the right post and the Cowboys, like an alley cat, had more than one life left.

Quincy had his finest moment as a Cowboy in the last 1:27 of the game. His drive, manufactured with several harrowing moments, including his diving for a first down to keep possession was pure brilliance.

With less than 8 seconds left the Cowboys were on the Rams 35-yard line. They needed another 5 yards to guarantee they were within Billy Cundiff's range. A quick pass over the middle to Ken-Yon Rambo was a call by Coslet that required major league guts. With 2 seconds left the Cowboys rushed into formation and Quincy spiked a ball to stop the clock.

What made this possible was heads-up action by rookie center Andre Gurode. As the Rams had Rambo under a pile, Gurode flung the defensive players off his teammate so they could reset the offense in time. This was a critical event that culminated in Cundiff's 48-yard game winner.

September has ended with the team enjoying a .500 record. While there are issues the Cowboys faces on a weekly basis, they seems to play hard and not quit. Inexperienced players are producing, albeit with the inconsistency expected of such tender years. Yet there is something in the way they move, as Paul was apt to say, or was that George?

In any event the Cowboys are getting better as each game passes. And a young quarterback that takes on 300-pounders on Sunday and 800-pound gorilla journalist the rest of the week is starting to look like a real find.

But if life is unfair, and we all agree. There are times when stars align and giants fall to the weak. Moments when, ‘what goes around, comes around,' as they say. When the little guy wins out.

Last Sunday underscored this very fact with a Cowboys victory and a little video tape.

CowboysHQ Top Stories