Grieving Cowboys beat Bengals 20-19 on FG
BY JOE KAY Associated Press
Monday, December 10, 2012
12/10/12 at 4:13 AM
CINCINNATI - Numb. Grieving. Distracted. The Dallas Cowboys were all those things on Sunday, dealing with the death of one teammate and the tribulations of another.
Winners, too, although they hardly felt like it.
Dan Bailey kicked a 40-yard field goal as time ran out, sending the Cowboys to a 20-19 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals that ended a tough afternoon with a little bit of relief and their playoff chances enhanced.
Didn't last long, though. There will be a lot more emotional days ahead in Dallas.
"It's a hard, hard situation we're in," quarterback Tony Romo said. "There's no playbook for this sort of thing in life."
The Cowboys overcame a nine-point deficit in the closing minutes behind Romo, who held his hand over his heart during a moment of silence to honor teammate Jerry Brown before the kickoff. The linebacker died in an auto accident early Saturday.
Defensive lineman Josh Brent, who was driving, was charged with intoxication manslaughter.
Instead of starting on Dallas' defensive line when the Cowboys kicked off in Cincinnati on Sunday, he was in a Texas jail. About an hour after the Cowboys secured the victory, a barefooted Brent walked slowly out of the jail in the Dallas suburb of Irving after his release on $500,000 bond. Surrounded by camera crews and reporters, Brent had several patches of missing hair and a bandage wrapped about his right hand.
"Jerry Brown was my very best friend, and I'm just trying to deal with his death right now," Brent said.
The Cowboys (7-6) learned about Brown's death on their flight to Cincinnati on Saturday.
One of the visitors' metal lockers at Paul Brown Stadium had a strip of white athletic tape with "53 JERRY BROWN" attached to the top, a wooden stool inside sitting upside-down. Brown's No. 53 jersey was on the sideline during the game - defensive tackle Jason Hatcher held it up after Bailey's kick decided it.
It wasn't much of a celebration by an emotionally spent team.
"I don't remember crying this much other than maybe the day I was born," defensive lineman Marcus Spears said. "With Josh's situation and Jerry being gone, you felt it."
Some players couldn't keep the tragedy out of their thoughts during the game, finding their minds wandering on the bench.
"I rarely let my emotions get the best of me," fullback Lawrence Vickers said. "Today they did, but this was the place to do it."
It was the second consecutive week that an NFL team was playing a day after losing a teammate. Kansas City beat Carolina 27-21 one day after linebacker Jovan Belcher shot his girlfriend and then himself at the Chiefs' practice complex.
When Bailey's kick ended the game, the Cowboys had a lot of thoughts racing through their heads.
"The last 24 hours has really been something I've never experienced," Romo said. "I think a lot of guys will tell you that. It's just been a roller coaster of emotions."
The Cowboys salvaged the game by scoring on their last two drives against the Bengals (7-6), who had won four in a row.
Romo threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Dez Bryant with 6:35 to go. Anthony Spencer's sack of Andy Dalton forced a punt, and Romo completed four passes on the drive to Bailey's winning kick.
Bailey's game-winner was his second of the season. His 38-yarder beat Cleveland in overtime. It is the sixth game-winning field goal for the former Oklahoma State Cowboy, second in Cowboys history behind Rafael Septien's seven.
Romo finished 25-of-43 for 268 yards with a touchdown, an interception and three sacks. Former Oklahoma star DeMarco Murray converted a third-and-5 play to extend the final drive and ended up with 53 yards on 21 carries.
Original Print Headline: Somber victory
3:25 p.m. Sunday
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Dallas quarterback Tony Romo avoids a sack by Cincinnati defensive tackle Domata Peko during Sunday's game in Cincinnati. TOM UHLMAN / AP
Dallas Cowboys players hang their heads during a moment of silence honoring teammate Jerry Brown, who was killed in an automobile accident Saturday. AL BEHRMAN / Associated Press