Instead of giving up hope after being blown out by the Redskins on Thanksgiving, the Cowboys won three in a row and thanks to some help, had a real chance for a NFC East title. And instead of just rolling over Sunday when the Saints took a 31-17 lead, the Cowboys stormed back, only to set up an even more painful loss in overtime.
Dallas is not eliminated from the playoffs. But now it needs to win at Washington next week and get help to make the postseason.
The Cowboys could have made it easier on themselves by beating a Saints team that has been eliminated from the playoffs. Dallas quarterback Tony Romo tried to salvage a win with a late rally.
Romo, who threw for 416 yards, including 224 to Dez Bryant, threw two fourth-quarter touchdowns. His fourth TD of the game came on fourth-and-10 when he hit Miles Austin with 15 seconds left in regulation to tie the contest.
At that point Dallas had all the momentum, but it was just setting up a heartbreaking loss.
The Cowboys won the toss but had to punt on their first possession. Drew Brees moved the Saints into Dallas territory, and then one final punch to the gut was awaiting Cowboys fans. New Orleans receiver Marques Colston caught a short pass and was stripped. The fumble bounded 13 yards forward all the way to Dallas' 2-yard line, and the Cowboys had a chance to recover. But it was fitting that the Saints' Jimmy Graham fell on it instead, to set up a game-winning field goal on the next play.
Dallas could still sneak into the playoffs. After Sunday, Cowboys fans should probably expect the worst.
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