CINCINNATI (AP) — Dan Bailey’s 40-yard kick went straight through the uprights. The Dallas Cowboys had won an important game on a last-second field goal.
They weren’t sure how to react.
Numb. Grieving. Distracted. The Cowboys were all those things on Sunday, dealing with the death of one teammate and the tribulations of another.
Winners, too, though they hardly felt like it.
Bailey’s kick gave Dallas a 20-19 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals that ended a tough afternoon with the Cowboys’ playoff chances enhanced and their heads full of so many thoughts.
“You think about everything,” quarterback Tony Romo said. “Like I said, it’s a roller coaster of emotions. I don’t know what’s right; I don’t know what’s wrong. I don’t know what you’re supposed to feel.
“It’s a hard, hard situation we’re in. There’s no playbook for this sort of thing in life.”
With a late comeback on Sunday, they got a momentary reprieve from their grieving.
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 released from jail on Sunday in Texas about an hour after the game ended. He’s charged with intoxication manslaughter.
The Cowboys (7-6) learned about Brown’s death during their flight to Cincinnati on Saturday. Coach Jason Garrett told his team that the best way to honor him was to play well in a game with playoff implications for both teams.
One of the visitors’ metal lockers at Paul Brown Stadium had a strip of white athletic tape with “53 JERRY BROWN” printed on it, 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.
There 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.”
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.”
Owner Jerry Jones described his team as grieving when it took the field. It was the second consecutive week that an NFL team was playing a day after losing a teammate. Last Sunday, Kansas City beat Carolina 27-21 one day after linebacker Jovan Belcher shot his girlfriend and then himself at the Chiefs’ practice complex.
“There was a feeling of numbness on the field,” Garrett said.
The Cowboys salvaged the game by scoring on their last two drives against the Bengals (7-6), who had won four in a row and had a chance to move into position for an AFC wild-card berth with a victory.
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 led the Cowboys in range for Bailey’s winning kick. Romo finished 25 of 43 for 268 yards with a touchdown, an interception and three sacks.
Newcomer Josh Brown kicked field goals of 25, 33, 25 and 52 yards for Cincinnati, which wasted an opportunity to move ahead of Pittsburgh (7-6) for the second AFC wild card.
“They came here in an emotional situation, and you knew they were going to fight all the way,” Bengals offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth said. “That game meant a lot to them. They played great.”
Dallas played a sloppy game until the closing minutes — nothing out of character there — and had a few especially bad moments.
Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan went onto the field and yelled at a Bengals player who had said something toward the Cowboys bench, drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the third quarter. Dallas also was penalized for 12 men on the field during the drive, which ended with Brown’s third field goal and a 16-10 Cincinnati lead.
In the end, a defense that has allowed only three touchdowns in the last four games couldn’t hold on. And the Bengals made it tough on themselves by using all three of their timeouts early in the second half, leaving them unable to stop the clock on Dallas’ final drive.
Dalton was 20 of 33 for 206 yards with five sacks, one touchdown and an interception that Brandon Carr returned 37 yards to set up DeMarco Murray’s 1-yard touchdown dive in the second quarter.
NOTES: Bailey’s game-winner was his second of the season. His 38-yarder beat Cleveland in overtime. It was Bailey’s sixth game-winning FG, second in Cowboys history behind Rafael Septien’s seven. … Bryant caught four passes for 50 yards, leaving him with 1,028 yards for the season. It’s his first 1,000-yard receiving season and the first by a Cowboy since 2009 (Miles Austin and Jason Witten). … Bryant has caught a TD pass in five straight games, the longest streak of his career. … Romo’s 25 completions gave him a club-record 349 for the season. He completed his last 12 throws the previous game and his first five on Sunday, setting a club record with 17 straight completions. … Bengals RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran for 89 yards on 12 carries, breaking his streak of three straight 100-yard games.
Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL
More Related Stories
- Ray Manzarek, founding member of The Doors, dies at 74
- Beware of book blurbs
- Did a Salon excerpt ruin Penn Jillette's chance to win "Celebrity Apprentice"?
- Zach Galifianakis to take formerly homeless woman to "Hangover 3" premiere
- Seth MacFarlane will not host Oscars again
- "SNL's" uncomfortable Garner/Affleck moment
- "Celebrity Apprentice" finale ratings hit a new low
- Worst National Anthem fails
- The truth in Kanye's anti-prison rap
- Stephen Colbert to UVA: "You must always make the path for yourself"
- "Game of Thrones," season 3, episode 8: A salon
- Bieber booed, Miguel falls on fan at Billboard Awards
- "Mad Men" recap: Love, acid and whores. Lots of whores
- Taylor Swift leads Billboard winners
- “Game of Thrones” recap: “We must do our duty”
- "The Unwinding": What's gone wrong with America
- Michael J. Fox wins: The best and worst of the new fall shows
- First look: The Coens' marvelous folk-music odyssey
- New York's most persecuted subway artist?
- James Franco: "I really felt I was in conversation with Faulkner"
- "Jodorowsky's Dune": The sci-fi classic that never was
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11