The Ravens beat the Cowboys 31-29 on Sunday to improve to 5-1 and extend their winning streak at home to 15 games, but it wasn’t without some serious tension at the end.
The Cowboys cut the lead down to two with a touchdown pass to Dez Bryant with 32 seconds left to play and then recovered an onside kick after another pass to Bryant went through his hands on the two-point try. A pass interference penalty moved the ball into Ravens territory before the Cowboys made some dubious time management choices. With one timeout, the Cowboys threw a short pass to Bryant and then took way too long to get on the ball to spike it. That meant they had to use their timeout and Dan Bailey had a 51-yard field goal try to win the game.
He missed, obviously, and the Ravens survived on a day when their defense did not play a very good game. They gave up 227 rushing yards even though DeMarco Murray didn’t return to the game after hurting his foot in the second quarter. They had trouble tackling Murray, Felix Jones, Phillip Tanner and Lance Dunbar and the issues were not specific to any one player. Everyone struggled and the Ravens were fortunate that they got help on offense and special teams.
Jacoby Jones tied an NFL record with an 108-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the third quarter while Joe Flacco threw for 234 yards and Ray Rice gained 106 overall to keep the team’s defensive woes from overwhelming the team. Things bogged down a bit in the third quarter offensively, but Flacco was able to lead a 10-play drive culminating in a Rice touchdown to give the Ravens a eight-point lead in the fourth.
Tony Romo almost brought the Cowboys back, but they wound up falling just short. Blaming the Bryant drop or the time management snafu for that is tempting, but there were penalties and a costly first half interception that kept Dallas from putting up enough points to make a last-ditch comeback effort unnecessary.