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Ravens Crash Cowboys Party; 33-24

The night was supposed to belong to the storied franchise of the Dallas Cowboys. A celebration of the players and championships of the past. Dallas fans had hoped for one more night to add to their collection of memories as they make their own push towards the playoffs.

But, the invited guests to this gathering had other plans.

An exceptional effort from the defense, a double tough wide receiver, and an offense that shook off it’s recent touchdown drought were the keys in closing out Texas Stadium with a crucial win.

Early on, it was a game that had a familiar feel to last week’s loss to the Steelers as both defenses were on the display. The Ravens forced Tony Romo into some poor decisions as Ed Reed picked him off twice to tie for the league lead with seven. The Cowboys used a turnover of their own to be able to send Tashard Choice into the end zone. However, Dallas native Matt Stover booted three field goals and at the break it was 9-7 Baltimore.

The game continued it’s back and forth feel until a gamble by the Ravens payed off nicely as holder Sam Koch scampered nine yards off a fake field goal attempt in the third quarter. The first down set up a Joe Flacco strike to Derrick Mason from 13 yards to put Baltimore up 16-7.

Mason, who has been suffering from shoulder issues since Week 10 would not be denied. He had been removed from the game at least three times, only to return and make an important play. He finished with 6 catches for 66 yards to lead the team. His toughness was inspiring and it seemed to signal to everyone that the Ravens weren’t going away either.

After both teams exchanged field goals again the last four minutes made for exciting television. Tony Romo awoke from his struggles and found Terrell Owens in the corner for a score and trimmed the lead to 19-17 to give the Dallas faithful some hope.

On the first play from scrimmage Willis McGahee ripped through the middle of the stacked line for a 77 yard touchdown run to put the Ravens back up 26-17.

Romo responded right back and hit his favorite target Jason Witten for a 21 yard touchdown score with 1:36 remaining. Now it was 26-24.

Dallas then decided not to go for the onsides kick and had Nick Folk boot it long. Wade Phillips must have figured that the Ravens couldn’t drive the field again.

It was a bad move. This time it was Le’Ron McClain’s turn as on the first play called he stiff armed a Dallas defender to his own 82 yd TD rumble that closed the door on the rally.

The win for the Ravens was a big one in many ways and it sets them up for a home finale against Jacksonville.Very simple, they win and they are in the playoffs. Dallas will need some help to get in at this point and if they don’t it will surely be a disappointment to a team that was picked by many to go to the Super Bowl.

Points to Ponder

-I will call myself out in my own post. On the podcast I called for a low scoring Ravens win and the more I thought about it as I wrote the preview logic took over and I couldn’t possibly see them being able to do it. I apologize that I buckled in a moment of weakness. Baltimore showed me and the national stage.

-I’ve come to the conclusion that Derrick Mason is a cyborg. His performance can’t be described as he was led off the field and then he’d return to make an important catch. His leadership and toughness can not be questioned on the offensive side of the ball.

-So much for the Ravens being too conservative as the Fake field goal was a perfect call that led to snap the touchdown drought. Even if it didn’t work the Cowboys would have still taken over in their own territory. To win big games you must take chances and that’s what I thought was missing last week. When you play not to make a mistake you often do.

-Sam Koch might be the player of the game. His run off the fake attempt was important but check this out. 5 punts – 52.2 average – 2 inside the 20. Field position was important and he’s the reason why.

-Anyone figure out yet why Joe Flacco plays better on the road? QB rating of 96.9, one touchdown throw and stayed poised even though Dallas dumped him for 5 sacks. In a few years this guy will be scary good.

-If you like blocking please rewatch the game and just watch Lorenzo Neal. The guy still hammers would be tacklers and is a big reason for the running game’s success.

-I like the idea of the NFL network but please you need better announcers. Bob Papa wasn’t bad in a generic announcer type of way. Deion Sanders and Marshall Faulk took turns topping each other with little insight and chuckles and gaffaws all over themselves. I’m still laughing a bit at the sight of Ray Lewis chest bumping Warren Sapp and Sterling Sharpe after the big win. You won’t see that on any other network.


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