Dolphins at Cowboys: Five Things We Learned

by Philip Bijeau
CHFF Miami Beat Writer

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo was more elusive than a wild turkey on Thanksgiving Day. The hungry Miami Dolphins were hunting him and had Romo in their sights several times, only to see him fly away. The Dolphins never gave up, but lost a close game 20-19 to a superior foe with a home field advantage.

1. The Dolphins' offense twice failed to bag Romo in the first quarter.

Three minutes into game, Miami CB Vontae Davis intercepted Romo on the Miami 17-yard line and returned it 25 yards. Miami's offense ran three plays and punted. With 4:46 left in the first quarter, CB Sean Smith intercepted Romo at the Dallas 25-yard line. Miami's offense reached the Dallas 8-yard line and settled for a field goal. QB Matt Moore was 1 of 3 for two yards, recovered his own fumble and then got sacked to end a drive. The Dolphins' offense had the opportunity to carve up the Cowboys early, but their knife wasn't sharp enough. The Dolphins' offense had only three points to show for two Romo turnovers.

2. The Dolphins' offense sharpened up the carving knife in the second quarter, then proceeded to cut themselves with it.

With their first possesion, the Dolphins drove from their 11-yard line to the Cowboys' 21. Moore took an 8-yard sack on third down and the Dolphins tried a field goal, ...and Shayne Graham missed! Five minutes later, the Cowboys tied the game with a field goal after failing  to get into the end zone from the Miami 14-yard line. With one minute left in the half, Moore fumbled the shotgun snap at the Miami 19-yard line and it was recovered by the Cowboys at the Miami 5-yard line. Romo threw a touchdown pass on the next play to stake the Cowboys to a 10-3 lead.

With 55 seconds left, KR Clyde Gates returned it 35 yards to the Miami 44-yard line. Moore was sharp, taking the Dolphins to the Dallas 10-yard line. Again, the Dolphins had to settle for a field goal, cutting the Dallas lead to 10-6 at the half.

3. Miami's defense kept the game close.

Miami's defense started the game by forcing the Cowboys to go INT, punt, INT, punt, FG, punt, TD. The Dallas field goal came after a Miami missed field goal. The Cowboys got a touchdown from the Moore fumble recovered at the Miami 5-yard line. The Dolphins' defense limited Romo to 3-7, 32 yards, 1 TD and 2 INTs in the first half.

4. The Dolphins' offense scored points in the second half, just not enough.

Moore stepped it up going 10-17, 221 yards, 1 TD. The Dolphins wasted another red zone opportunity when they settled for a field goal after a first down at the Dallas 3-yard line. Moore made key throws over the top of the Cowboys' defense to put the Dolphins up 19-17 with 4:47 left in the game.

5. Romo's elusiveness frustrated a determined Miami defense.

It became a shootout as Romo put up 13-18, 144 yards, and 1 TD. Facing heavy pressure from the Dolphins' defense, Romo repeatedly eluded the rush and found his receivers for positive yardage. All the Dolphins got for their relentless effort was a handful of feathers. Miami hit Romo 7 times with only one sack. Romo directed a late, game-ending drive with the Cowboys kicking the winning field goal. Dallas 20-17 over the Dolphins.

Dolphins fans have nothing to hang their heads about. The AFC East club played hard for 60 minutes and came up short against a better team, even though the oportunities were there to carve Dallas up like a Thanksgiving turkey. Dolphins fans should take notes on the large turnout and  raucous support that the Cowboys got from their fans from beginning to end. The Dolphins weren't ever in the playoff picture, but they can spoil it for others with their five remaining games.