Most unreliable pants: C’mon, Paul Brown. We know you’re cheap and stubborn, but at least buy your players durable, properly fitting uniforms.
Most inefficient use of playing time: Jon Kitna briefly replaced an injured Tony Romo after the Cowboys’ much maligned quarterback left Dallas’ game against San Francisco with a fractured rib in the first half. Quickly seeking to maximize his playing time, Kitna needed only 10 passing attempts to throw two interceptions.
Oh, and how about this Romo kid? That no good, never clutch, jezebell chasin’ quarterback impersonator. He was pretty good when it mattered today to lead the Cowboys to a 27-24 overtime comeback victory, throwing 292 of his 345 passing yards in the fourth quarter and overtime, and doing it with a busted rib. I suppose that means we’ll join many others and eat a small sampling of crow, although it’s going to take more than just one moment of late-game brilliance against an inferior opponent for Romo to overcome his recent record of flopping.
Any talk of a Kitna “era” reflects a startling and troubling lack of intelligence in Dallas. Barring another injury, there are no circumstances under which a quarterback not named Tony Romo should take a snap for the Cowboys this season. Discussion indicating otherwise is merely a reflection of a desperate fan base grasping at a solution where one isn’t needed.
Worst gambler’s nightmare: During the Cowboys’ first possession of the overtime period against the 49ers Romo immediately connected with an unexpected source for a long, game-clinching play. Jesse Holley ran 77 yards down the field and pulled a Kevin Dyson, reaching and struggling as he crawled towards the end zone before being hauled down by Donte Whitner at the one-yard line. In reality, this was clearly a tremendous play if you’re a Cowboys supporter. Romo’s pass and Holley’s long scamper set up the game-winning field goal, and the Cowboys avoided an embarrassing loss to a weak opponent.
But football isn’t played entirely in reality. In Vegas and in the darkest, most gambling-addicted corners of the Interwebs there’s a whole different reality, one where the final score and the winner is irrelevant, and all that matters is the spread, which favored the Cowboys by three.
Holley was one yard away from a major pay day for a major segment of the population. Instead the outcome was a push, and nothingness.
Best red head: When Andy Dalton took control of a Bengals team going through a nasty divorce with its long-time quarterback, his odds for success were minimal. With the exception of Cedric Benson, the upside and promise at the rest of the offensive skill positions is matched only by inexperience and youth. Tight end Jermaine Gresham is in just his second year, and A.J. Green is an electric rookie who played in only his second regular season game this week. This team is brimming with both offensive potential and opportunities for inconsistency as growth occurs and mistakes are made.
That’s why even though it came in a loss, Dalton’s performance today against Denver is even more remarkable, and any time a rookie quarterback throws for 332 yards and two touchdowns it’s pretty remarkable. He completed 65.8 percent of his passes, and started to demonstrate a connection with Green, who had 10 receptions for 124 yards. This all came after a week in which Dalton was limited in practice and missed half of Cincinnati’s Week 1 loss because of a wrist injury.
Sure, Denver was playing without defensive end and premier pass-rusher Elvis Dumervil, and Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey, absences that helped Dalton’s cause. But regardless of Denver’s injury woes, between Dalton and Cam Newton we’ve now seen rookie quarterbacks combine for 1,267 passing yards through two weeks.
That’s just not supposed to happen in this league. Then again, maybe it is, with pass defense now becoming some foreign concept found only deep in the bowels of Canton through indecipherable hyroglifics.