Originally posted on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 10/21/12
Well, 3-3 it is. The Dallas Cowboys managed to pull out a hard fought, way-too-close victory over the Carolina Panthers. In what has become their trademark, the Dallas Cowboys controlled most of the game and looked like the better squad throughout. Yet, in some fashion or another, the Dallas Cowboys forced themselves into a come-from-behind situation. Unlike in recent weeks, the Cowboys had enough to recover. 

Early in the game, Dallas was able to move the ball at will. They managed to put together an 18 play, 91 yard drive that ate up over ten minutes of clock. Unfortunately, the drive was stalled at about the two yard line when Miles Austin was unable to find the goal line on 3rd down. 

Carolina's next possession got them into the red zone, but yielded them no points. The Cowboys got their first interception by a cornerback this season when Morris Claiborne plucked an errant toss made by Cam Newton as he was getting hit. The turnover bug proved to be contagious. On the next Dallas drive, Miles Austin was stripped while making his way inside the Carolina 30 yard line. The turnover resulted in a long, efficient Carolina drive, culminating in a touchdown pass to Brandon LaFell. The Cowboys, while dominating most of the first half, found themselves down 7-3 at halftime. 

After trading punts to start the second half, Dallas was finally able to connect on some plays down the field. On 3rd and 9 from their own 38, Romo found Miles up the seam for 36 yards, by far the longest play of the day. The very next play, Romo again found Austin and placed a perfect ball in his hands for a touchdown and the lead. 

When another Dan Bailey field goal made it 13-7, the Panthers took back control. Newton directed a 9 play, 75 yard drive that ended with Mike Tolbert rumbling and bumbling his way into the end zone. It would prove to be the last points that Carolina would put on the board. 

Down by 1, Dallas was forced to punt on their following possession. The Dallas defense was now under pressure. They proved to be up for the occasion, forcing a 3-and-out and getting the ball back in the hands of Romo. #9 played a nice game, not making the game-changing mistake we've seen in recent weeks. He missed a couple of open throws, but for the most part was on point. The following Dallas drive would end with a lead-taking field goal by Bailey, but should've been a touchdown. Dez Bryant dropped a ball in the end zone that needed to be caught. After having two straight big-number games, Bryant only managed two catches for 14 yards (much to the chagrin of fantasy owners, myself included). 

Up by two, the Cowboys defense again stepped up to the challenge. The turning point of the drive came on 4th and two when Newton hiked the ball and completed a short pass for the first down. But, right before the play, the Cowboys called timeout and the play was disallowed. On their following attempt, Newton was stoned by Anthony Spencer and Josh Brent. The turnover on downs proved to be the last good opportunity the Panthers would have. 

With strong starting field position, the Cowboys really only needed one first down to close out the game. They got that in the form of a questionable horse-collar call against the Panthers on Phillip Tanner. The replay showed that the Carolina player clearly grabbed the front of the jersey, not the horse collar. That first down led to another Dan Bailey field goal. The Panthers were unable to muster anything on their final drive, and the last-second hook and ladder failed miserably. 

Overall, it is a win the team desperately needed. It didn't come as easily or nicely as we all had hoped it would, but sometimes that's how it goes. This strange season continues and the Cowboys, despite wildly erratic and occasionally awful play, find themselves at 3-3. 

Oh, and one more thing. It's Giants week. 



Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.
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