Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 12/9/12
One of the most maddening things about Jason Garrett may have been a source of strength to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. Garrett's message on a day-to-day basis can be frustratingly repetitive, but I believe that approach played a large role in the Cowboys' come-from-behind 20-19 win in Cincinnati on Sunday. The Cowboys had to play a game following one of the most unthinkable tragedies in the history of the organization. A member of the club's practice squad, Jerry Brown, was killed in a single-car accident in the early hours of Saturday morning, and his former college teammate and Cowboys nose tackle Josh Brent is in jail on charges of intoxication manslaughter. Garrett informed players of Brown's passing moments before the team charter departed for Cincinnati on Saturday afternoon. In that context, a game against a talented AFC opponent seemed incredibly insignificant, but also unavoidable. You hear people talking about teams rallying around tragic circumstances, but that sounds extremely trite to me. Garrett simply asked his players to focus on their jobs and play to best of their ability. And the result was an improbable win that has the Cowboys (7-6) in the thick of the playoff race. Next week's opponent, Pittsburgh, was manhandled Sunday by a San Diego Chargers team that's no longer in the playoff picture. Garrett kept his cool in the second half against the Bengals even while defensive coordinator Rob Ryan was losing his mind. Ryan was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct after a verbal altercation with Bengals offensive tackle Andre Brown. And then the Cowboys were penalized again on the drive for having 12 men on the field. That the Cowboys were able to hold the Bengals to a field goal on the drive was a minor miracle, and it allowed them to remain within striking distance. I'm not sure how Garrett kept his composure as Ryan continued to embarrass himself on that drive. Even when Bryant caught a touchdown pass to trim the Bengals lead to 19-17 in the fourth quarter, it was hard to imagine Ryan's defense rising to the occasion. But Anthony Spencer's second sack of the game (8.5 on the season) ensured the Cowboys would at least have decent field position on what turned out to be their final drive. We've seen Garrett freeze at the end of games before, but on Sunday he was aggressive when he needed to be. And fortunately for the Cowboys, a courageous run by DeMarco Murray kept the drive alive and ensured the Bengals wouldn't have time for a last-minute rally. For once, it's the opposing coach who will be ripped for poor game management based on having to burn all three timeouts earlier in the half. I don't think winning this game guarantees that Garrett will return to the Cowboys next season, but it certainly gives him more credibility within the walls of Valley Ranch. It was a completely different situation, but we all remember how he took over a 1-7 Cowboys team in 2010 and immediately pulled off an upset over the Giants in the Meadowlands. On Saturday, he had to break the awful news that a member of the Cowboys family had been tragically killed and that another teammate's life had been altered forever. It's something that no coach wants to do, but Garrett's probably better-suited than most. The Cowboys honored the memory of their fallen teammate by bringing his jersey to the field. And after Dan Bailey's 40-yard field goal sailed through the uprights, defensive end Jason Hatcher could be seen holding Brown's No. 53 jersey above his head while hugging Garrett. We've looked closely over the past few weeks to see if Garrett's lost this team in any manner. But it was more obvious than ever Sunday that his players are responding to him. In the aftermath of an awful tragedy, playing an NFL game seems so trivial. But for a little more than three hours, it probably offered players sanctuary from their profound sense of loss. It was Garrett who set the tone.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Jerry Jones kneels with players prior to anthem, later stands

Jim Harbaugh wants Big Ten to address ‘unsportsmanlike’ opposing locker rooms

Yasiel Puig to play Tuesday after being benched two games

The strangest, oddest, most ridiculous developments of NFL Week 3

LeBron on Irving trade: I was ready to give him the keys

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Josh Norman to Raiders WRs: ‘Do not run your mouth’

WATCH: Dez Bryant drags half of Arizona’s defense into end zone

Marcus Smart lost a lot of weight in offseason to become more athletic

Report: Bucs LB Lavonte David week-to-week with ankle sprain

These ‘Jeopardy!’ contestants had no clue on NFL questions

Von Miller advertisement pulled after anthem protest

After Carmelo Anthony trade, the Western Conference looks completely different

The 'Celebrations are afoot in Philadelphia' quiz

Getaway Day: Closing time on 2017 regular season

Sports & Politics Intersect: Mayor Garcetti rolls back the NFL red carpet

The 'Greatest Show temporarily not on turf' quiz

Separating MLS playoff contenders from pretenders

WNBA Finals preview: Lynx look for revenge against Sparks

The 'Chris Sale joins an elite club' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: The home runs just keep on coming

Building on the NFL's positive changes beyond 2017

NFL Week 3 predictions

The 'MLB is as powerful as ever' quiz

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

After Melo trade, the West looks completely different

The 'Celebrations are afoot in Philadelphia' quiz

Getaway Day: Closing time on 2017 regular season

Sports & Politics Intersect: Mayor Garcetti rolls back the NFL red carpet

The 'Greatest Show temporarily not on turf' quiz

Separating MLS playoff contenders from pretenders

WNBA Finals preview: Lynx look for revenge against Sparks

Three Up, Three Down: The home runs just keep on coming

The 'Chris Sale joins an elite club' quiz

Building on the NFL's positive changes beyond 2017

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker