Wow. What a game. For a moment, it looked as if Dallas would actually make this interesting.
I have to confess, I worried about this game. I love my Patriots, whether they cheated or not. I love them, they are my team. And they went down to Dallas to face a team that has shown itself to be very, very strong in the last half of games. They have a HUGE offensive line and a quick-footed, agile quarterback that's as elusive as a greased eel. They have an all-pro, perhaps all-world or Hall-of-Fame wide receiver as his primary target. They have one of the best tight-ends in football today. They have a bruising, punishing brute of a runner that can kill with his speed and nose for the goal line. They have a kicker that last week hit not one but two 50+ yard field goals at the end of the game to win it for the Cowboys. They have a monstrous and powerful offensive line that can only benefit from their elusive and quick quarterback. They have a defense that allows their offense to shine and win games. They are a very good football team and they are the force to be reckoned with in the NFC.
And today, they were facing my beloved New England Patriots. I was a nervous wreck.
You have to understand, I have some residual animosity hold over for Dallas from a long time ago; a new life later, I still haven't fully gotten over that. So, of all the games I don't want to see the Pats lose, this is one.
The other, of course, occurs on November 4th.
Nevertheless, this game had all the makings of a really exciting match up. A nail-biter that would make me physically ill because of the tension. (Hey, I like my football, what can I tell ya?)
In the third quarter, it looked like it was going to start swinging their way. Dallas took the lead 24-21 early in the quarter and the Pats haven't trailed in the second half at all this year. I thought that was a bad portend. I thought for sure Dallas was going to start laying those big bodies on our guys and grind us down. A narrow-margin loss is a loss as great as a blow-out, I say. And I didn't want to see them lose.
Fortunately for me, I am not the quarterback for the Patriots. Tom Brady is. He has no emotions. He has ice water in his veins. He has the ability to sleep 20 minutes before the start of the Super Bowl. If he's not the coolest quarterback I've ever seen on the field, if he's not the most collected, calm and stable field general I've ever seen, I don't know who is. It might be Joe Montana. Tom and Joe seem to be cut from the same mold, but Brady is made from more material.
Yes, he got taken down a couple of times. Yes, I saw him make some really stinker throws (what was up with that, anyway?). And in the end, I saw him be Tom Brady. I saw the Patriots do what they have done week-in and week-out for the last six weeks this year.
They won the game.
They didn't eke one out either. They won that game by 21 points.
At the end of that game, my heart was pounding and my palms were sweaty. And Lord help me, I can't tell you why. I saw them up by 14 points with 4 minutes left in the 4th quarter, and I was nervous. I've seen games won by similar margins with less time left. I know that Dallas is a talented, high-powered team.
Then I saw Tony Romo do what young quarterbacks under pressure do: throw an interception. Junior Seau had his third pick in the last two weeks (2 last week, one today), and a few plays later the Patriots, down to their 3rd running back after Sammy Morris left the game early, scored again.
With 13 seconds to go, Dallas erected a white flag. It was fine; they weren't going to do much anyway, except maybe narrow the gap back to 14. But there was no chance to win. Romo took a knee.
Dallas played well enough to keep them in the game until the end. Toward the end, the Patriots demonstrated what apparently everyone but me knew already:
The Dallas Cowboys are a good football team. And they were not ready for the New England Patriots.
Final score: New England 41, Dallas 27.
Miami is next, and they always play the heck out of us. Stay tuned, Massholes; this could be one of the proverbial "trap games". If it's not -- November 4th is going to ROCK.
And I'll be worried about that game too. Hell, maybe I'll beat the rush and start now.