That was an instant classic. NFL Films should not have a tough choice for their game of the week. The Chiefs and the Cowboys waged a war for the ages on Sunday, and The Cowboys made just enough plays to secure their 8th win of the season. Someone was going to lose the game, and whoever did was going to severely hurt their playoff chances. The Cowboys won.
A series of scattershots:
* Larry Johnson is unstoppable behind that offensive line. If the Chiefs don’t make the playoffs, many, many AFC teams should offer a sigh of relief.
* Drew Bledsoe is the man. Amazing what he can do, along with Keyshawn and Glenn, when you give them a freaking chance. I swear, Keyshawn makes every catch.
* Jason Witten should have caught that pass at the goal line on 4th down. He was really lucky that holding was called. So was the city of Dallas.
* Gunther Cunningham is a nut. He is flipping the bird to the refs, he is grabbing and screaming at his coaches, and he is an assistant on the team that fired him from being the head coach. Weird.
* Marion Barber is better than Julius Jones right now. It might be the ankle of Jones that makes it that way, but let’s stop kidding around. In 2005, MB3 is your guy.
* That final drive saw the tackles giving Bledsoe the time he needed.
* The prevent almost prevented Dallas from the playoffs. Nice coverage, Roy. And nice tackle on Tony Gonzalez, too.
* Dan Campbell = the playmaker (except for the tipped pass that Patty Surtain should have returned for 6).
What a win …l
Dallas rallied from deficits of 14-3, 21-17 and 28-24 and secured a non-losing season for the second time in three seasons under Parcells. To do so, the Cowboys overcame Kansas City's four sacks of Bledsoe and running back Larry Johnson's 143 yards rushing and three touchdowns.
Trailing by four points after Eddie Kennison's 47-yard touchdown catch with 3:55 left, Bledsoe led his 31st fourth-quarter rally. Only Green Bay's Brett Favre has more since 1993.
And then Keyshawn makes a point that everyone is thinking:
"I don't care what anybody says – we have firepower," receiver Keyshawn Johnson said. "We just have to use it. The coaches have to have enough confidence in us to call the plays and let us do our jobs."
Meanwhile, in KC, Jason Whitlock lets Larry Johnson have it …
On second and goal at the Dallas 9, Fujita, the former Chief, sashayed right past Johnson as he flopped on the ground like a fish out of water. Fujita then barreled into quarterback Trent Green, separating KC’s QB from the football. Dallas’ Marcus Spears scooped up the ball and ran 59 yards, setting up the Cowboys at the KC 26 with 1 minute, 2 seconds left in the half. Drew Bledsoe hit tight end Jason Witten with a 26-yard TD pass, completing the good-old-fashioned game-turning 14-point swing.
When L.J. whiffed, the Chiefs were up 14-10 and about to tack on a touchdown, or at least a field goal. Instead, the Cowboys went into the halftime locker room ahead 17-14.
On the road, against a good team, when you’re in a tight playoff race, when your remaining schedule consists of playoff-caliber opponents, it’s criminal for a player to give an effort that weak on such an important play.
It’s selfish. It’s immature. It’s classic Randy Moss.
The play perfectly crystallizes (justifies) why Dick Vermeil and Al Saunders were reluctant to put their trust in Larry Johnson. And let me be clear: I have no problem with Saunders choosing to throw the ball in that situation. Saunders called a beautiful game and did an excellent job of keeping the Cowboys’ defense off balance.
Nope. The only problem was Johnson’s flop.
Chiefs feel they let it get away …
“We’re the better team,” Chiefs linebacker Kawika Mitchell insisted as he was surrounded by cameras and dirty socks and devastated looks in the locker room after the game. He wasn’t spitting sour grapes, either. Everybody in the room felt that way. The Chiefs were the better team. They should have won this game a dozen different ways. But maybe this is why Cowboys coach Bill Parcells is one of the best ever. Pitcher Greg Maddux always left hitters thinking they should have gotten three hits when they went zero for four.
Parcells leaves opponents feeling as if they should have won when they lost.
Fujita saves the Day for the Cowboys ….Former Chief with the big moment:
“Without that play, we probably don’t win this game,” Cowboys tight end Dan Campbell said. “It was a huge turnaround. Really, that was a 14-point swing, if you look at it that way.”
Vermeil said, “It’s all right if you fumble, but when you let the other team take it all the way up the field, that’s when it becomes a problem.”
The impact of the play was enormous. Instead of ending the first half with a two-score lead, the Chiefs went into the locker room trailing and cursing their fate.
The Cowboys, meanwhile, suddenly had reason to believe they could match the Chiefs score for score.
Hurrah! Green Bay has won a game! …Even if it was against Detroit…
Green Bay extended its mastery of the Lions in Wisconsin to 15-0 since 1991.
Millen's team slipped to 4-9 and to an NFL-worst 20-57 since he took over in 2001.
"We won a ball game tonight," Sherman said. "That's as far as it goes. I'm happy about that. We have been in every ball game and we haven't won nearly as many as we would have liked. These are our playoff games."
USA in the Group of Death …
At some point you knew it would happen: The U.S. would draw into a Group of Death at the World Cup.
It finally happened on Friday as the No. 8-ranked Yanks were placed in Group E with three-time world champion Italy, the Czech Republic (ranked No. 2 in the world) and rising African power Ghana.
Even worse, the U.S. will have to face the Czechs first and Italy second, leaving the lower-regarded Ghanaians until the end.
The Italy matchup is the most intriguing in my mind because it offers a chance to see an Old Europe soccer power (the Azzurri) against a rising New World soccer power. Can the U.S. take out the three-time world champs when it counts? When they met in 1990 in Rome, Italy dominated and won 1-0. Can the Americans earn more bona fides from the world soccer community? Here's their opportunity.
What does the Schneid mean? …
"The schneid" ... means nearly the opposite of "in the catbird seat." To be "on the schneid" means to be on a losing streak, racking up a series of losing, and especially scoreless, games. "Schneid" is actually short for "schneider," a term originally used in the card game of gin, meaning to prevent an opponent from scoring any points. "Schneider" entered the vocabulary of gin from German (probably via Yiddish), where it means "tailor." Apparently the original sense was that if you were "schneidered" in gin you were "cut" (as if by a tailor) from contention in the game. "Schneider" first appeared in the literature of card-playing about 1886, but the shortened form "schneid" used in other sports is probably of fairly recent vintage.
All this, and no mention of the Mavs, Stars, Matt Morris, JJ Redick, or Reggie Bush. I can do better tomorrow.