The Ravens hung on to defeat the Dallas Cowboys, 31-29, as a Dan Bailey game-winning field goal sailed left to preserve the Baltimore win. The Cowboys put together an offensive flurry in the final two minutes, scoring a touchdown and recovering an onside kick. On their final possession, a pass interference call moved the Cowboys into field goal range but some curious clock management forced them to settle for the 51-yard attempt by Bailey. The field goal would have tied his career long, but it was wide left almost as soon as it left his foot.
Despite an injury to starter DeMarco Murray, the Cowboys consistently pounded the ball on the ground against a vulnerable Baltimore defense. The Ravens rush defense was lit up by Jamaal Charles last week, and a stable of Dallas rushers found constant running lanes in Week 6. Felix Jones was the biggest beneficiary, splitting carries with Murray in the first half and then taking over in the second half. Dallas went to the ground right away, running it down the throats of Baltimore on their opening possession, which ended with 22-yard scamper down the left sideline by Jones. An animated gif of the play:
As a team, the Cowboys finished with 227 yards on the ground. Murray had 93 yards rushing before leaving with the injury, and Jones added 92 yards on 18 carries.
The biggest play of the second half for the Ravens may have occurred on special teams, as Jacoby Jones took a 108-yard kickoff return to the house, giving Baltimore their first double-digit lead of the game. Dallas controlled the momentum and the ball for most of the second half, but the return by Jones was a huge blow. The speedy wideout burst to the right sideline and was never touched on his way to the end zone.
The Baltimore offense was quiet for most of second half, with the return by Jones and a stout Dallas defense keeping them off the field. But with a one-point lead, and a little over eight minutes to play, Joe Flacco moved the offense on a 10-play, 73-yard scoring drive that pushed the lead to eight with less than five minutes to play. The Ravens continued to go no-huddle on the drive, and Flacco consistently found his receivers, hitting Anquan Boldin on two big back-to-back plays. Ray Rice capped the drive with a one-yard touchdown.
Tony Romo and the Cowboys responded, however, marching down the field to try and even it up with under two minutes to play. The drive was in jeopardy on two separate fourth-and-10 situations, but Romo found reliable tight end Jason Witten both times to keep the chains moving. The Cowboys pulled within two when, for the second time, Romo fired one at the back shoulder of Dez Bryant. The second-year wideout scored his first touchdown of the season on almost the exact same play earlier in the second half.
At 31-29, the Cowboys still needed a two-point conversion. Jason Garrett went back to the same play, but this time, Bryant could not hold on to the ball from Romo. The pass hit him right in the hands but he could not control it as he went to the ground, preserving the narrow Baltimore lead.
It looked like Bryant might get a measure of redemption from the dropped pass, as the Cowboys recovered the ensuing onside kick. But Bailey's attempt was off the mark, and the Ravens held on to improve to 5-1.
Dez Bryant finished the day with 13 catches for 93 yards and two touchdowns, an impressive outing for fantasy owners. Unfortunately, Cowboys fans will likely dwell on the dropped two-point conversion.
But did they cover?
The late Dallas touchdown ensured that the Ravens did not cover the 3.5-point spread.
The biggest injury was the foot problem that sprung up for DeMarco Murray. The dynamic rusher was on the bench for the second half, and his status going forward is still unknown. One of the Ravens top cornerbacks, Lardarius Webb, badly bruised his knee when he collided with Dez Bryant. He did not return.