All the narratives that the Dallas Cowboys hate continued to ring true in 2013, which is why they were 8-8 for the third consecutive seasons. The names change. The results remain the same because the Cowboys don’t play their best against good teams and they are not at their best when it matters most. The Cowboys were 1-6 in 2013 against playoff teams. Four of the six losses were by one, one, two and three points. Overall, the Cowboys were 1-8 against teams with .500 or better records — 6-25 since Jason Garrett took over as head coach in 2010. The Cowboys were also 1-3 in the month of December — the final month of the season when the playoffs were on the line. — Clarence E. Hill Jr.
WCowboys 36, Giants 31
The Cowboys forced six turnovers, keyed by Brandon Carr’s interception return for a touchdown with 1:50 left in the game, to hold off the Giants in the season opener at AT&T Stadium. Barry Church returned a fumble for a touchdown. George Selvie and DeVonte Holloman had fumble recoveries. DeMarcus Ware and Will Allen had interceptions. Jason Witten caught two touchdowns and Miles Austin had 10 catches.
LChiefs 17, Cowboys 16
Turnovers, poor field position and a late pass interference call played major roles in the Cowboys’ first loss of the season. Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith baffled the Cowboys with 57 rushing yards along with 223 yards passing and two touchdowns. However, the Cowboys were their own worst enemy. A third-down interference call against Morris Claiborne in the final minutes of the game sealed the loss.
WCowboys 31, Rams 7
After a week of criticism for the lack of a running game and balance, the Cowboys unleashed DeMarco Murray on the Rams. Murray carried a career-high 26 times for 175 yards and one touchdown to set the tone for the win. The defense posted six sacks, recovered a fumble and held the Rams to one third-down conversion in 13 tries. St. Louis did not have a first down in the opening quarter and only one at halftime in the rout.
LChargers 30, Cowboys 21
Philip Rivers passed for 401 yards and three touchdowns to rally the Chargers from a 21-10 deficit with 20 unanswered points on four consecutive possessions. The game-sealing score came on a 56-yard pass from Rivers to tight end Antonio Gates. Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant had two first-half touchdowns, but the offense had limited possessions in the second half.
LBroncos 51, Cowboys 48
Matt Prater made a 28-yard field goal on the last play of the game to spoil a record-setting passing day by Dallas quarterback Tony Romo in front of a crowd of 92,758 at AT&T Stadium. The teams combined for the fourth-most points in NFL history. The game-winning kick was set up by Danny Trevathan’s diving interception off Romo, who passed for a club-record 506 yards and five touchdowns. Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and rookie Terrance Williams each had more than 100 yards receiving.
WCowboys 31, Redskins 16
It was a special win for Dallas as receiver/returner Dwayne Harris accounted for 222 return yards, including an 86-yard punt return for a touchdown. Harris also had a 90-yard kickoff return that set up another score. He added two special teams tackle and was later named NFC special teams player of the week. The defense, led by Jason Hatcher (two sacks), linebacker Kyle Wilber (forced fumble and recovery) and cornerbacks Orlando Scandrick (interception) and Brandon Carr, was solid.
WCowboy 17, Eagles 3
In a reverse of a growing trend, the Dallas defense provided the base for the team’s first road win of the season. Playing without Michael Vick, the Eagles were limited to 278 total yards. Shifty back LeSean McCoy, the league’s top rusher, had only 55 yards on 18 carries. Rookie running back Joseph Randle, in his first start, had 65 yards on 19 carries.
LLions 31, Cowboys 30
Calvin Johnson was simply unstoppable. Johnson caught 14 passes for a career-high 329 yards and one touchdown and Matthew Stafford scored on a 1-yard dive with 12 seconds left for the Lions’ win. Stafford passed for 488 yards to keep the Lions in contention. Stafford faked spiking the ball as both teams hurried to the line with 12 seconds left then dove into the end zone.
WCowboys 27, Vikings 23
It was the Cowboys’ turn to rally for a victory. After losing a close game to Denver and Detroit, Tony Romo threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Dwayne Harris with 35 seconds left to complete a game-winning 90-yard touchdown drive. Nick Hayden and George Selvie led a defensive surge with Hayden recovering a fumble for a touchdown. Romo passed for 337 yards and two touchdowns with one interception.
LSaints 49, Cowboys 17
Manhandled. Noncompetitive. The Cowboys were overmatched in New Orleans as the Saints totaled 625 yards and had an NFL-record 40 first downs. Drew Brees passed for 392 yards and four touchdowns. Mark Ingram added 145 rushing yards and a touchdown. The Cowboys led 10-7 early in the second quarter, then the game turned as the Saints scored three touchdowns in the final 5 minutes of the first half.
WCowboys 24, Giants 21
Dan Bailey’s 35-yard field goal gave the Cowboys a crucial road win at MetLife Stadium. It took a 64-yard, 14-play drive, converting three third downs, to put the Cowboys in position for the win. Romo passed for 250 yards and two touchdowns. Tight end Jason Witten caught two touchdowns, and the secondary limited to the Giants to 154 passing yards and no big plays.
WCowboys 31, Raiders 24
The Cowboys ran down the Raiders, after falling behind 21-7, with their second strongest rushing game of the season. DeMarco Murray rushed for three touchdowns as the Cowboys finished with 144 rushing yards. Lance Dunbar had 12 carries for 82 yards, but suffered a knee injury that sidelined him for the rest of the season.
LBears 45, Cowboys 28
Chicago went on a 28-0 run to batter the Cowboys before a crowd of 56,644 at arctic-cold Soldier Field. Josh McCown threw four touchdowns and ran for another as the Bears finished with 498 total yards and 32 first downs. Tony Romo threw three touchdowns and DeMarco Murray ran for 146 yards for Dallas. The temperature at kickoff was 8 degrees with a minus-9 wind chill, which made it the coldest regular-season game in Cowboys’ history.
Notable: Hall of Fame tight end Mike Ditka, a former Bears coach (1982-92) and player (1961-66), had his No. 89 jersey retired at halftime. Ditka also played with the Cowboys from 1969-72.
LPackers 37, Cowboys 36
Green Bay rallied from a 26-3 halftime deficit to stun the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. The Packers scored touchdowns on five consecutive possessions to start the second half. Matt Flynn, subbing for injured starter Aaron Rodgers, threw four touchdowns and Eddie Lacy ran for 141 yards. Tony Romo was intercepted twice in the fourth quarter, including one with 1: 31 left in the game. DeMarco Murray rushed for 134 yards, 93 in the first half.
WCowboys 24, Redskins 23
Tony Romo, hobbled by a back injury late in the game, threw a 10-yard, fourth-down touchdown to DeMarco Murray and Dan Bailey added the conversion kick with 1:08 left in the game to give the Cowboys a comeback win over Washington. Dallas drove 87 yards in nine plays on the game-winning drive. Rookie Terrance Williams’ 51-yard catch put the Cowboys in scoring position. Murray finished with 96 rushing yards. Dallas won both meetings with the Redskins this season.
LEagles 24, Cowboys 22
Brandon Boykin intercepted a Kyle Orton pass with 1:43 left in the game to give Philadelphia the NFC East title and a berth into the playoffs. Orton, who started in place of the injured Tony Romo (back surgery for a herniated disk), passed for 358 yards and two touchdowns, but was intercepted twice. Dez Bryant caught eight for 99 yards, including a 32-yard touchdown with 3:50 left to play. Cary Williams batted away the potential game-tying, 2-point conversion pass intended for Bryant.