Mac Engel

A black cat saved the Dallas Cowboys to beat the New York Giants

When the Dallas Cowboys plan their 2019 Super Bowl parade in February, that cat will need to have his own limo.

I’m calling this cat Little Jerry Jones. When I was a kid, we had a cat named Jerry. Jerry lived to be 1,343 years old, and he was not a good football general manager, but he could sell anything.

Make your little jokes, but you know the real Jerry Jones is going to pay the cat who saved the Dallas Cowboys from their second dose of humiliation at the Meadowlands this year; he has gone into cap hell, so cat hell would not be a problem (it’s like God opened a door and a window).

The Cowboys trailed the New York Giants by six points with just under six minutes remaining in the first half when the cat-strophe occurred. A little, black cat sprang loose on the field of play that delayed the game.

“That was a mean lookin’ cat,” Jerry Jones said after the game.

Little Jerry’s feline filibuster provided invaluable time for the Cowboys defense to regroup and find their inner black cat. The delay provided enough time for coach Jason Garrett to clap his hands even harder.

Watching the cat run to the end zone, and then up to the tunnel deep into MetLife Stadium, was just the inspiration the Cowboys needed to avoid their second awful loss here for the second time in the last three games.

If Little Jerry Jones could make it to the end zone, so could the Cowboys.

After the cat nap, the Cowboys outscored the Giants by 25 points to win their second consecutive NFC East game.

The Cowboys defeated the Giants 37-18, as they continue to own the NFC East, and at least distance themselves from the bad teams in the NFL.

Or at least the bad teams in the NFL not named the New York Jets.

Four of the Cowboys’ five wins have come against the Giants, Redskins and Dolphins. Those three teams are a combined 4-22.

The Cowboys have one win against a team with a winning record, the Eagles, who are 5-4.

The Cowboys’ problem is they must beat the Giants, and the win proves nothing other than they are better than a bad team.

Call the Cowboys’ loss to the New York Jets here a few weeks ago an aberration. Don’t call their losses to the New Orleans Saints or Green Bay Packers a surprise.

Considering their history with Dak Prescott as their quarterback, they are judged against the proven teams in the NFL.

You know ... the ones they don’t beat.

COWBOYS GOT OFF TO A SLOW START

On the Cowboys’ first play from scrimmage, quarterback Dak Prescott threw a nice pass to New York Giants safety Antoine Bethea. The only reason Bethea didn’t score was the tackle made by left tackle Tyron Smith.

Despite starting their first offensive drive at the Cowboys’ 8-yard line, the Giants had to settle for a field goal.

That pretty much summed up the New York Giants offense on Monday night.

On the ensuing possession, the awake version of the Cowboys showed up and they steadily moved the ball until Tyron Smith made up for his 4-point saving tackle with a holding call that negated a Dak touchdown pass.

With six minutes remaining in the first half, the Cowboys had committed a pair of turnovers, and missed a field goal.

The Giants had the ball at the Cowboys’ 39-yard line when the game was stopped in the second quarter. Per the play-by-play transcript provided by the NFL, “The game has been suspended. Cat on the field.”

“You don’t see that every week,” Giants quarterback Daniel Jones said.

The Giants failed to score a touchdown, but extended their lead to 12-3 on a field goal.

After that point, the Cowboys started to roll. Dak found tight end Blake Jarwin for a 42-yard touchdown pass. Kicker Brett Maher ended the half with a 52-yard field goal.

“No, I’m not superstitious. Not at all. It didn’t bother me,” Giants running back Saquon Barkley said about the little kitty. “That only thing I didn’t like about it was we were going and it stopped us a little bit. ... But I’m not sure how a black cat got on the field, but ... hey.”

The answer is there are many cats that help out at nearby Meadowlands Race Track to prevent the horses getting spooked by mice. And this particular cat is a big Cowboys fan.

COWBOYS SHUT DOWN SAQUON BARKLEY

The New York Giants’ leading rusher was quarterback Daniel Jones. Read that again: The New York Giants’ leading rusher was quarterback Daniel Jones.

The Cowboys sold out to stop Giants running back Saquon Barkley.

Other than one long pass catch-and-run in the fourth quarter, Barkley did nothing. He was held to 28 yards on 14 carries.

Counterpart Ezekiel Elliott ran 23 times for a season-high 139 yards; the Cowboys are 4-1 when he rushes for more than 100 yards this season.

Defensively, defensive end Tank Lawrence treated Daniel Jones much like he did Eli Manning. Tank had his best game since the season opener, and he finished with one sack and two tackles for losses.

After the type of start that buried them in their loss to the Jets, the Cowboys had the type of night they expected, and should, enjoy.

They are better than the New York Giants, and they proved it again for the second time this year.

Jerry, time to break out the cat nip.

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Mac Engel is an award-winning columnist who has extensive experience covering Fort Worth-Dallas area sports for 20 years. He has covered high schools, colleges, all four major sports teams as well as Olympic games and the world of entertainment, too. He combines dry wit with first-person reporting to complement a head of hair that is almost unfair.
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