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Weekly Game Balls: Week 13

Unfortunately I’ve had to say this before, sometimes its hard to choose players worthy of game balls after such a devastating loss. This week the offensive game ball was a given but the defensive game ball took some thought.

This week’s offensive game ball goes to Jason Witten.

Jason Witten never fails us. Even though it had seemed he had slowed down for a few games, Witten excelled during his second consecutive 100+ yard game.

Witten had a career day last Sunday in New York. Not only did he catch his 500th catch for the Cowboys but his 14 receptions for 156 yards also set a career high for the veteran tight end. He has also moved up to second place behind Michael Irvin in Dallas receiving of all time. That’s pretty impressive!

The Cowboys didn’t come away with the win on Sunday, but this wasn’t due to lack of performance from Mr. Clutch by any means.

Way to go Witten!

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This week’s defensive/special teams game ball goes to Jay Ratliff.

As stated above, this was a tough decision and not for a good reason this time.

However, the only defensive play that stood out and made a difference was Ratliff’s forced fumble and recovery.

The play lead to the first touchdown during the second quarter. I won’t go into what happened after that, but at the time Ratliff created a game-changer and for that he deserves props.

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Way to go to Witten and Ratliff!

Honorable Mention: Tony Romo ( 41-55, 392 yards, 3 TDs – a career/franchise high in receptions), DeMarcus Ware (lead the team in tackles and had the one and only sack)

Packers Break Cowboys’ Winning Streak, Dallas Loses 17-7

The Cowboys winning streak came to a halt today as the Packers beat the Boys 17-7. It was a strong defensive game on both sides but penalties, injuries and missed opportunities ruined the day.

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The most painful thing to come from this loss will be the hole that Marc Colombo leaves on the offensive line. Colombo went down in the first quarter and later it was learned that he suffered from a broken fibula. Doug Free came in to replace Colombo and immediately failed to protect Romo.

There was an injury scare with Bradie James who returned to play, and Ken Hamlin left the game with an ankle injury.

Another stinger was an arm injury to corner Mike Jenkins. He returned to play but left again for good after a few minutes.

Tony Romo also took a beating from the Green Bay defense taking five sacks, while Aaron Rodgers was sacked 4 times by Dallas. Romo ended the day 24 of 29 completions, 251 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Roy Williams caught 5 passes for 105 yards and a touchdown. Sounds good right? No, not really. He also fumbled what would have been a 41-yard completion along with a dropped pass that could have been a game changer.

Luckily the Cowboys were able to score a touchdown in the final seconds to avoid getting shutout for the first time since December 14, 2003.

The running game was basically nonexistent. The three-headed monster combined for a measly 45 yards.

Defensively things were looking pretty good, just not good enough when your offense can’t produce and injuries sideline your starters. DeMarcus Ware had two sacks and Bobby Carpenter and Stephen Bowen recorded one sack each. Jay Ratliff was quiet, however Anthony Spencer stepped up and made several great plays.

Dallas has to pray that their injuries aren’t as bad as they seem. Of course Colombo is likely out for the season, but Jenkins and Hamlin should be able to return.

The Cowboys move on with a 6-3 record, still leading the NFC East and come back home to play the Washington Redskins for the first time this season.

Weekly Game Balls: Preseason Week 4

This week’s offensive game ball goes to Kevin Ogletree.

In the finale of the short preseason, Kevin Ogletree once again impressed and pretty much locked in his spot on the 53-man roster. Rookie Ogletree made it easy for coaches to make the decision to cut Isaiah Stanback and go with him as the 5th wide receiver.

“Every ball is important to me, every down, every play,” Ogletree said. “So when you take that approach and you’re as hungry as I am to try to make the team, you do what you can.”

Ogletree caught two passes for a total on 14 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter before leaving last Friday’s game with an eye contusion.

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This week’s defensive game ball goes to Pat Watkins.

Pat Watkins dominated the game last Friday proving he deserved his spot on the roster. The fourth-year safety made a clutch tackle on a fourth-and-one with 1:59 left in the first half that prevented a Vikings touchdown. Then he blocked a field goal with nine seconds left on the clock, to end the first half and prevent another Vikings scoring opportunity. Finally, he opened the third quarter with a a dazzling 23-yard interception return for a touchdown. It was a big day for the Cowboys’ backup safety.

“I had a feeling like I was going to have a good game, and I had a couple people send me text messages with predictions,” Watkins said. “Someone predicted six tackles and an interception. Somebody else predicted eight tackles. So after that maybe I need more predictions to help me out.”

Whatever it takes Watkins, keep up the good work!

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Congratulations to Kevin and Pat for their outstanding play.

Runners-up: Steven Octavien for his 44-yard interception returned for a touchdown and Jesse Holley for his brave 82-yard punt return for a touchdown that in turn won the game.

Weekly Game Balls: Preseason Week 3

Introducing a new feature at Lone Star Struck – Weekly Games Balls. Every week we will choose an offensive and defensive star of the game.

This week’s offensive game ball goes to Felix Jones.

Felix JonesOne of the most exciting things to come out of Dallas in recent years is the young and talented Mr. Felix Jones. Every time Jones takes the field it’s like a whole new ball game and what’s intriguing is he’s not even the starting running back. Some have dubbed Felix “The Cat” because of his speed. Once he breaks into the open field he revs it up, leaving the competition in the dust. While he’s still new and fresh, he gives the Cowboys faithful something to believe in and hopes that it will last for years to come.

In last week’s preseason game against the 49ers Felix Jones was the only Cowboy to reach the endzone. Jones appeared in only two quarters of the game had five carries for a total of 23 yards averaging 4.6 yards per carry. While those are low numbers keep in mind it’s preseason. Jones’ longest gain was a 13 yard run that in turn lead to the lone touchdown of the night eight minutes later.

We expect great things from Felix Jones this season after being cheated out of his ‘rookie of the year’ title last season due to injury.

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This week’s defensive game ball goes to Jay Ratliff.

Jay RatliffJay Ratliff has to be one of the most underrated defensive players in the game. The Cowboys’ nose tackle had a career high 7.5 sacks last season earning himself his first Pro Bowl appearance. Ratliff became the starter in 2007 when Jason Ferguson went down with injury. Ferguson was later traded, Ratliff permanently took over and the Cowboys never looked back.

Jay “The Rat” Ratliff is coming off his best season to date and there is no doubt that he is looking to return with the same aggresive attitude. At only 28 years old and a contract through 2012, expect to celebrate many more tackles and incredible sacks by The Rat, as he slams his fist to the ground and howls at the moon.

In his appearance in last week’s game Ratliff completed two tackles, both solo, and a sack, only a taste of what is to come this season.

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Congratulations to The Cat and The Rat for their great play. There is no doubt we will have these two superstars featured again this season.