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To the typical NFL fan, Thanksgiving traditions, such as eating turkey and rejoicing in familial love, will always fall short of watching the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys host back-to-back games at their respective stadiums.
This year’s match-ups managed not to disappoint as the Lions and their undefeated division Packers rival remained scoreless throughout most of the first half before the Packers began to break the game open shortly after halftime Aaron Rodgers had no problem picking apart a depleted Lions secondary, which was missing one of its starting cornerbacks, as well as a very underrated safety in Louis Delmas.
Due to the relatively one-sided nature of this game, the main story line that came along with it mostly pertains to Ndamukong Suh’s ejection. As most people know by now, Suh’s ejection came after aggressively stomping Packers linemen Evan Dietrich-Smith shortly after the play had ended.
The first thing most people would think upon seeing this is that it certainly is not the first time that Suh has been involved in an incident with an opposing player, leading one to question if he can ever learn from his mistakes.
However, what makes the incident even more absurd is that it happened just days after Sports Center ran a segment reporting that he and Lions running back, Jahvid Best, donated equipment to a high school football team that had all of their equipment stolen.
This was certain to come off as an attempt to clean up Suh’s image after he had previously established himself as one of the NFL’s dirtiest players. However, after his ejection on Thanksgiving, he has clearly cemented himself into the the dreaded thug stereotype.
The odd thing about this is, disregarding Suh’s on-the-field shenanigans, he actually appears to be a well-spoken person in interviews and press conferences. Yet, for whatever reason, the intensity that goes along with being a defensive tackle in the NFL seems to overcome him whenever he is on the field.
With this in mind, it now remains to be seen whether or not Ndamukong Suh can truly clean up his image or if his reputation is a product of some sort of compulsive behavior that he is incapable of controlling.
Moving on to the Cowboys-Dolphins game afterwards, the excitement came down to the last second of the game. Both offenses struggled early on with two early interceptions from Tony Romo, who was able to rebound significantly throughout the rest of the game, in addition to DeMarco Murray having yet another solid performance despite the poor run blocking from the offensive line.
Despite this rebound, the Cowboys secondary had a difficult time keeping Matt Moore in check throughout the second half of the game after holding them to just 6 points at halftime. The Dolphins’ first touchdown drive came after Terence Newman committed a pass interference penalty, which involved Newman practically strangling Brandon Marshall on a pass which placed the ball on the 1 yard line.
While Terence Newman certainly showed that his speed is not what it used to be on that particular play, he should take no blame for the decision to commit what appeared to be a deliberate penalty. Brandon Marshall clearly had Newman beat on the play with Abram Elam being fairly slow to provide help over the top.
This eventually proved to be a microcosm for the Cowboys’ second half struggles on the back end. Even after the Cowboys answered back with a touchdown of their own to take a 17-16 lead, Abram Elam managed to commit a penalty of his own to keep the Dolphins’ ensuing drive alive.
It obviously did not help that Orlando Scandrick and Alan Ball were both having some difficulty covering the Dolphins’ receivers, which led to a field goal that gave the Dolphins a late 4th quarter lead. After this happened, the outcome of the game became dependent on which Tony Romo would decide to show up, the mentally tough-clutch version or the reputed choker.
Luckily, for the Cowboys, Romo made some key throws in the face of pressure to put the Cowboys in field goal range before Dan Bailey made a last second field goal to give the Cowboys a relieving one point win over the Dolphins.
Although the win puts the Cowboys in first place of the NFC East, there is obviously some area of concern such as the aforementioned secondary woes. Terence Newman has not aged quite as well as anyone would have liked, while Scandrick and Ball are both average cornerbacks at best.
A game in which a quarterback such as Matt Moore was able to have a great statistical performance is, without question, something that should only highlight these issues, even in spite of the victory.
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