So Cowboy fans, used to this sinking feeling 12 games into the season – Dallas has won a single playoff game since 1996 – are forced to find silver linings.
I give you mercurial wide receiver Dez Bryant.
In a year that didn't start out well for Bryant, with the episode with his mother, No. 88 has become a man on the football field.
He's putting up big time numbers every week now, playing like an 88. Bryant went for six catches for 98 yards and two touchdowns Sunday. He has 475 yards and six touchdowns in the last four games. Those are close to Megatron numbers – Calvin Johnson – or the Bears' Brandon Marshall, probably the two best receivers going right now.
Bryant is making spectacular catches like his third-down reception along the Cowboys' sideline with 8:22 left in the fourth quarter, setting up the go-ahead touchdown to make it 31-27. Bryant scored on a 6-yard reception to end the drive, bulling over Eagles' defensive back Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie at the 3-yard line.
He can't be stopped in the open field. Defensive backs can't tackle him. They don't want any part of him – the Eagles showed that on Bryant's 23-yard TD catch in the first half when he caught a short pass and ran through a flailing Philly defense.
Bryant is brilliant, there's no questioning that, but can he make this last? Can he be a Drew Pearson or a Michael Irvin?
Romo is showing confidence in Bryant. He made that known on the third-and-two play, when Romo took a chance on hitting Bryant on a deep ball even though an Eagles defender was running right with him.
“When you throw the ball down the field like that on a third-and-short, it's usually because coverage dictates the other ones are a lower percentage,” Romo said. “It can be a high percentage down-the-field throw if you have a good receiver, a good matchup and a guy that can deliver the ball.”