Tony Romo calm, clutch in Dallas Cowboys’ win

By Nick Shook | NFL.com
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This week was rough on the eyes.

Four road teams won games Sunday: Cleveland, Cincinnati, Green Bay and Dallas.

Three of those wins were pretty darn ugly.

Brian Hoyer attempted to toss away the Browns‘ postseason chances late in the Georgia Dome, but thanks to the inept clock management of one Mike Smith, Hoyer got one last shot and Cleveland escaped with a victory.

Andy Dalton threw a touchdown and a pick-six, but the Bengals controlled the game against a rookie quarterback making his second career start, and possibly his first career start with a serious pectoral injury. That muscle is pretty important for football players.

Green Bay beat Minnesota in a way you’d expect a superior team to handle a trap game: Not too well, but not poorly, either.

Dallas, on the other hand — that one was fun.

In all, it was a ho-hum Sunday for visiting squads. But we still had at least a few bright spots during an otherwise dreary afternoon.

Here are your stars of the suitcase for Week 12.

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Dez Bryant puts on Wembley-worthy show in Cowboys’ win

Nick Shook | NFL.com
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Road teams battled all Sunday. Some of them prevailed, some did not — and then there were the Bears.

But for a moment in time, the Oakland Raiders appeared to have a chance, holding a 10-6 lead in the second quarter thanks to two Peyton Manning interceptions. Then Denver completed a short pass to C.J. Anderson, who ripped off a 51-yard scamper to put the Broncos back in the lead.

Denver and Oakland suddenly remembered their roles within the hierarchy of the NFL — with Denver being among the most pompous of lords, and Oakland being the peasants who pay double rent on farmland that refuses to yield any real return — and two hours later, Denver had a 41-17 win.

But Manning won’t be in this column, for two reasons: he threw — gasp — two interceptions, and Denver is supposed to beat Oakland. The Raiders didn’t get to 0-8 (now 0-9) just on poor luck — they’re a bad football team.

Wait, what’s that? I can’t ignore 340 yards and five touchdowns on 31-of-44 passing, even if it was against the worst team in the NFL? Fine (throws playbook), but he’s not getting the top honor.

Here are your best away from the friendly confines of home. Continue reading

Carson Palmer leads Cardinals to big win over Cowboys

By Nick Shook | NFL.com
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We’re beyond the point of intervention with road squads.

Look, it’s obviously difficult to get a win on the road in the NFL — the crowds are hostile, the sleeping conditions aren’t the comfortable, deluxe mattresses and Egyptian cotton sheets players have at home, and the locker rooms are never quite as spacious and cozy as those at home. But here in Week 9 it’s like a relationship on the rocks, and we’re going one of two ways: demand change, or learn to love them for who they are.

Well, they’re teams away from home, and they struggled again this week. Visiting squads won three of 11 games on Sunday, including a St. Louis Rams victory that was a few eyelashes and droplets of forearm sweat away from being a crushing loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

But we love them for who they are, because amid the despair of defeat, there exist silver linings and bright spots, both big and small. Now that I’ve captured your heartstrings, here are the best professional football players who suited up and played the game on a field that didn’t feature their team’s markings.

Greatest on the Road …

Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals

 

In accordance with a theme that has prevailed throughout most of his career, Brandon Weeden┬ástruggled mightily on Sunday. Dallas was encouraged by Weeden’s acceptable outing in relief of Tony Romo┬álast week, but Cowboys fans didn’t get a full four quarters of Weeden — which is bad Weeden.

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