Cover-2: Winner-takes-all fine with Garrett

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett faces another big test against the Giants in Sunday's clash for the NFC East title.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett faces another big test against the Giants in Sunday's clash for the NFC East title. (SHARON ELLMAN / AP)
Posted: December 29, 2011

Dallas was in desperate need of a victory when Jason Garrett made his successful head-coaching debut with a win on the road against the New York Giants midway through last season.

The Cowboys are back in a similar situation, and there is even more on the line as Garrett has come full circle.

Garrett's 24th game, the finale of his first full regular season, is another trip to face the Giants. The winner Sunday night in the matchup of 8-7 teams clinches the NFC East title and the NFC's last playoff spot, which will mean a home game in the wild-card round the following weekend.

"Whenever you put yourself in a position like that going into the final game of the season, you've done a lot of good things," Garrett said Wednesday. "We've had our share of excellent victories, and we've had our share of disappointment, just like every team in this league has.

"And one of the best things our team has done individually and collectively, we have played through the adversities and the successes we have had."

 

Head games

Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew wonders how much of the NFL's efforts to prevent or properly treat concussions have to do with lawsuits brought by former players against the league and its teams.

The NFL's leading rusher spoke out about the issue again, nearly a week after telling the Associated Press he would hide a possible head injury so he could stay in a game.

"I've had concussions before, and it wasn't this big deal about concussions," Jones-Drew said. "The only reason they're making a big deal about concussions right now is because the league is getting sued over it. Before this, you never heard about it. A couple of years ago, you didn't hear anything about it."

Newton's not pouting

Despite a record-setting rookie season, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was not selected to the Pro Bowl.

He certainly isn't pouting over it.

"Who am I to be mad at the fact that I'm the first alternate?" Newton said with a wide smile.

Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, and Eli Manning were selected over Newton, even though Manning has seven fewer total touchdowns.

It's a fumble

Upon further review, Tim Tebow has one fewer interception, and the Buffalo Bills lost a franchise record.

In a scoring change announced by the Bills, the third of Tebow's four interceptions in a 40-14 loss last weekend is now being ruled a lost fumble.

It happened midway through the fourth quarter when Tebow had the ball knocked loose by linebacker Chris Kelsay. Linebacker Spencer Johnson caught the ball in midair and returned it 17 yards for a touchdown.

Noteworthy

Linebacker Jason Taylor says he'll retire after this season, his 15th in the NFL and his 13th with the Miami Dolphins. Taylor, who made the announcement following practice, leads all active players with 1391/2 sacks, which ranks sixth all-time. He has six fumble returns for touchdowns, an NFL record. . . . The Denver Broncos might have to face former quarterback Kyle Orton with two backup safeties if Brian Dawkins and Quinton Carter can't play in Sunday's showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs, who are trying to deny Tim Tebow a trip to the playoffs. . . . Two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Osi Umenyiora practiced on a limited basis with the Giants after being sidelined for the month with a high-ankle sprain and continuing problems with his knee. He's expected on the field Sunday night when the Giants (8-7) face the Cowboys (8-7) for the division title.

  - Inquirer wire services

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