Dallas' trouble with holding leads

Examining the NFL's top lead blowers and comeback artists

Originally Published: October 27, 2012
By Alok Pattani | ESPN Stats & Information Group
Tony RomoTom Pennington/Getty ImagesTony Romo and the Cowboys have had a knack for blowing big leads.

The Dallas Cowboys have a reputation of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. And particularly against this weekend's opponent, that reputation is well earned.

Since the 2009 opening of Jerry Jones' palace in Arlington, the Cowboys are 0-3 at home against the New York Giants. What makes it worse is that in all three of those games, Dallas was in good position to win. A quick recap:

2009: In the Cowboys' first home game at their new stadium, they had a four-point lead with the ball in Giants territory late in the third quarter before Tony Romo threw his third interception of the game. That allowed the Giants back in the game, which they would eventually win on Lawrence Tynes' game-winning field goal as time expired.

2010: Even after Romo suffered what ended up being a season-ending broken collarbone, the Cowboys held a 20-7 lead after a Dez Bryant punt return touchdown in the second quarter. But the Giants scored on three straight possessions before the end of the half and went on to take a 41-35 victory.

2011: With a chance to deal a crushing blow to the Giants' playoff hopes, the Cowboys blew a 12-point lead in the final six minutes of the fourth quarter -- their third blown double-digit fourth-quarter lead last season. Dan Bailey's game-tying field goal attempt in the final seconds was blocked, tying up the division race and setting the stage for another improbable Super Bowl run by Tom Coughlin's team.

So there's no doubt the Cowboys have had a knack for blowing leads -- especially at home against Eli Manning and the Giants. But is there a way to quantify how winnable these games really were for Dallas? And can we see which other teams often find ways to lose such seemingly winnable games?


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