They had chances. But when you fail on enough chances, you're bound to wind up on the losing end. The Cowboys wound up on the losing end Sunday afternoon, falling 17-16 to Kansas City and losing a golden opportunity to move to 2-0 on the young season.
Early on, this game was the Dez Bryant show. It took the Cowboys' star receiver one quarter to reach the century mark in receiving yards. Bryant and Romo hooked up for a 53-yard completion, leading to a long field goal from Dan Bailey.
But Bryant's best catch of the quarter was yet to come. He laid out completely parallel to the ground on a pass that looked as though it may have been overthrown. It's hard to overthrow Dez, who turned it into 38 yards - then caught another pass in the end zone, giving the Cowboys a 10-7 advantage.
In a relatively uneventful second quarter, both the Cowboys and Chiefs failed to score. It was a battle of field position with the Chiefs spending most of the quarter around mid-field while Dallas struggled to get out of its own end. The Dallas defense stepped up time and time again to keep the Chiefs from taking advantage of the good field position. DeMarcus Ware tallied a pair of sacks in the period and Jason Hatcher collected one as well.
The Cowboys took their opening drive of the second half down the field, but were forced to settle for a short Dan Bailey field goal to take a 13-7 lead.
The Chiefs responded on their next drive. Alex Smith found Donnie Avery for a 31-yard gain into Cowboys territory on third down. Then Smith found Bowe for a 12 yard touchdown that gave the Chiefs a slim lead.
Ryan Succop's 40-yard field goal early in the fourth gave the Chiefs a 17-13 lead. The Cowboys got the ball back with over 6 minutes left, looking to mount a game-winning drive. Romo marched the team down to the 40 yard line, then was awarded another five yards on a defensive holding call which wiped out an Eric Berry interception. He then threw three straight incomplete passes, and the Cowboys emerged with three points on a 53-yard Dan Bailey field goal. They trailed by 1 with 3:50 to go.
Kansas City advanced the ball to their own 44, facing 3rd-and-10. Alex Smith threw the ball to ball to Donnie Avery, about six yards downfield - and Morris Claiborne swatted it away.
But Cowboys fans reacted in horror mere seconds later, as referee flags emerged and Claiborne was flagged with a defensive pass interference - granting the Chiefs a first down. The Cowboys had no time outs left, and Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt planted a kick at the Cowboys' 4-yard line - leaving Dallas with 16 seconds to mount a massive drive. They couldn't do it, settling for a DeMarco Murray surprise handoff which didn't go far enough for creative laterals - and moved to 1-1 on the season.
Head Coach Jason Garrett knows his team can do better.
'We knew it was gonna be a hard fought game. Battled in all three phases - didn't play well enough to get the win.'
Tight End Jason Witten finished the day with three catches for 12 yards. He indicated the team can't dwell on the loss.
'Nobody's gonna feel sorry for ya... we worked hard, lost a game on the road. Gotta turn it around. A lot of football left,' said Witten, who today passed Shannon Sharpe for 2nd all-time in career receptions by a tight end.
Bryant had a monster game, but also dropped a key deep ball in the fourth quarter.
'We all know that. How we played today is not acceptable,' said the star receiver, who was hampered in the second half by a stiff back.
The Cowboys will now prepare for the St. Louis Rams, who come to Arlington next Sunday at noon.