CINCINNATI (AP) - The Cowboys bowed their heads, put hands over their hearts and honored a teammate killed in a car accident during a moment of silence before their game on Sunday, their minds never far from the NFL’s latest tragedy.
Dan Bailey’s 40-yard field goal as time ran out gave Dallas a 20-19 win over the Cincinnati Bengals that provided a few seconds of relief from two days of grief.
“There was a feeling of numbness on the field, but they focused and found a way to win today,” coach Jason Garrett said. “It is a day that I am never going to forget. However, it is a tragic day for all of us.”
The Cowboys learned on their flight to Cincinnati on Saturday that linebacker Jerry Brown had died in an accident overnight. Defensive lineman Josh Brent _ the car driver _ was charged with intoxication manslaughter in Irving, Texas, for the early morning accident.
“The last 24 hours has really been something I’ve never experienced,” quarterback Tony Romo said. “It’s something I’ve never experienced, and I think a lot of guys will tell you that. It’s just been a roller coaster of emotions.
“It was a very _ and still is _ a very difficult thing that this football team is dealing with.”
It was the second week in a row that an NFL team played a game one day after a team member died. Kansas City linebacker Jovan Belcher fatally shot his girlfriend, then killed himself at the Chiefs’ practice complex in front of his coach and general manager.
Playing the day after their tragedy, the Chiefs beat the Carolina Panthers 27-21 for their second win of the season.
Garrett told the Cowboys (7-6) on Saturday night that it was important to play well against the Bengals (7-6). Both teams needed a win to stay in the thick of playoff contention.
There was no ignoring what had happened.
One of the visitors’ metal lockers at Paul Brown Stadium had a strip of white athletic tape with “53 JERRY BROWN” attached to the top, a wooden stool inside sitting upside-down. Brown’s No. 53 jersey was on the sideline during the game _ defensive tackle Jason Hatcher held it up after Bailey’s kick decided it.
There wasn’t much of a celebration by an emotionally spent team.
“I don’t remember crying this much other than maybe the day I was born,” defensive lineman Marcus Spears said. “With Josh’s situation and Jerry being gone, you felt it.”
Players couldn’t keep the tragedy out of their thoughts during the game, finding their minds wandering on the bench.