Cowboys Eliminated As Backup Quarterback Discovered


The Dallas Cowboys may have lost their 10th game of the season, but they finally found a backup quarterback in former Boise State star Keellen Moore.

Many of you wanted it, and on Saturday night you finally saw it.

Former Boise State Broncos superstar Kellen Moore entered the NFL undrafted in 2012 despite winning some 50 football games at the college level. Having spent his first three seasons riding the bench with the Detroit Lions, Moore found himself released back in September and immediately picked up by the Dallas Cowboys.

Given the state of Dallas’ quarterback mess in 2015, it was not exactly a foregone conclusion that Moore would play his first ever regular-season snaps before the Cowboys were eliminated from NFC East contention.

But then came another horrid performance from Matt Cassel that was so bad that even head coach Jason Garrett had seen enough well before halftime and inserted Moore into an NFL game for his first actual playing time.

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The move had the same type of feel as back in 2006 when Bill Parcells had grown tired of the immobility possessed by Drew Bledsoe and went with a long-term bench warmer named Tony Romo and never looked back.

This is not to say that there was some kind of changing of the guard at the venue formerly known as Cowboys Stadium on Saturday night. In this case, the true starting quarterback isn’t even able to play due to his second collar bone injury suffered this season. Also, Moore is not a guy who’s going to unseat Romo sometime next year or the year after.

Then again, before Saturday night’s tough 19-16 loss to a New York Jets team that looks little like a playoff team itself, I didn’t think Moore could play at all.

Moore was impressive, yet very raw in his NFL debut. His first completion to wide receiver Terrance Williams went for a short loss, but that was mostly the fault of Williams and the defense that the Jets had called on that play. Moore’s second pass was intercepted, a typical blunder made by a still-young first timer that might be on his way to bigger things yet.

All told, Moore threw for 158 yards in two-plus quarters of action but also threw three interceptions, although the last came on an end-of-the-game ‘Hail Mary’ intended to try to get the ball into field goal range with just seconds remaining.

Moore did pick up his first career touchdown pass to Dez Bryant, which helped the Cowboys lead this contest for much of the game.

In the end, it obviously wasn’t enough to keep the Cowboys razor thin playoff hopes alive, but that’s really not the point behind this performance. As far as losing this game is concerned, I’m convinced that the stars simply aren’t lined up for the Cowboys in any way, shape or form this season. I can’t remember any team suffering the kind of luck that Dallas has in 2015 with respect to injuries, narrow losses and zero possessions in overtime despite never having touched the ball on offense in two games.

But you had to like what Moore did in simply getting the Cowboys in position to tie the game at 13-13 down the stretch in the fourth quarter. Moore had to overcome a 1st and 25, which ended up becoming a 4th and 2 before kicker Dan Bailey nailed a 50-yard field goal off the right upright to knot up the score and possibly send the game into overtime.

There’s no question that Moore was able to move the football and spread the ball around some to receivers like Bryant, Williams, Cole Beasley and tight end Jason Witten.

In fact, Moore was just threatening enough to the Jets over-rated defense to keep the chains moving on the ground as running back Darren McFadden was able to reach 100 yards on just 16 carries.

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No, Moore is probably not a future starting quarterback for the Cowboys – or for any other team, for that matter.

However, he might be exactly what the doctor ordered as a solid backup quarterback for a Cowboys team that’ll finish this season no better than 6-10 and will do so primarily because they could win just one game out of 10 so far with backups starting in place of Romo.