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Dallas Cowboys' errors give Baltimore Ravens the win

On a day when the Dallas Cowboys did so much right, their leaders still made critical mistakes in key moments. These are the Cowboys for better or worse: sloppy, maddening, talented and unlucky.

The Baltimore Ravens won 31-29 on Sunday in large part because the Cowboys couldn't quite overcome all their mistakes.

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Dez Bryant caught 13 passes for 95 yards and two crucial late touchdowns in one of the best performances of his NFL career. But Bryant also dropped a two-point conversion pass that would have tied the score at 31 and likely sent the game to overtime.

Given another life after recovering an onside kick, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett took his turn shrinking in the big moment.

The Cowboys had roughly 20 seconds left in the game after Tony Romo hit Bryant on a 1-yard pass. They could have called their final timeout to try to move closer for a potential game-winning field-goal try. They could have called two plays in the huddle, rushed to the line and got off another play. They could have spiked the ball.

Instead, the Cowboys hesitantly lined up, wasting valuable clock. Romo didn't know what to do. Jason Garrett didn't know what to do. There was no plan, no calm -- just confusion.

Ultimately, the Cowboys just took a timeout with six seconds left after not running a play. Because when you have the chance to set up Dan Bailey for a 51-yard field goal, you have to do it.

Bailey missed. Dallas lost.

"I am sick about losing this game," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told The Associated Press. "This is a very tough place to play. We made our share of mistakes, but I thought we had a shot to win at the end."

The Cowboys indeed looked like the better team all afternoon. They played valiantly in the fourth quarter to nearly pull off an 11-point comeback. When push comes to shove, however, they just can't get out of their own way.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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