Miami at Dallas

Buehler makes case, kicks winner for Dallas wire reports

ARLINGTON, Texas -- David Buehler was going to be on the Dallas Cowboys this season, even if it was only to keep whacking kickoffs deep into the end zone.

Now the Cowboys feel good about him kicking field goals, too.

After not getting a chance for two weeks, Buehler made kicks from 51, 45 and 40 yards -- all with plenty of room to spare -- then nailed a 31-yarder as time expired to lift the Cowboys past the Miami Dolphins 27-25 in the preseason finale Thursday night.

"We've got us a kicker!" crowed Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, hoping to avoid a repeat of last year's woes.

"What a game he had," added Dallas coach Wade Phillips. "No matter what you say, the last kick to win the game is pressure in any game. I think that inspired our whole football team."

Even Buehler feels inspired. This was his first last-second, game-winning field goal on any level.

"I'm glad I had the performance I did today and I'm glad I had the opportunities I had today," said Buehler, who was 6 of 7 the first two preseason games but became a curiosity as the 0 of 0s mounted. "Going into the regular season, I couldn't have had a better game to get ready."

Third-string quarterback Stephen McGee also gave the club reason to believe, throwing a perfect 43-yard touchdown pass to Sam Hurd against Miami's starting defense, then leading Dallas on a go-ahead drive midway through the fourth quarter, then again in the final 2 minutes.

McGee played the entire game, with Tony Romo and Jon Kitna watching from the sideline. He misfired on some relatively easy passes, but last year's fourth-round pick almost certainly secured a roster spot. He was 27 of 42 for 304 yards with a sack and no turnovers. He had a quarterback rating of 93.8.

"I've had a lot of critics, people who've told me I can't do whatever, so there was a lot of pressure on me to perform," he said. "I know in my heart how good a quarterback I am."

The Cowboys (3-2) used only one likely starter, fullback Deon Anderson, but held their own while the Dolphins (2-2) used many of their starters into the second quarter.

Dallas reserve linebacker Victor Butler showed how much he's learned after playing behind DeMarcus Ware last season, swatting two of Chad Henne's passes, then sending him to the bench for good with fumble-causing sacks on consecutive plays.

"When you get a chance to show what you can do against the other team's 1s, it makes you better in the coaches' eyes," Butler said. "So when D-Ware needs a blow, you can come in and the defense doesn't miss a beat. That's what you want to do as a backup in this league."

Henne was 6 of 11 for 53 yards. He led three drives, reaching the Dallas 7 on the opening series before settling for a 28-yard field goal. He also saw Ricky Williams go 42 yards up the middle on one of his two carries.

"We definitely wanted to improve on last week against the Falcons and I think in some areas we did," Henne said. "We scored points on the first drive there, but obviously we want touchdowns. We need to protect the ball and score more points."

Chad Pennington was 7 of 10 for 40 yards, including a 2-yard touchdown pass to Brian Hartline that put Miami up 10-7.

Tyler Thigpen played the second half and was 10 of 18 for 160 yards and an interception. He also made things pretty interesting at the end of this meaningless game, when it was being contested almost entirely by deep reserves.

On his final two drives, Thigpen racked up 15 points, snatching the lead both times. He took the Dolphins 63 yards in eight plays, then 72 yards in seven plays, capping both with short touchdown passes. The latter was capped by a 2-point run.

McGee came through in the clutch, too.

He took Dallas on a 64-yard touchdown drive also capped by a 2-point conversion run, then a 70-yarder that ended with Buehler's winning kick.

"We know there are things we have to get better at," Miami coach Tony Sparano said. "I know that. I just can't trust that we're going to put these [questions] to be bed."

Tony Romo and the rest of the Cowboys' first-teamers suited up and went through warmups, then watched from the bench. They enjoyed this one more than any since the opener, between all the big plays and the fact the starting offense wasn't out there struggling to score.

Before the game, Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland and Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant shook hands and spoke for about a minute, seemingly having patched things up since Ireland asked during a pre-draft interview whether Bryant's mother was a prostitute. Ireland already had apologized, but this was their first face-to-face meeting since.

  • Miami's Jake Long, the starting left tackle, left with a knee injury. He was treated on a table behind the bench and didn't return.
  • The Cowboys didn't have any injuries. Rookie safety Akwasi Owusu-Ansah walked away from a punt return in which he was clotheslined and lost his helmet, then later intercepted Thigpen.
Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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The Cowboys have themselves a kicker as David Buehler hits three field goals, including the game-winner. (AP)
The Cowboys have themselves a kicker as David Buehler hits three field goals, including the game-winner. (AP)


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Thurs. Sept. 2Final
Pass: T. Thigpen (10-18, 160) S. McGee (27-42, 304)
Rush: R. Williams (2-45) C. Gronkowski (2-4)
Rec: R. Wallace (3-59) K. Ogletree (6-51)
Scoring Summary
FGDan Carpenter, 28 Yd, 7:18. Drive: 12 plays, 46 yards in 5:41.
TDSam Hurd, 43 Yd pass from Stephen McGee (David Buehler kick is good), 11:18. Drive: 4 plays, 54 yards in 2:08.
TDBrian Hartline, 2 Yd pass from Chad Pennington (Dan Carpenter kick is good), 1:00. Drive: 11 plays, 80 yards in 5:28.
FGDavid Buehler, 51 Yd, 0:00. Drive: 8 plays, 49 yards in 1:00.
FGDavid Buehler, 45 Yd, 8:33. Drive: 10 plays, 41 yards in 5:16.
FGDavid Buehler, 40 Yd, 5:38. Drive: 8 plays, 33 yards in 2:47.
TDMarlon Moore, 3 Yd pass from Tyler Thigpen (Dan Carpenter kick is good), 12:03. Drive: 8 plays, 63 yards in 3:03.
TDnull, 1 Yd run ( Run for 2 Pt. Conversion), 5:40. Drive: 12 plays, 77 yards in 6:23.
TDRoberto Wallace, 6 Yd pass from Tyler Thigpen (Lex Hilliard Run for 2 Pt. Conversion), 2:22. Drive: 7 plays, 72 yards in 3:18.
FGDavid Buehler, 31 Yd, 0:00. Drive: 9 plays, 75 yards in 2:22.
T. Thigpen10/1816021
C. Henne6/115300
C. Pennington7/104010
R. Williams245042
T. Thigpen32009
P. Cobbs312010
R. Brown41005
C. Pennington110010
L. Hilliard3504
R. Wallace359131
D. Bess542017
M. Moore431118
J. Nalbone130030
B. Hartline320113
P. Cobbs111011
A. Fasano111011
L. Hilliard1808
B. Marshall1606
R. Brown1303
R. Williams1303
S. McGee27/4230410
C. Gronkowski2402
T. Choice4102
S. McGee2-101
K. Ogletree651015
S. Hurd247143
T. Choice134034
M. Bennett219012
C. Gronkowski1303
Complete Player Stats
Other Games
BUF 23 Final
DET 28
CIN 30 Final
IND 28
NE 17 Final
NYG 20
ATL 9 Final
JAC 13
NYJ 21 Final
PHI 17
CAR 3 Final
PIT 19
CHI 10 Final
CLE 13
TB 24 Final
HOU 17
GB 13 Final
KC 17
DEN 24 Final
MIN 31
BAL 21 Final
STL 27
NO 24 Final
TEN 27
WAS 10 Final
ARI 20
SEA 24 Final
OAK 27
SD 14 Final
SF 17