The fact that the Cowboys tested perennial Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey 16 times Sunday - including in the last two throws of the game - has folks scratching their head across the country.
Bailey welcomed the action. The Cowboys completed some short throws in front of him, but Bailey made them pay for coming his way. He picked off a Tony Romo pass in the third quarter, when Miles Austin ran the wrong route in the red zone, and deflected a fourth-down throw to Sam Hurd in the final seconds.
"Please do!" Bailey said when asked about Romo repeatedly targeting him. "That's the only way I get a chance to make plays."
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady wondered what the heck the Cowboys were thinking.
"Late in the game I was watching, and they threw those two slants at the end and I'm just thinking, 'Man, if there's one guy you don't want to pick on, it's Champ,'" Brady said Monday during an appearance on Boston's WEEI radio. "I can't imagine you go into a game thinking, 'Oh, let's really go after this guy, see if he can make some plays.'"
Why test Bailey so often?
"That's not my call, bro," Cowboys receiver Patrick Crayton said.
While walking to a meeting room Monday afternoon, offensive coordinator Jason Garrett declined to answer a question about throwing at Bailey so many times.
"Most passes are reads from the quarterback as for what they're playing and what the open route could or should be," head coach Wade Phillips said.
In the locker room Sunday night, Romo said the Cowboys "got what we wanted" on their final snap of the game.
That was a matchup that pitted No. 4 receiver Sam Hurd (28 career receptions) against Bailey (44 career interceptions). Why would the Cowboys like that matchup on back-to-back plays with the game on the line?
"It wasn't like we specifically said we wanted to attack him," said Hurd, who was on the field because Roy Williams was sidelined by bruised ribs. "It was just we took what they were giving up. Some coaches are scared and intimidated by a guy. But you can't be that way. It's football. We got what we wanted and tried to take advantage of it."
The result was predictable. And this came after Bailey reminded the Cowboys of his ability by making a diving interception on the throw to Austin (23 career catches) early in the third quarter.
"Even when he got the pick down near the goal line I said to myself, 'Probably one of the greatest cornerbacks in history and you choose to throw the ball to his side?'" Denver linebacker D.J. Williams told reporters. "It really didn't make that much sense to me."