They called him Almost Anthony. He was always near the ball. Always close. He almost got a sack. He almost got an interception. But he was never quite there. Almost, but not quite.
The Cowboys had struggled offensively all game. They'd been able to move the ball well, but couldn't quite get it into the end zone. They marched the length of the field, only to fumble on the 12 yard line. They'd gotten into field goal range, only to have Nick Folk miss a chip shot. They'd gotten close again, only to have Tony Romo throw a pick.
It was the defense that was their salvation. They'd held the arch rival Washington Redskins to only 6 points. Two field goals. They'd stood strong all game. It was the offense who seemed to be crumbling. The running game was moving the ball, but couldn't seem to put points on the board. The passing attack had been completely shut down, both by the Redskins defense and Roy Williams ineptitude. For three and a half quarters the Cowboys had been shut out.
At last, at long last, the offense came alive. They drove down the field and scored the game's only touchdown --a 12 yard pass to Patrick Crayton. And Cowboys fans rejoiced.
Then they groaned. There were still more than two minutes on the clock. The defense had let them down twice before when the offense had taken the lead late in the game. In both the Giants game and the Broncos game, the offense had won the game, only to have the defense allow a last second score by the opponents. Would they hold up this time?
It didn't seem so. The Redskins began moving the ball efficiently down the field. It seemed that they would easily get into field goal range and kick the game winning field goal --just as the Giants had done.
Stephen Bowen tipped a Jason Campbell pass, and Anthony Spencer came down with the ball. An interception, and at just the right time, too. It was Anthony Spencer who'd made that interception. It was Anthony Spencer who was the hero of this game. More importantly, it was Anthony Spencer who'd finally shed his unfortunate nickname.
He is Almost Anthony no more.