Through three quarters, the Cowboys defense had managed to contain Philip Rivers and the high powered Charger offense. They'd held them to only 10 points. Now the score was tied and the Chargers had the ball. But it looked like the defense would contain them. The Cowboys had yet a chance to pull out a victory. But...
When play was over, one player remained crumpled on the field. One Cowboy lay there still, in an unnatural position,unable to move. Cowboy Stadium fell silent. Eerily silent. Deathly silent.
You could have heard a pin drop.
Trainers rushed to his side, followed by emergency medical personnel. A flurry of frightening images followed.
The medical staff restraining the injured player, holding him down, keeping him still. The backboard brought out. And the cart. Jerry Jones sitting in his owner's box, his hands covering his face. His team mates kneeling, huddled together, praying.
Several team mates came over to offer a word of encouragement. Jay Ratliff. Marcus Spears. Tony Romo, walking out from the sideline.
Through it all, the stadium crowd remained silent, holding their collective breath.
Everyone--coaches, players, and fans alike--breathed a sigh of relief when Jay Ratliff turned to the Cowboys bench and gave a thumbs up. He was going to be OK, this cornerstone of the defense, this fourth quarter warrior.
This DeMarcus Ware.
As he was being carted off the field, the injured warrior gave a thumbs up of his own.
As he entered the tunnel, the warrior gave one final sign--this one to his team mates.
With the heart of a champion, he encouraged his fellow warriors, holding up his fingers in the sign of a W.