The Cowboys Report

Cowboys win 2 in a row; playoff matchup with Seahawks up next

Dak Prescott and the Cowboys are in the playoffs. Tim Warner/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys (10-6) beat their divisional rival New York Giants (5-11) in a close game on Sunday by the score of 36-35. Even though the Cowboys couldn't improve their playoff position they played hard the entire game and came away with a last minute come-from-behind win.

Dallas sat several key players like the NFL's leading rusher Ezekiel Elliott, offensive lineman Zach Martin, and Tyron Smith (OL), which opened the door for other players to show off their talent. Despite Zeke sitting out the game, he still wound up winning the rushing title with 1,434 yards. Rookie Saquon Barkley ended up second with 1,307 yards and Todd Gurley was third with 1,251 yards as he also sat out his game on Sunday.

Quarterback Dak Prescott played the entire game and ended up going 27 of 44 for 387 yards, 4 touchdowns, and NO turnovers. With Elliott out of the game, the Cowboys were relying on back up running back Rod Smith to carry the load.That did not work well, which led to Prescott throwing the ball over 40 times.He connected with nine different players, most notably tight end Blake Jarwin who caught seven balls for 119 yards and three touchdowns. Jarwin has come on as of late as he has taken over for the injured starting tight end Geoff Swaim. He has had 20 catches over the last four games for a little over 300 yards.

Once again, the Cowboys defense was great. They held to Giants to seven points in the first half before they put it in cruise mode. They caused two turnovers and one sack. Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch led the team in tackles again with nine (three solo) but left the game early in the fourth quarter with a lower leg injury and luckily has turned out to be a shin bruise.

With Dallas locked into the four seed, they will be hosting the five seed Seattle Seahawks this weekend. If the Cowboys win, their next game all depends on what happens in the Eagles vs Bears game. If the Bears win, Dallas will be heading to New Orleans to play the Saints in the divisional round. If the Eagles win, Dallas will be going to Los Angeles to play the Rams.

3 Players to Watch

1.Ezekiel Elliott (Running back): The NFL's 2018 rushing title winner has a semi-favorable matchup this week. Seattle is the 13th best rushing defense and Zeke could exploit that if the Cowboys can get him the ball on good play calls.

2.Leighton Vander Esch (Linebacker): Finished the season as the NFL's third leading tackler with 140. He is going to have his hands full this week as he will be going against Pro Bowl QB Russell Wilson and the No. 1 rushing offense in the league.

3.Blake Jarwin (Tight end): This second year player out of Oklahoma State seems to have good chemistry with Prescott and looks to be his security blanket. He has been the Cowboys leading pass catcher in two of the last three games and could be in for another big day as he goes against Seattle's 17th ranked passing defense.

The Cowboys (10-6) will be hosting the Seattle Seahawks (10-6) on Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX (AKA:Jerry's World). Kickoff is set for 7:15 pm Central time and looks to be one of the better games of the weekend. Both teams play the same type of style, they both are run heavy offenses that occasionally take deep shots down the field on play action fakes and rely on the defenses to keep them in games.This game is going to come down to whichever quarterback plays best and doesn't turn the ball over.

For you gamblers out there, the Cowboys are -2.5 and the over/under is 43.5. With the Cowboys being 7-1 at home this season and Seattle usually not being as good on the road as they are at home, I would play Dallas at any number 3 or under.

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I met James Arthur Harris a pretty long time ago, it had to be before 2001, because I was at the gate waiting for his flight from New Orleans to land. I was supposed to pick him up, drive him to the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza on Loop 610, wait for him to change into his work clothes, and get him to the George R. Brown before 3 p.m.

I had never met him, but it would be easy to pick him out in the line of passengers filing off the plane. He'd be the big guy, 6 ft. 7 and weighing more than 400 pounds. Because our schedule was tight, I was hoping he wasn't already in his work clothes. You'll understand why.

When Harris worked, he wore a leopard loin cloth, bare feet, bright painted stars and moons on his huge pot belly, and white face paint under his scary witch doctor mask. He also carried a spear and shield.

James Harris, who died this week at age 70 from COVID-19 complications, performed in wrestling rings around the world as Kamala the Ugandan Giant. Or Kamala the Ugandan Head Hunter. This day, he came to Houston to sign autographs at TriStar Sports memorabilia shows.

"Kamala was a huge draw to our shows in the '90s. His character was mysterious and intriguing. Fans lined up to get his autograph and pose for photos with him. He was one of our biggest draws," said Tristar senior vice president Bobby Mintz.

I checked Harris into the Crowne Plaza and waited in the lobby while he went upstairs to take off his shoes and socks, paint stars and moons on his belly … and become Kamala the uncivilized cannibal from the jungles of deepest Africa.

You couldn't get away with this stereotyped character today. But this was then, and Kamala was one of the hottest performers in the wrestling world.

You should have seen the looks on people's faces when the elevator door opened, and out came Kamala, in full ring regalia. We got into my car and made it to the George R. Brown in time for his autograph session. The line already was 100 wrestling fans deep. I sat next to Kamala for three hours, muttering grunts and nonsense sounds because, of course, Kamala did not speak English.

James Harris was born and died in Mississippi. He broke into pro wrestling in 1978 under the name Sugar Bear Harris. He also wrestled as Ugly Bear Harris, The Mississippi Mauler and Bad News Harris.

It was Jerry Lawler, owner of Memphis independent wrestling scene in the early '80s, who gave Harris his new gimmick and name Kamala. He would be billed as Kamala the Ugandan Giant, former bodyguard to the brutal dictator Idi Amin. Lawler picked the name Kamala after the capital of Uganda. Actually, the capital of Uganda is Kampala. It doesn't matter.

Kamala was money, as they say, he put butts in seats. He used a devastating karate chop to opponents' heads and pinned them, 1-2-3. Soon he was hired by Mid-South Wrestling, where the circuit included the Sam Houston Coliseum in Houston. In 1986, he became a main event wrestler for the WWE and headlined shows against Hulk Hogan coast-to-coast.

As we sat at the autograph show, one of my jobs was to assure young fans that Kamala was really a nice person, so don't be scared.

That night, I threw my one and only dinner party. I invited about 20 people to meet Kamala. I prepared a casual buffet, the main course was lasagna. I had two large trays, one with vegetable lasagna, one with sausage and ground beef.

The guests showed up, and Kamala posed for photos and signed autographs. He let my friends wear his witch doctor mask. He hoisted some of the guests and pretended he was body slamming them for their photos. He was the most gracious and gentle giant you could imagine. Until …

I was taking the lasagna trays out of the oven. I brought Kamala into the kitchen so he could eat first, and return to mingle with the guests. I asked him, which would you like, vegetable or meat lasagna? He said meat, and picked up the entire tray, sat at the kitchen table and ate the whole thing. I told the other guests, eat lots of garlic bread.

Kamala retired from wrestling full-time around 2000. He bought a truck and hauled gravel, asphalt and dirt from Mississippi across the southern U.S. If he knew a town had an independent wrestling show, he'd re-route his route so he could pick up extra money dusting off his Kamala persona for one night. That's how he made an appearance at the Texas All-Star Wrestling show in Humble in 2003.

Kamala fell into bad health with diabetes and high blood pressure. He had both legs amputated. Despite headlining wrestling shows around the world, Kamala never earned much money. In his later years, he made wood chairs near his home in Oxford, Mississippi. He also recorded an album, Kamala's Greatest Hits: Vol. 1, and wrote his autobiography, Kamala Speaks.

After the dinner party, which did not make Maxine Mesinger's society column in the Chronicle, something I'm still bitter about, I drove Kamala back to the Crowne Plaza. I told him, be in the lobby at 9 a.m., we'll get breakfast on our way to the airport. I asked him, what would you like for breakfast. Pancakes? Bacon and eggs? Fruit?

He said, and I'll never forget this, "When it comes to food, I isn't choicy."

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