ROMO NOT OFF THE HOOK YET
By mark rogers
September 29, 2009
First of all, let me say that I'm very happy the Cowboys are 2-1 instead of 1-2. After last week's loss to the Giants I had a stretch of time when I was hoping we'd go 1-15. I was a little disgruntled.
So I'll admit that I'm happy we're 2-1, but I won't admit that I've jumped back on the Tony Romo bandwagon. In fact, I'm still running wildly in the opposite direction.
He didn't throw an interception. He didn't throw a touchdown. He didn't fumble. He was accurate. He made good decisions. He won.
As I said last week? Big deal.
So he played pretty good in prime time, but he wasn't on network television.
He beat the Panthers, but they're not a division rival.
He made good decisions with the football, but it wasn't the first ever regular season game at Jerry World.
There were 15,000 less people on hand to watch.
You get my drift.
All that being said, my jury is still in deliberation on Romo. The jury made up of all the voices that speak to me during Cowboy games.
And he'll have to have a winning record in December and win a playoff game before they return to the court room with happy news.
An interesting note - Romo and Jake Delhomme had identical completion to attempt numbers (22-33) and threw for about the same number of yards. Delhomme even threw for a touchdown, one more than Romo. But he threw two picks and may not end the year as the Panthers QB. Just goes to show what making poor decisions gets you.
But enough about Romo...let's look at last night's game.
The first half was vanilla and boring. The first time since 2006 that we've gone scoreless in the opening two quarters.
We were average. Carolina was average.
But then something happened...the third quarter.
It was one of the most dominating third quarters I've ever seen from a Cowboys team, current or past.
We scored on three consecutive possessions. Had we scored touchdowns instead of field goals on two of the drives, it would have been 21 points instead of 13.
We did not allow a first down. Three "three-and-outs" is all Carolina managed.
We recorded our first sack of the season. It was Jay Ratliff by the way...have I mentioned that I think he's the best defensive player in the NFL?
It was a great third quarter and the reason we won the game.
Other things that stood out to me - good and bad:
- We had the ball 18 of the first 25 minutes of the 2ND half
- We dominated field position allowing Carolina to start just one possession outside of their 20.
- Mat McBriar had five punts. They were all downed inside the Panther 20.
- We allowed one 3RD down conversion the whole game.
- We allowed less than 200 yards passing and 100 yards rushing.
- We had a receiver catch more than one pass...in fact, we had TWO receivers catch more than one pass...oh happy day!!!
- Our rushing attack gained more than 200 yards in the second consecutive game for the first time since Tony Dorsett was our running back.
- Despite getting injured, Felix Jones averaged 11.8 yards/carry. He's having an MRI on his knee today and will hopefully be just fine.
- We had nine penalties for 80 yards (Flozell Fat-ams had a few, but I'll let them slide since he completely silenced Julius Peppers the entire game).
- We were 1-4 in the red zone...unacceptable. We will not win games against good teams if we can't punch it into the endzone when we get close. Two passes from the one yard line?? C'mon.
- We finally recorded a sack. Jay Ratliff had the first. Rookie OLB Victor Butler had the other two - and forced a fumble.
- Our secondary finally picked off a pass. Mike Jenkins had the first (we were the last team in the league to force a turnover this year). Terrence Newman put the game away in the fourth when he returned his pick for a TD.
Overall, I guess I was happy that we won although I'm still disgruntled about the loss to the Giants.
We play the Broncos on Sunday afternoon in Denver. That will be a bigger test than the Panthers.
And yes, I know how many times I use the word "We" when talking about the Cowboys. Leave me alone about it. It makes me feel important.
12-4 is still possible, however I don't feel as confident as I did before what will forever be known in my memory as "The Opening Day Disaster."