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Cowboys’ First Home Win Leaves Questions?

Panthers Cowboys Football

The Cowboys came from behind last night at home with a big second-half against the Panthers to garner their first home victory on the season, 21-7.  Although they performed much better in the third and fourth quarters, their inability to get into the endzone from the 1-yard line on two separate drives leaves some concern for most of us. 

The first most obvious question is on the fourth quarter opportunity from inside the one-yard line why not try to run it in at least once, even though Barber was not available for this game, the running game had been doing very well.   The first pass attempt to Roy Williams was actually a good throw by Romo and hit Williams in the hands and should have been caught, but he dropped it.  But to come back with the same play to a different receiver was not the best of decisions by OC Jason Garrett, in my humble opinion.    Tashard Choice is not as big or strong as Barber, but he runs tough as displayed on the later two-point conversion, and he deserved a shot at the endzone. 

The next question is what is wrong with the passing game, if anything.  Romo had one of the first games in recent memory where he didn’t throw a touchdown pass (thanks to the drop by Williams mentioned above) and most people are saying that the passing game is struggling, people like John Gruden and other NFL analysts that is.  The fact is, after the debacle against the Giants, it appeared to me that the Cowboys went with a more conservative approach this game and relied heavily on the running game.  

Although it appeared the passing game struggled to some observers, Witten had nine catches for 77-yards and Williams had four for 75-yards, one a very critical catch that setup the Cowboys for what would be their second field goal and a 13-7 lead.    Other than his catches, Willims made several key downfield blocks like the one on Felix Jones’ 40-yard scamper early in the third quarter.   Romo threw many checkdown passes to his backs and even scrambled twice, an unusual thing for him, to avoid making any errant throws. 

Of course, say what you will about the offense, the defense was the key in the second half.  After not recording a sack or takeaway in either of their first two games, they came up with three of each in this one.    Jay Ratliff got the first sack in the second quarter and Mike Jenkins got the first takeaway, an interception, in the same period.  However neither of these led to any points as the Cowboys went into the break down 7-0 thanks to a two-minute drill by Jake Delhomme that resulted in a touchdown just before the end of the half.  After having a tough game tackling, Terrence Newman made the most crucial play late in the fourth quarter following a Dallas field goal by stepping in where WR Steve Smith should have been and intercepting Delhomme’s pass and taking it in for a quick touchdown.  With the successful two-point conversion run by Choice, the Cowboys took an almost insurmountable lead of 21-7 with just over 5 minutes to play.   Rookie LB Victor Butler then iced the game with two sacks and created a fumble by Delhomme as the Panthers were trying to rally back.   Also worth mentioning is the defense holding the Panthers’ offense to nothing but three-and-outs for the majority of the second half. 

It was a good team win, however you look at it, and the biggest questions are when will Marion Barber and Felix Jones get back in the lineup.  Jones sprained his left knee on his 40-yard run and is to be reevaluated sometime today and Barber, by all accounts,  should be fine after sitting out the week with a torn right quad muscle.

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One Response to “Cowboys’ First Home Win Leaves Questions?”

  1. I agree with everything you are saying, getting Marion Barber, and Felix Jones back in the line up are key things for this next coming week but Tashard Choice is at least picking up a huge slack that will not leave the Cowboys with out a running game.

    I do think how ever that a lot, not all, but a lot of the reason that the Cowboys are not looking as dominant as they should rest on Wade Phillips, the coach gave up the offensive coordinator reigns to Garrent to fix the defensive holes, and in the first 2 games they showed that the Defense did not look any better than they did in preseason. The defense is big and fast and from point “A” to “B” they look great but are faltering on finishing plays maybe they need to get back to basics.

    The Offense by Jason Garret looks clean but I believe they need to balance the attack seems like each series they look like a passing team, or a running team, never balanced.

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