By Will Martin
Last summer I joked that the Dallas Cowboys did nothing to help their cause when injuries to Sean Lee and some other key players would hamper a team with a potentially good offense line.
Of course if Tony Romo was not 100% the key would be to make sure he hands off the ball to DeMarco Murray and often!
The New Orleans Saints (1-3) have had the Cowboys number since 1999. Eight wins in nine tries.
Go ahead and count me as one of the many who thought that the Saints were going to wipe the floor with the defensive secondary of the Dallas Cowboys.
Apparently somebody didn’t read the memo about playing a team with Rob Ryan as their defensive coordinator.
This game was without a doubt the best game, the most complete game the Dallas Cowboys have played under Jason Garrett and since the glory days of the 1990’s. Dallas simply rolled over the WhoDats by a score of 38-17. In essence erasing the memory of an embarrassing loss in Louisiana last fall.
DeMarco Murray ran for 149 yards and two scores. Tony Romo went 22 for 29 for 262 yards, three touchdown passes and even scrambled on a play for 21 yards and a first down.
“It makes me feel old and the fact that I haven’t gotten more than 21 yards is pretty pathetic,” said Romo. “But other than that, it feels pretty great.”
Since the win at Tennessee, the Dallas Cowboys continue to show a commitment to the run. That in itself has paid nice dividends as they get to 3-1 for the first time for Jason Garrett.
The tone was set when Dallas ran off a 12 play eighty yard drive which took over seven minutes and Romo found Terrence Williams for a six yard touchdown.
New Orleans began their first drive moving toward the Cowboys end zone but came up short. Shayne Graham would shank a field goal. The crowd of 91,000 inside AT&T Stadium suddenly got louder for the home team.
Dallas would increase the lead to 10-0, then 17-0 and 24-0 before the half. Being able to impose their will upon Sean Payton’s team was surprising. It seemingly all began at the line of scrimmage where Travis Fredrick and Zach Martin were holding court.
Dallas would get a lead of 28 at 31-3 before the Saints tried to mount a comeback of their own scoring twice in the 4th period to pull within 14 points at 31-17.
Then the play of the game which still has many shaking their heads.
Why on earth would you fake a punt and put yourself deep in Cowboys territory.
Drew Brees was 32 of 44 for 340 yards with a pick. Jimmy Graham led all receivers with 86 yards on eight catches.
“There’s not going to be too much good to see in this film,” New Orleans coach Sean Payton said. “We’re 1-3 right now, and that’s about how we’re playing.”
Dez Bryant sent 91,000 fans home happy with the clinching grab on an 18-yard toss from Tony Romo for a 38-17 final score.
DeMarco pounded out another 149 yards on 24 carries without coughing it up. He now joins Emmitt Smith as the only two running backs to have four straight 100 yard games to start a season.
As complete a game as I have seen in ten years. More on this from Tony Romo.
“We are going to be a little tough to deal with just because of our ability to run the football,” Romo said. “We have some guys on the outside that are pretty good players as well. We are just a complete unit. In my time in the NFL, this is as complete a unit as I have been a part of, and I think you can almost simplify the game a little bit. Each week you are going to do some new things but on the other side of the token, you’ve got to run, catch, and throw and if you do those things well you’ve got a chance.”
Power football. Dominating the line of scrimmage. Let’s also not forget one reason that men like Justin Durant and Rolando McClain came to play on Sunday night. Seems Rod Marinelli used the S word on Dallas all week.
Called them Soft. Called the team out in essence.
It worked. This was the most dominant game in all three phases of football I have ever seen played here in North Texas.
Jason Garrett deserves a high five. 3-1 and now get ready to play one tough Houston Texans team next Sunday at 12 noon.
Anybody else get a sense of deja vu when ‘The Shift’ went down at games end?
“That’s one of the signature things of the Coach Landry teams, was the offensive line coming to the line of scrimmage and doing that when Roger said ‘Shift,’ and the backs would shift behind him,” said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett. “That’s an image that we all have. It’s an iconic image in football.”
“There’s great history and tradition in this organization – obviously, the greatest coaches, the greatest players, some of the greatest teams ever,” Garrett said. “It’s something we embrace and our players embrace.”
With a win like this night, on a national scale, in prime time I dare say Cowboys fans young and old can be happy about this win. One that looked and felt dominant and old school.