A Very Grounded Victory

running the ball no matter who Mike Shanahan has employed to do so over the past 12 seasons.

"We found the ball in the running game, and that's hard to do against them," Phillips said. "Thought the defense showed some good signs."

Mostly Stop signs.

And then there was the offense. Oh, everyone wants to make an issue at running back. There are no quarterback issues for a change with the Cowboys, so now it's running backs. Julius Jones or Marion Barber?

Who cares?

When you gain 97 yards on 21 carries in the first half, and run the ball into the end zone three times, does it really make a difference who is the lead back and who is the complementary back? Just ride those guys.

And do so behind an offensive line which just might be turning formidable with the addition of big, ol' Leonard Davis lining up next to Marc Colombo, along with Flozell Adams putting more distance between himself and that ACL surgery in 2005, center Andre Gurode exuding more confidence after putting in a full season at center last year and even Kyle Kosier putting his best foot forward at left guard.

Plus, remember this: Adams and Colombo only played the first quarter. That was Pat McQuistan and third-round pick James Marten in there at the tackles for the second quarter with the first offense, and that doesn't even account for fourth-round pick Doug Free, who was playing ahead of Marten in camp before spraining an MCL.

"No. 70 is pretty good - the whole group is good and it was nice to have them all together," Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett said.

The Cowboys just seemed to be rolling in the first half, and really, it didn't matter if Jones was running the ball (31 yards) or Barber (57 yards) - or for that matter, in the second half Tyson Thompson (75 yards).

"He made a difference in the offensive line," Jones said of Davis. "He just gives you that steady power in there - a presence on our offensive line. And the protection. They didn't come near (Romo). "

Now I don't know if this is coincidence or not, but when the Cowboys began fading down the stretch last season, losing three of their last four games, and everyone quick to say Romo struggled down the stretch, well guess what?

The Cowboys struggled to run the ball.


Look, Jones had that 77-yard run against the Saints, right? They only rushed for 39 other yards that day. Oh, they rushed for 94 against the Falcons, hmmm, a win, but then threw down only 83 against Philly and a measly 58 against the Lions - the Lions for gosh sakes.

Think there is any correlation between Romo playing well and the Cowboys running the ball? Think there is any correlation between winning games and then giving up at least 126 yards rushing in four of the final five games, including a depressing 204 to the Eagles?

There are just some basics in this game of football you must respect and can not ignore. Run the ball. Stop the run.

How grounded is that?

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