Don't Jump Just Yet


and Drew Brees (90.8). In fact, he threw more fourth-quarter touchdowns over that span than Brady, Manning, Roethlisberger and Philip Rivers, and was intercepted less than Rivers and Brees. And if you have been brave enough to open your mind some, Romo has engineered nine fourth-quarter comebacks and 10 game-winning drives.

So there.

See, here is the deal with Romo: He doesn't have this stuff happen to him in Kansas City or Tampa or Cleveland. Oh no, he's got to go Broadway with his, national television and playoffs, too. I mean, I've actually heard people scream those types of things never happened to Troy Aikman, and the comment even made Aikman chuckle this week, because he understands how legends grow the further removed they become from the game, and could cite several occasions his boo-boos cost the Cowboys a game.

He also is realistic enough to know Romo had nothing to do with that punt blocked and returned for a touchdown; nor the Jets victimizing the Cowboys' fifth corner on the roster for a 26-yard touchdown reception to pull within seven; nor Miles Austin turning in on that second-and-goal pass from the two instead of out for what surely would have been a touchdown the play before Romo's mad-scramble fumble; nor the poor offensive pass interference call on Jason Witten that cost Austin a 22-yard reception on the final drive that would have moved the ball to the 42 with 19 seconds remaining and just 20 yards from David Buehler's makeable range.

Now hear me out: This young offensive line up against supreme competition played well enough for the Cowboys to pile up 390 total yards, the league's 10th best offensive output the opening week, and sixth best passing performance (326 yards). And I mean, these were supposed to be the J-E-T-S, Jets.

The defense that supposedly needed time to learn Ryan's scheme, slammed the door on the Jets, giving up just 17 points if you pin another seven on special teams and the final 3 on the offense giving up the ball at the Cowboys 34 with just 59 seconds remaining. Those football runnin' dudes now from Florham Park, N.J., only moved 45 yards on the ground in 16 carries. And they did all this offensive business with at times the Cowboys fourth and fifth corners working on the first team and their third safety coming in on nickel downs.

You saw fine individual performances by some young guys, maybe even budding stars: Tyrone Smith, Phil Costa, Barry Church, Danny McCray and Sean Lee, whose 15-tackle, one-interception, one-fumble-recovery performance is a mere continuation of the last season when he finished with 22 tackles and two picks in the four games he appeared in over the final five.

Encouraging? Totally.

Want another? As opposed to when the Cowboys went 1-7 over the first half of last season and lost those seven by an average of 12 points a game - the final two by 18 and 38 - the Cowboys have now gone 5-4 under first-time head coach Jason Garret, and have lost those four games by an average of 2.5 points - and none by no more than 3. Been in every game.

Now if any of this stuff that has you mad as hell starts trending, then go ahead, grumble all you want. But sometimes it's best, at least after all of one game, not to base all your decisions - and emotions - on microcosms and start flying out the windows. Think big picture. Isn't that what they tell us about our 401K plans? (OK, maybe not a good example.) Er, maybe the better analogy is think raising kids.

As Jenkins said earlier in the week, "It was a good start for us, but we didn't finish the way we wanted to finish.

"But we showed our heart."

So as we move on to all of Game 2, let's see if the Cowboys can add another 5 minutes, 8 seconds to last week's performance. Let's see if the Cowboys can compound the good from Game 1 and learn from the five minutes of bad. Let's get further proof in San Francisco to judge if they are what you thought they were.

But for goodness sakes, chill if you need to chill, and remember as Garrett says, "Last year is last year, and really last week is last week, yesterday is yesterday, and you heard me say this before and I believe it from the bottom of my heart, control what you can control, that's your practice today, your meeting today, your walk-through today. ... I think if you spend too

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