Skip to main content

Go Figure These Guys


Can a team really grow, like get better, as the season goes along?

Just like the quarterback? Can he get better in his third full year starting, learning to treat the ball more rationally?

I mean, one week Tony Romo throws for a career-high 353 yards and the next he's intercepted three times and throws for the second-fewest yards in his career.

Yet in Game 3, Romo magnificently managed the game, completing 22 of 33 passes for 255 yards, and even though he was under siege most of the first half, and getting sacked two more times than he was sacked in the first two games (one), he protected the ball as if it were the first one his daddy ever bought him.

"I feel as though each week when we come out here and play the game that there are two things we are trying to do," Romo said. "The first is try and win the game, and that's the No. 1 goal every week. The other part of it is to continue to grow and get better, the process of getting better.

"The season is a long season. They crown champions every September of every year, and October, and every year some other team ends up winning the Super Bowl. We understand that. We've been that team before."

Like get off to a 12-1 start, yet lose the first playoff game. Like get off to a 4-1 start, yet lose three of the last four to finish 9-7 and not even qualify for the playoffs.

So this idea of getting better as the season goes along is a fine one, and maybe after more than this small body of work the Cowboys will develop an identity, one much stronger than the see-sawing that has taken place over the first three games.

"Just stay together as a team and not let anything come between us," said nose tackle Jay Ratliff, who did the honors of recording the team's first sack of the season, helping to prevent the Cowboys from failing to record a sack in three consecutive games for the first time in club history. "It's our team."

Team, right, so at halftime, the players were mad at themselves for trailing 7-0, but no one was complaining about, oh, say the wide receivers combining for only two catches, and this after they combined for just four catches in the 33-31 loss to the Giants in Game 2.

If you know what I mean.

About the only trend this Cowboys team has set in the opening three games is this: They can run the football. They ran for 118 yards in the first game. They ran for 251 yards in the second game. And while having to dip down to their third running back, with Marion Barber held out (thigh) and Felix Jones suffering a strained knee in the game, they ran for 212 more yards against the defensive-minded Panthers, marking the first time the Cowboys have pounded out consecutive 200-yard rushing performances since 1979 when a budding Hall of Famer, Tony Dorsett, was doing the honors.

I mean check this out. Jones only carried the ball eight times, but he had 94 yards. Then the considered third guy, Tashard Choice, puts 82 more yards on the Panthers, averaging 4.6 yards a carry and scoring not only a touchdown but also on a two-point conversion run. And in the meantime, Roy Williams and Patrick Crayton broke out in the second half, while Jason Witten added nine more catches to his team-leading 19, and no one is complaining about him drawing up plays with the quarterback the night before the game.

If you know what I mean.

"Just an overall team victory," Williams said, and with a smile, proud to say so.

Imagine that?

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.