ARLINGTON, Texas – The staff writers of DallasCowboys.com shared their initial feelings of the Cowboys' 31-7 win over the Rams at AT&T Stadium.
Tony Romo definitely had a fantastic game, but he was aided by a dynamic rushing performance I'll admit I never saw coming. But honestly, what I had pegged as a shootout turned into a blowout mainly because of a brilliant defensive performance by Dallas. The Cowboys got six sacks, only allowed one third down conversion, forced a turnover and they held the Rams 100 passing yards below their season average. I had no idea this team could rush for almost 200 yards, but I thought the Cowboys would be able to score points. What really surprised me was the lockdown defense. A showing that dominant is impressive regardless of who you're playing. [embedded_ad]
This wasn't at all the game I expected to see. I thought the Rams defense was much improved from the last time these two teams played, and the way the Cowboys had been running the ball recently, I didn't expect to see the rushing game prosper the way it did. The Cowboys absolutely dominated every aspect of the game, and the rushing success allowed Tony Romo to get comfortable the entire day. I expected to see a defensive battle and another game similar to the low-scoring Bucs matchup in Week 3 last year. Instead, this was a blowout from the start, and the defensive pressure continue to come in droves.
When there's a theme of the week, it always seems to go the opposite way. That's really the reason why I thought Murray would go off like that, and it wasn't really because of the Rams. Obviously the Chiefs game was a stinker, but this team has run the ball pretty well at home, including a 193-yard effort on Sunday. As for Harris, it really could've been a touchdown off an interception which would've been scary. Still, Austin's hamstring injury opened the door for more playing time. His touchdown catch from Romo was a great throw, equaling his perfect pass to Gavin Escobar as well. Great win for the Cowboys, a complete game from start to finish.
Felt like the Cowboys offensively would take more shots down the field against these Rams corners. Both Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins were very aggressive in the games that I had seen them play this season and would try a double move or two to make that happen. Instead of playing tight coverage in this game, the Rams defensive coaches went with a lot of zone and these Cowboys receivers were able to take advantage of some simple throws in front of them without having to take those shots down the field, so it worked out well for this Cowboys offense regardless.
Here we're the gut feelings for staff writers Nick Eatman, Bryan Broaddus, David Helman and Rowan Kavner, posted Saturday afternoon.
It appears we're looking at two teams who don't run the ball well and don't defend the pass much better. In a situation like that, I'm going to opt for the better quarterback, not to mention the quarterback with more experience and a home crowd behind him. Tony Romo hasn't had a great game yet this season, and I think he's due if his offensive line can keep Robert Quinn and Chris Long off his back.
I think back to the Bucs game last year in Week 3 and assume we'll see a similar sort of matchup. I don't expect it to be very high-scoring this week, despite the weapons on offense for both teams. This won't be a cakewalk for the Cowboys against the Rams' defense, although I do expect the Cowboys to finally bring down Sam Bradford a couple times. I don't think the offensive balance will be there as much as the coaches are letting on and DeMarco Murray won't set another rushing record, but the offense will feature a heavy dose of Jason Witten and make enough plays on the outside to pull one out.
I know we've talked a lot about this team not running the ball well, but it's really only been in one game. They weren't that bad at all against the Giants and so I think it's too early to determine what kind of ground game they will have. I don't see DeMarco Murray challenging his club record like he did last time vs. the Rams, but I'm predicting half of that. I see 125 rushing yards for Murray and a three-score win by the Cowboys at home. Randomly, I see a touchdown for Dwayne Harris in some capacity.
Despite the fact that Tony Romo is ranked 26th in the league in yards per attempt through two games, expect the football to go down the field against the Rams. Both Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins are gamblers and are not afraid to take chances. These are the types of corners that you take shots on with double moves to see if you can bait them into blowing a coverage. Last week against the Chiefs, Dez Bryant took Brandon Flowers on a "Sutter-Go" in the first quarter that resulted in a 38 yard gain. Look for Jason Garrett and Bill Callahan to have in their offensive plan plays that will allow Romo to move these corners around to take advantage of their aggressiveness.