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Keep On Keeping On

300-yard passing performances. 

That is who they are . . . and have been for 14 games. 

"We don't have to change anything we do," Crayton said. "We've shown we can pass the ball and run the ball. We don't have to run the ball more." 

No, the Cowboys have to run the right routes. They have to continue to protect Romo. They have to catch the ball. And Romo, unlike the Philadelphia game, has to complete more than zero passes in the first quarter; more than five in the first half; and goodness, more than 13 of 36 for the game. 

There is no need for offensive coordinator Jason Garrett to suddenly get gun shy. Do that, and he'll effectively shut down this Cowboys offense before some defense even has to; do that, and he'll take Terrell Owens out of the game faster than any double team; do that, and the Cowboys won't run anywhere. 

Worse, they won't score. 

Yeah, you might be old school, wanting your clean-up hitter to choke up with two strikes. But he ain't up there to hit singles. 

And this Cowboys offense, which has already scored as many as 50 touchdowns for the 10th time in club history (52) and has a chance to score the club's most since 1983 (59) - 60 is the single-season record - doesn't need to start choking up. 

Garrett and Romo need to come out swinging at 7:15 p.m. (CST) Saturday on the NFL Network broadcast - providing, that is, Romo's sore thumb allows him to continue taking full cuts. For two reasons: That's what they do and that, to me, is the easiest way to ground a rookie quarterback, because if you're not scoring points, then Carolina offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson can protect Matt Moore with a high volume of running plays and high-percentage passes. 

But if the Panthers are playing from behind, like two scores behind, then the wraps come off, and that's when a rookie quarterback plays like a rookie quarterback. The Cowboys don't want anything to do with a 13-10 game. 

You know what makes me laugh? Relying on the defense, a heavy dose of running the ball and a conservative passing game is exactly what everyone seemed to hate about Bill Parcells' style of football. Right? Remember the complaints about failing to attack that Seattle injury-depleted secondary in the playoffs? 

"Our pass offense has been pretty prolific this season," Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips points out. 

You're darn right, especially on third down, the money down in this game. Heading into the Philadelphia game the Cowboys were converting 48.1 percent of their third downs. Nine of 13 games they converted at least 45 percent of their third downs. They were mere tenths of percentage points behind last year's single-season high of 48.8, and way out in front of the third best percentage of the 44.6 in 1995. 

But against the Eagles, oh boy, try 1-for-13, a pitiful eight percent, dropping the season's conversion percentage to 45.1, still second best in club history with two games to go. 

"It was like playing Nintendo," Crayton said of that Eagles game. "You hit the button and it keeps flashing red." 

And if you want an offensively mind-boggling stat, consider this: The Cowboys heading into the Philly game had converted 22 of 44 third downs from a distance of 6-10 yards. And, this certainly is percentage defying, 29 of 73, or 40 percent, from 6 or more yards. 

Don't tell me about running the ball more. 

The Cowboys got to 12-1 by throwing, by getting 76 passes to Owens and 88 passes to Witten and another 41 to Crayton. Of their 52 touchdowns, those three guys have accounted for 28. Do you realize the Cowboys didn't even score that many touchdowns in 2001 and 2002 (26)? Nor in 1996, 1990 or 1989? 

Let 'em fly. No sense allowing one game to scare you out of your own skin. 

Because at this point, you are who you are.           

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