Passing Grade

Austin.

In third quarter, the Cowboys went three plays, 79 yards in just 1:17, thanks to a 66-yard touchdown to Roy Williams. Now if that wasn't Romo's best throw of the game, it was his 80-yard touchdown pass to Crayton, on just a two-play, 81-yard drive. That was Romo's longest pass of his career, and the same goes for Crayton, who also had a 44-yard reception in the fourth quarter that set up a Marion Barber touchdown.

But back to that first big play to Crayton. The best part of that was just how demoralizing it was to the Bucs. Tampa was down by 13 points but rallied to get back in the game. They went 79 yards on 11 plays, taking up about five minutes off the clock. They had to get a touchdown and they did, a one-yard run from Derrick Ward.

All of a sudden, it's a game again. The crowd (although half of them seemed to be wearing blue and silver) were back in the game and they were ready for a big three-and-out.

Instead, it was a two-and-out, as in "out of the game."

OK, so I'm not trying to compare a 2009 season opener to an NFC Championship Game, but the way Romo hit Crayton in a "take that" type of play, it just reminded me of Aikman to Harper against the 49ers in the 1992 Championship game. San Francisco had just taken everything it had to score and get back in the game, and just like that, BAM. It's over.

"Basically, the corner just bit on the pump," Crayton said, recalling his touchdown. "I saw him come up and I just said, 'I'm going to keep on running,' and Romo just put the ball on the spot. I kept going and he found me. It was a pretty easy play."

So before we all start calling for the Cowboys to go to the "Run-and-Shoot" maybe we just put this game into perspective. It was one game, and the Cowboys simply took what Tampa allowed them to do.

But that's half the battle right there. Things will get tougher for sure, like next week when the Giants come to town to open up the new stadium. Something tells me it might be tough to run and pass for that game.

But if anything else, the Cowboys showed they can make teams pay for playing them a certain way. And that's something none us really knew heading into the season. We just weren't for sure that this receiving corps and passing game would consistently hurt defenses for putting eight in the box.

Time will tell if they can do it consistently. But for one game they did it, and it was the reason they flew away from Tampa with a win.

Maybe they don't have to be a running offense. Maybe it's not a passing offense. Maybe it's just an effective offense. It certainly was on Sunday.

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