Scout's Eye: Romo Put Offense In Bind; Smith vs. Smith Battle

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ARLINGTON, Texas – Here are some quick thoughts from the Cowboys' offense, which never found the end zone until late in the third quarter.

  • I don't believe that Tony Romo's back surgery had anything to do with the way he played today against the 49ers. Physically, he was ready to play this game, but mentally he was not in that first half. When he goes back and studies this game, he will see that he left some opportunities on the field that could have hurt this San Francisco defense. A quarterback that sees the field well and will make the right read, his decisions put this team in a hole that they could not dig out of, and he knows that.


  • I didn't really have a great deal of confidence in the Cowboys' ability to run the ball effectively against this San Francisco defense. Patrick Willis, Ray McDonald, Justin Smith and Ahmad Brooks make it difficult because of their ability to not remain blocked for any length of time. The fact that the offense averaged 5.5 yards a carry I think says a lot about the job that this offensive line was able to do on the 49ers front seven, which over the years has been one of the best at defending the run.
  • Dwayne Harris is usually as clutch as they come in regards to returning punts and his ability to change the field. In his two attempts today, he muffed both opportunities and appeared to struggle tracking the ball in flight. In short, he was a big non-factor.


  • Just one time I would love to see Terrance Williams go up in the air and snatch the ball at the highest point instead of trying to get it to his body. When Romo throws the ball to him going away, he can snatch it all day. But make him adjust in the air and it's a whole different story. He should have made that play along the left sideline against Dontae Johnson in the fourth quarter.
  • In my spot with Cowboys TV this week, I spoke about the matchup between Tyron Smith and Justin Smith and how that would be interesting to keep an eye on. Justin would line up against Tyron on first and second down, and then would move inside to rush out of the nickel. Early in the game I thought that Tyron was able to hold his own against the talented 49ers defensive end when it came to run blocking, but as the game wore on, he was not as clean as he needed to be, technique-wise, and there appeared to be more struggles. To block Justin, you almost have to [embedded_ad] block him after the whistle to finish him off because if you don't, he will not quit on the play. Like these coaches, I will study the tape to get a better idea, but it appeared that this wasn't one of Tyron's best games.
  • Great teams have depth and are able to use it to win games. With an already depleted group in the front seven, the 49ers lost their two starting cornerbacks in the first quarter but didn't miss a beat. Both Tramainie Brock and Chris Culliver were injured and Perrish Cox and Dontae Johnson came into the game to take their place. Cox had a beautiful interception down the field in coverage on Dez Bryant where he was in perfect position in the route, never allowing Bryant the ability to go get the ball. To their credit, both Cox and Johnson were able to hold these Cowboys receivers in check for the majority of this game.
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