Although the Cowboys lost to the Ravens Saturday night there were definitely some good signs out of this game. Starting with the first team offense. The offense was one of the top in 2013 and they showed no signs of slowing down in tonight’s game. After a mishandled handoff between Tony Romo and DeMarco Murray that finished with Courtney Upshaw carrying the ball into the endzone things looked bleak. The Cowboys quickly responded with an efficient touchdown drive.
Romo looked in mid-season form, as if he wasn’t coming off back surgery. Romo went four of five and finished with a 31 yard touchdown pass to Dez Bryant. The play was a simple throw for Romo, who quickly recognized the single coverage Bryant was receiving. I expect a lot of those “throw it up in the air” type passes from Romo to Bryant this year even if Dez is double covered. He’s just that good and dominant when the ball is in the air. Dez had a fantastic outing with 59 yards on three catches.
The running game was impressive as well. Murray finished with 34 yards on eight carries. He also had a catch out of the backfield for 21 yards. The backup runners found success too. Joseph Randle led the ‘Boys with 41 yards with seven carries and Ryan Williams finished with 36 yards on five carries. The Cowboys need to stick to the running game if they want to have a chance of winning the NFC East this season. Hopefully Saturday night was a good sign for being the foundation of the offense.
On the other side of the ball, the defense played better than last week but still struggled. The first team offense played well at first against Flacco and company. They caused a three and out on the their first series. However, they gave up a touchdown drive finishing with a 19 yard touchdown pass to Torrey Smith on rookie Terrance Mitchell. I liked what I seen out of second year player J.J. Wilcox. The safety was flying around the field and being very disruptive. He was finding his way around the ball in many plays which is good to see from. His physicality will be much needed in this depleted defense. Another player on defense who caught my eye was linebacker Rolando McClain.
McClain made four tackles on the night and even forced a fumble. He seemed to be playing with a ton of energy which is nice to see from a player who has called in quits numerous times in his short career. The defense still gave up some big plays to this Raven offense but not nearly as much as last week. That simply means there has been improvement and Rod Marinelli will take that with two more games left until the regular season.