A week earlier, after having defeated the New York Giants at home for the first time since moving into their new digs in 2009, Dallas lost 17-16 on the road to Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs, 17-16. After that disappointment, the 80,848 fans in attendance for Sunday’s game weren’t real sure what to expect.
It didn’t take long for the crowd to realize it was going to be a fun day. On their first offensive possession, the ‘Pokes moved 61 yards in 8 plays, taking 4:52 off the first quarter clock, and scored on a 2-yard TD pass from Tony Romo to Dez Bryant. Dan Bailey added the PAT and Dallas had a lead they would never relinquish.
On their next possession, Dallas chewed up 3:37, and moved 58 yards in 8 plays that culminated with 1 19-yard Bailey field goal and a 10-0 lead with 2:06 left in the first quarter.
Romo had arguably his best performance in years. He engineered another scoring drive that consumed 5:50 off the clock, and moved 67 yards in 10 plays, with the drive capping off with a 2-yard TD run by DeMarco Murray. After Bailey’s point after, the ‘Boys led 17-0 at the half.
Dallas took the second half opening kickoff and moved 80 yards in 6 plays that took 3:21 and found the end zone again. The score was a 24-yard strike to Gavin Escobar. After Bailey’s kick, the Cowboys were up 24-0.
The Rams managed a 75-yard, 13-play drive that took 6:15, and with 3:20 left in the third quarter the lead was cut to 24-7. Sam Bradford hit Austin Pettis from 4 yards out, and Greg Zuerlein added the extra point.
The Cowboys added one more TD in the final quarter to secure the 31-7 victory.
Coach Jason Garrett gave the media his thoughts on his team after the game. “I think offensively, the most important thing we did was to run the ball. I thought we were physical up front with them; we’ve gotten stronger on the offensive line this year. The presence of Travis Frederick, the guy who’s playing guard for us is helping inside.
I thought we did a good job of running the ball throughout the ball game, and I think those guys demonstrated that physical presence. I thought Bill (Callahan) did a good job of calling the game, I thought the balance was good throughout the game and we kept giving DeMarco Murray to run the ball from a lot of different personnel groups and a lot of different formations. We were consistent in running it throughout the game and I thought that was the difference for us on offense.”
“I don’t get into all those comparisons. I know it was a good day for us. You know, we’re going to go back and watch the tape and there are going to be a lot of things we don’t like about this tape. There are certainly were some positives in all three areas that we want to build on, and I thought the demeanor of our football team was really good throughout the game. You know, we fumbled the punt early on, and I thought our defense came out and just responded the right way. I thought they put our whole football team in the right mindset to play the way we needed to play, and we had some success early and we were ahead, but we kept playing in all three phases. It wasn’t the cleanest execution—everything wasn’t perfect, but I thought we played with the right kind of spirit and demeanor, and we showed some relentless nature to our team, really in all three phases of our team.”
The Cowboys will attempt to build on last Sunday’s success this coming Sunday afternoon when they visit Qualcom Stadium in San Diego to take on the 1-2 Chargers. Kickoff is slated for 3:25 PM Central Time. Dallas really needs a victory in California because the following Sunday they return to AT & T Stadium for their toughest test so far in 2013. Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos will be visiting Texas in what should be a battle of epic proportions. Cowboys fans should have a pretty good idea of exactly where their team stands and what their chances of a successful season are after that game. Hopefully, all the personnel and coaching tweaks that were initiated in the off-season will pay off!