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After two months spent talking and discussing stinging losses, finally we find ourselves writing about a victory. I know, in these cases, after much suffering, the risk is to get carried away, and to exalt beyond measure a result against a team, who is let’s face it honestly, not exceptional. But this has never been the place where dramas are made or are of exaggerated enthusiasm, if you have patience then I will tell you my personal thoughts on a team that, finally, finding its most important man, could play all football phases for which it was built, the one in which commands and others have to chase, in which scores and not left trying to answer.
It’s impossible not to start from Romo’s return. Even here the usual detractors will smile at what I have to say, but it’s clear that Tony is a key player, whose presence affects both the offense and defense. On offense he’s the coach on the field, leads the team from under center, called the plays, assignments, coverages, blitz and changes everything if he can smell a rat. Even yesterday on a day in which he missed a few easy throws, and has thrown two interceptions more like a rookie then a veteran, has been able to pull the magic out of his hat, with lefty throws and precise strikes, distributing the ball among all his receivers remaining firm in the pocket without fear of being hit.
All this on a day when the pass protection had lot of troubles, certainly he’s not Weeden nor Cassel, he’s not happy to dump the ball, he waits for the all routes to develop and so the OL must give him 5 seconds rather than only 3 seconds, and the sack can also occur. But in the meantime it’s a constant threat and opposing defenses can no longer be content to fill the box. And here comes the other aspect that makes us go back to 2014, the balance. The Cowboys yesterday are back to being a balanced team, playing 40 (40!) snap from under center, running in 21 of 29 first downs, gaining traction, eating playing time (38 minutes and 50 seconds), frustrating and tiring opposing defenses.
Meanwhile, our Defense rests, and got to enter into the field to do what they do best, play with the lead, when they have more time to get to the QB and have more opportunities to sack or create turnovers. Yesterday 0 sacks in the first 9 Miami drives when Tannehill could run the ball or simply throw quick passes, 3 sacks in the 4th quarter when he can no longer settle for short gains or quick throws, the Miami QB had to keep the ball in hand longer and leave his WR going deep, and so then came Crawford, Hardy and Lawrence finally in the play that ended the game.
And finally there is that last drive, the true trademark of the Cowboys that we used to know, with the ball taken with 6:29 on the clock and given back to Miami with 1:04, no time outs and 10 points to recover. The best defense is the one that has to stay on the field only 41 snaps, while his offense plays for 68, albeit often from a difficult position of field. Welcome back Dallas Cowboys !
For statistics it’s the 11th consecutive road win for Tony Romo in the regular season, and yet there are those who appreciate him only when missing. A little ‘rust has been removed, but Thursday brings a formidable opponent, the Panthers, with a record of 10-0, with their pass rush even stronger than the one that put us in trouble Sunday. With their unpredictable QB and all the enthusiasm that rightly took with them. After yesterday’s victory and the Redskins and Eagles defeat, the NFC East is still up for grabs, but to do so we’ll need many wins, and the first should arrive on Thanksgiving Day. If in five days we could to make the same number of victories we had over the last two months, then yes, you could really begin to dream of not to be passive couched in December.