With three weeks all done, there is a new leader in your NFC East clubhouse and that would be your Dallas Cowboys, ladies and gentlemen. The St. Louis Rams visited Dallas Sunday afternoon, came and went with hardly a noise and leave the Cowboys alone atop the divisional perch at 2-1. Unlike last week, there are a plethora of bright spots to be reviewed after such a dominating performance. This week, the “Game Balls” will be tough to choose from given that many players could receive a game ball. While there weren’t that many “Close Calls,” from a fan’s perspective, I wouldn’t have it any other way though.
OFFENSIVE GAME BALL
Honorable Mention: The entire offensive line, Tony Romo
Sep 22, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray (29) scores a touchdown while being tackled by St. Louis Rams strong safety T.J. McDonald (25) in the second quarter of the game at AT
Boy, does DeMarco Murray’s eyes light up when the Rams are in the building. The last time he faced a St. Louis defense in AT&T Stadium, he eviscerated them for 253 yards and a touchdown on the way to a blowout 34-7 win. Sunday, he decided to replicate that as best as possible, going for 175 yards on the ground and another 28 receiving with a touchdown to help Dallas win 31-7. Even though Murray did have pretty open running lanes, he still hit them hard and showed some flash and pop to his runs. Yesterday really showed his all around talent as a runner and he had a few breakaway runs, displayed a few physical carries and got his lone touchdown with a patient run that required speed to the edge as well. Maybe it’s just the Rams, but if this is the DeMarco Murray that Dallas will have all year, there could be big things ahead for this team.
The offensive line as a whole held up extremely well. Obviously producing a ground attack that nearly ate up 200 yards would be sufficient enough to laud them, however they also pass protected well. Tony Romo had all kinds of time, only being sacked once and pressured three times total. Speaking of Romo, he was his normal self which will almost always get him a spot in the honorable mention tab. Romo went 17 for 24 (which actually reduced his completion percentage on the year), for 210 yards and 3 touchdowns. The prettiest of which was the perfectly placed laser to Dwayne Harris early in the fourth quarter.
DEFENSIVE GAME BALL
Honorable Mention: Justin Durant, Barry Church
Sep 22, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford (8) is sacked by Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Ware (94) in the first quarter of the game at AT
While Ware did not do anything special (for him), the game ball goes to him essentially because of that. You never want to take greatness for granted and I certainly refuse to do so. DeMarcus feasted on the Rams offensive line for two sacks, pushing his season total to four but more importantly his career total to 115 to become the all-time leader in sacks for the franchise. Ware led the entire defensive line, posting six tackles (three for loss), and two other quarterback hits in an assault on Sam Bradford. In total, the Rams quarterback was dropped six times on the day, much of which was due to the pressure of Ware.
Justin Durant had an impact on keeping the Rams run game quiet with six tackles and forcing the only turnover of the game, chasing down and stripping WR Chris Givens. Barry Church had an all-around great game and set the tone early in the game putting a huge hit on Rams TE Jared Cook on the first third down attempt of the game, forcing a punt.
SPECIAL TEAMS GAME BALL
Honorable Mention: None
Sep 8, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys punter Chris Jones (6) on the bench during the game against the New York Giants at AT
Jones kept the Rams in poor field position all day, placing three of his four punts inside the 20 yard line and averaging almost 49 yards per punt. Thanks to Jones, the Rams started their possessions after his punts on the 6, 12, 13 and 20 yard lines. Two of his efforts resulted in three and outs by the Dallas defense, one of which produced points on the very next drive for the offense.