Offensive Game Balls
I know what you must be thinking…
No game ball for Tony Romo? He threw for three touchdowns, no interceptions, had a passer rating over 138 and restored normalcy to the Cowboys world.
No game ball for Dez Bryant, who singled-handedly turned a three point game into a laugher within seven minutes of game time, by catching six balls for 158 yards and two touchdowns in just one quarter?
No game ball for running back DeMarco Murray who had yet another 100 yard rushing day and added another 31 yards receiving?
Not today. Today is for the big heavies.
While guard Mackenzy Bernadeau and tackle Jermey Parnell are decent backups and capable of holding down the fort for a brief time, the difference when someone is missing from the line is unmistakeable. In the first six games that the line was whole, quarterback Tony Romo was sacked a total of ten times.
After Free’s injury in the Seattle game and Leary’s subsequent injury during the Washington game, Cowboys quarterbacks were sacked eight times in three games. I say quarterbacks, in the plural form, because as we all know, Romo missed a game due to these sacks. Even though backup quarterback Brandon Weeden was only sacked once, to say that he was highly ineffective would be an understatement.
It was not just the quarterbacks who felt the effects of the injuries to the line. After averaging a touchdown per game on the ground through the first six weeks, the Cowboys only scored one rushing touchdown in the following three games. Once the starting five was back intact, Dallas averaged six yards per carry and found the end zone again.
Lastly, it was not all about the numbers. Besides winning this game, the single most important directive had to have been to make sure Romo made it through unharmed. Mission accomplished. Romo was only touched… not sacked, touched three times by a team who was tied for the third most sacks in the NFL coming into this game. The three times that there was contact were mostly due to Romo holding the ball a little too long but none of them were serious enough to draw concern.