The 'Boys escaped with a 23-22 victory Friday night against the Texans. The score wasn't indictive of how dominant our starters looked against theirs but at least we got the win.
This was a weird game. A lot of good things (Romo looked sharp, MB3 ran well, Crayton played well) and a lot of not so good things (too many turnovers, special teams still struggled). But overall an improvement from our previous preseason games.
During the regular season, how the Cowboys react to situations -- good and bad -- will determine success.
On Friday, the Cowboys dealt with both.
• The good (defense): Also in the loss to the Chargers, the defense could not handle the "sudden change" after a Danny Amendola fumble on a punt return, allowing a touchdown. On Friday, they held the Texans to 11 yards and a 44-yard field goal by Kris Brown.
• The bad (special teams): Andre Davis opened the game with a 68-yard kickoff return that gave Houston the ball at the Cowboys 37. The coverage looked as porous as the punt coverage against San Diego in the preseason opener.
There are a lot of good things to take from our performance Friday. DC.com's Rob Phillips breaks it down like a fraction.
The offensive line created gaping holes for Marion Barber, who plowed through the Texans' defense for 75 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.
Romo completed 15 of 19 passes for 166 yards and led the offense on two touchdown drives, including a six-yard TD pass to Patrick Crayton in the first quarter. His lone significant mistake was an interception in the end zone with the Cowboys poised to score from the one-yard line.
The defense held Houston to six total yards on its first three series, allowing only a field goal on the opening drive after Texans return specialist Andre Davis ran the kickoff to the Dallas 37. The Texans did finish with 309 total yards, however, thanks in part to 73 second-half rushing yards.
Nick Folk drilled field goals of 48, 41 and 35 yards, adding to his perfect preseason. His second make came after the offense drove 52 yards in the final 34 seconds of the first half.
The team committed only five penalties for 38 yards, including one offensive infraction (five yards for illegal formation).
One of the most exciting things about Friday's game was the play of Marion Barber. He was fierce. He was powerful. He was shifty. He was running people over like Norbit's wife.
He's our Kyra Sedgwick.
Barber as a starting running back. Just what might he deliver in 2008?
In his career as a backup, third-down and goal-line specialist, Barber has averaged 4.5 yards per carry. That ranks right alongside most of the elite backs in the NFC.
Although he has never rushed for 1,000 yards, he's been close. He gained 975 on a 4.8 average in 2007 and earned his first Pro Bowl trip.
His 24 rushing touchdowns the last two seasons rank first in the NFC.
Even the haters (ahem: Randy Galloway) had to admit our stars were right when they said "we'll be fine." Backhand compliments galore from Galloway!
We cut down the penalties but our special teams weren't so special. Nick Folk rocked though!
Terence Newman. Anthony Spencer. Miles Austin. Kevin Burnett. Now Isaiah Stanback and Kyle Kosier. The injury gods have forsaken us.
Harry Williams fractured his vertebra in Friday's game. I'm pulling for ya man.