FanPost

Grinding

Felix Jones gained 3 yards and 4 yards on his two carries. Dez Bryant lost 11 yards on a reverse.

Why are those three plays being highlighted?

Those three plays netted -4 yards. Those three plays were also the only three plays where neither Tony Romo nor DeMarco Murray was involved.

Tony Romo was sacked three times, losing 7 yards, 8 yards, and then 14 yards (although a flagrant face mask call awarded the Cowboys a first down and netted Dallas one yard). Otherwise, the rest of the plays were as follows:

Player

Play

Yards

-------

Player

Yards

Receiver

DeMarco Murray

Rush

1

Tony Romo

3

Hanna

DeMarco Murray

Rush

3

Tony Romo

21

Harris

DeMarco Murray

Rush

4

Tony Romo

11

Vickers

DeMarco Murray

Rush

2

Tony Romo

5

Witten

DeMarco Murray

Rush

4

Tony Romo

7

Vickers

DeMarco Murray

Rush

7

Tony Romo

4

Murray

DeMarco Murray

Rush

2

Tony Romo

25

Witten

DeMarco Murray

Pass

4

Tony Romo

5

Austin

DeMarco Murray

Rush

1

Tony Romo

11

Austin

DeMarco Murray

Rush

1 (TD)

Tony Romo

5

Harris

DeMarco Murray

Rush

-4

Tony Romo

8

Bryant

DeMarco Murray

Rush

-3

Tony Romo

23

Witten

DeMarco Murray

Rush

5

Tony Romo

6

Murray

DeMarco Murray

Pass

6

Tony Romo

6

Dunbar

DeMarco Murray

Rush

1

Tony Romo

15

Austin

DeMarco Murray

Rush

7

Tony Romo

7

Harris

DeMarco Murray

Rush

2

Tony Romo

6

Bryant

DeMarco Murray

Rush

5

Tony Romo

5

Ogletree

DeMarco Murray

Rush

2

Tony Romo

23

Ogletree

DeMarco Murray

Pass

7

Tony Romo

15

Austin

DeMarco Murray

Rush

2

Tony Romo

27 (TD)

Bryant

DeMarco Murray

Rush

3

Tony Romo

9

Witten

DeMarco Murray

Pass

5

Tony Romo

9

Bryant

DeMarco Murray

Rush

6

Tony Romo

7

Murray

DeMarco Murray

Rush

2

Tony Romo

5

Murray

DeMarco Murray never gained more than 7 yards. Romo had five passes (21, 25, 23, 23, and 27) that accounted for 119 of his 268 yards. Romo completed four other passes that gained more than 10 yards. Those passes (11, 11, 15, and 15) added up to an additional 52 yards.

The Dallas offense had 9 plays out of 70 (12.9% of the offensive plays run in Cincinnati) that gained more than 10 yards. Those plays made up 171 of the 288 total yards gained by the Cowboys offense. The other 61 plays had a net gain of 117 yards, or approximately 1.92 yards per play.

Romo hit big plays (plays of greater than 20 yards) on 9.2% of passing plays. One of those plays was the touchdown to Dez Bryant, while two others went to Witten. Harris and Ogletree brought in the other two long gains.

Despite completing passes to nine different receivers, almost 96% of the offense went through two players: Tony Romo and DeMarco Murray. Considering the struggles of the defense and the dearth of big plays, the success of the team hinged around the ability of Dallas to grind until something positive occurred.

But this edition of the Dallas Cowboys has been grinding all season, and never was it more obvious than this weekend. It started Saturday morning and continued through Sunday afternoon.

Notes:

I found it interesting that Romo's deep pass on third and ten with 52 seconds left in the half netted 55 yards, and was far more effective than any punt delivered by the suddenly impotent Moorman.

Brandon Carr has finally overtaken Sean Lee for the team lead in interceptions. Even on IR, Sean Lee is a force.

Last week, a reverse to Ogletree resulted in a fumble that was recovered by the receiver 8 yards behind the line of scrimmage. This week, there was no problem with the exchange on the reverse, but it fooled nobody and Dez stepped out of bounds 11 yards short of the line of scrimmage. I wonder how many more reverses the Cowboys will try, and how much practice time the team will devote to them.

At first glance it seemed that Nate Livings had about as much positive impact on the game as Adam Jones and Terence Newman. But the former Bengals player came away with the win. One former Bengals > Two former Cowboys?

The NFC East remains the same, but the NFC North looks a little more interesting in regards to the wildcard team. While Chicago has the tiebreaker over Dallas, Minnesota probably will not, and the Vikings are only one game behind the struggling Bears. Seattle looks entrenched as the 5th seed. It is looking a lot like the final game of the season for Dallas may once again be a play-in game.

Speaking of the Redskins, expect the team to eventually announce that RGIII suffered a collateral ligament strain. The typical recovery time is 4-6 weeks, depending upon the severity of the injury. Even if RGIII plays, he will be limited and will need to wear a brace to assist with the lateral support of the knee.

It was not a surprise that so many Cowboys fans were in Cincinnati. That is what happens after countless years of futility. Since the Bengals are an AFC team, the Cowboys have been the popular NFC team broadcast on CBS and then FOX. After fans become disgusted with the local team, the team being broadcast on the NFC channel becomes the popular choice.

Without taking the playoff teams into account, the Cowboys currently have the 20th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.

Reports surfaced from Mike Fisher of 105.5 the Fan prior to the game that Jay Ratliff went nose to nose with Jerry Jones following the game against the Eagles. Now with the unfortunate departure of Josh Brent I wonder if Ratliff will return to the lineup sooner.

Dallas played a lot of four-man fronts defensively in this game. Ryan rotated the linemen frequently, and the defensive coaches did a great job adapting on the fly, as it is doubtful that the Cowboys had a lot of time to implement and practice this new 4-3. Considering the injuries along the defensive front and at linebacker, however, it would not be surprising to see more of this.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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