Due to scheduling conflicts, the film review will be an abridged version. Which is actually fine for this week because I could just as easily write Player X – played great. Player Y – played great. Truly, even after watching the game again, most everybody looked just as good as they did live.
QB – Tony Romo. Are you kidding me? Mobility? Check him out avoiding the rush and dumping passes to MB3, JJ and T.O. Accuracy? Try Witten’s TD, or T.O. on the crossing patterns. Game smarts, watch him see the blitz from the slot, yell T.O.’s name (yes, you can actually hear it), and hit him for a TD. Simply put, I’d rate this game among his best. The guy was scary accurate in the game. OK, he did throw a terrible pass to Crayton that was picked off. Here’s a quarter, call someone who cares. Brad Johnson was awesome handing the ball off in mop-up duty.
RB – Again, nothing but excellent play. Julius Jones scored a TD on the ground, ran hard for 56 yards and had some good runs after catching the ball. Marion Barber scored a TD on the ground, ran hard for 57 yards and had some good runs after catching the ball. They were mirror images in this game with contrasting styles. The dynamic duo is getting it done.
WR – Terrell Owens owned this game. From the start, Romo went to T.O. repeatedly and The Player delivered. No drops, no bobbles, breaking tackles, juking defenders and scoring a TD. He was a beast going across the middle and he beat press coverage with a safety over the top more than once. Most of all, when Romo yells his name, he turns his head and looks for the ball. Patrick Crayton was a guy who you can say didn’t have a good game. He had no catches and was basically uninvolved. But when everyone else on offense is getting it done, somebody will be the odd-man out. Crayton’s turn this week.
TE – Jason Witten is a warrior. That catch and run without his helmet is already legendary. Don’t forget his unbelievable body control and hands on his TD catch. But here’s what’s missed by a lot of people, Witten has turned into a fantastic blocker. I had him down for four blocks that sprung good runs and he does it on the edge with a seal block or from the backfield imitating a FB. Anthony Fasano had a couple of good blocks including one on Javon Kearse and he jumped to JJ’s defense when he got a cheap-shot, that’s points in my book. And guess who else makes an appearance, that’s right, star of stage and screen, Tony Curtis. He made a great catch for a TD when he was totally covered.
FB – Ah, the sad news. Deon Anderson was probably having his best game. He didn’t have any catches but he was delivering some excellent blocks and wasn’t bad picking up stray rushers. I have him down for four great blocks that were big in the running game including one on the MB3 TD. But, alas, the Cricket is done for the year, leaving Dallas with a real problem at FB.
OL – They were fantastic. Flozell Adams destroyed Trent Cole in pass protection, rendering him an afterthought. Although one time he got totally beat, but Kosier came out of nowhere to get the block and save Romo. Flo had a few problems with blocks in the running game, but overall had a great game. Kyle Kosier had a few bad blocks in the run game, but when they pull that guy and get him on the edge good things usually follow. The guy pulls really well. Andre Gurode was just solid all game long, except for a couple of blocks towards the end of the game. Gurode’s play this year has been superior. For Leonard Davis I could only find one really bad block all game, and even then Romo made the play anyway. I think we can safely say signing Bigg and moving him to guard was a very shrewd move, regardless of what we paid. Marc Colombo was almost perfect on the day and he looped to the outside on a couple of sweeps and was very effective. By the way, did I mention Romo wasn’t sacked on the day?
Special Teams – Isaiah Stanback showed some promise as a kick returner, running the ball out after halftime to the 37 and setting up field position for a TD. Nick Folk and Mat McBriar were solid, MB3 recovered an onside kick, and the coverage teams were solid.
NT – I actually thought that Jay Ratliff only had an OK game. Quite a few times he got moved out of the middle and the Eagles were able to run through our interior. They were double-teaming him and able to get some movement. He correctly diagnosed a flair pass to Westbrook but stood no chance of tackling him in the open field. On the plus side, he did get one QB pressure and he blocked two passes at the line in garbage time.
DE – Chris Canty is getting better and better as the season rolls on. He batted down a pass in the flats, blew up a run on a 3rd and 1, was strong against the run including a couple of tackles and got a QB pressure. Marcus Spears knocked the ball loose from McNabb but Ware did all the work, Spears was actually blocked on the play, but Ware drove McNabb right to him. He did have a QB pressure but let McNabb escape. He was pretty good against the run, but he only occupies blockers and never makes the tackle. For a guy who said it would all be different this year under Phillips, he looks just like the guy from last year. Jason Hatcher was mostly invisible in the game and Stephen Bowen had one good play blowing up a screen.
OLB – DeMarcus Ware consistently does two things in games. He gets into the backfield and pressures the QB and he plays the run very well. In this game he pushed McNabb right into Spears on the first play causing a fumble. He also cooked Runyan on an up-and-under move forcing McNabb into Ellis’ arms for a sack and he picked up another sack for himself. Oh yeah, he had eight tackles in the game leading the Cowboys. Greg Ellis continues his streak of picking up sacks since he returned to action, getting the aforementioned sack, but Ellis wasn’t quite as active in this game as he was recently. Anthony Spencer had one good play against the run in the backfield but not much else.
ILB – I just have to talk about some of the plays Bradie James made. He recovered the fumble on the first play and he ran step-for-step down the seam for great coverage on a TE. He read the screen when the Eagles were driving with the score at 14-7 and blew up the play for a 5-yard loss, the Eagles eventually punted. He stuffed the run on a 2nd and 3 which Canty followed up by stuffing the 3rd and 1 run. But my favorite play was when he blew threw the line, ran right through the block of the FB and tackled the RB in the backfield. Phenomenal. Akin Ayodele was solid again, but just gets out-shined by Bradie each week. Kevin Burnett was very active this week as the Cowboys went to their dime package often and ended up with a bunch of tackles.
CB – Terence Newman gave up a couple of short passes, got called for a facemask penalty, and dropped a sure INT, but outside of that he looked very good, he seems to be rounding back into form. Plus, he’s a very good tackler. The return of Anthony Henry was pretty successful, it was obvious he was playing a little tentative and was giving up a lot of cushion, so he gave up quite a few receptions. But he never got beat deep and even played one deep ball very well. He wasn’t quite back to his old self, but he looked on the way. Oh yeah, he got another INT, league leader don’t you know. Jacques Reeves had a rough start giving up a few completions and totally missing a tackle that led to a long run after the catch. I don’t mind him giving up a few receptions, every CB does that, but you have to make the tackles. He firmed up though after that and played some good football.
S – Ken Hamlin had the huge INT in the game and you didn’t see much else of him – and that’s good – because it means he wasn’t getting beat in coverage. He did pick up a personal foul, but he had a very good game. Roy Williams was also never really beat in coverage and he had some good run support. Pat Watkins was invisible, but at least he wasn’t getting beat, another good sign. Keith Davis was forced to replace Watkins at the end and gave up a TD, proving that Davis is a special teams guy only, and we love him there.