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Seven Cowboys Stat Nuggets To Feel Good About

As I revel in the warm afterglow of the Texans game, I present some random statistical thoughts and musings:

How the Cowboys have performed historically before and after a bye week. Tony Romo records his 20th road win and joins a very select group of QBs with this and other stats. Why Jerry may have made the right decision with jersey number 88. More good news about the Cowboys defense and more sunshine about the offense.

Something else that was mentioned during the broadcast but bares repeating: The win over the Texans marked the 82nd career regular-season victory for Wade Phillips, which ties him with his father, Bum Phillips, in career victories. Bum Phillips was 82-77 with the Oilers and Saints. Wade Phillips is 82-56 with the Cowboys, Bills, Broncos, Saints and Oilers. Next target: playoff records. Wade is 1-5 in playoffs, Bum was 4-3.

We close our stat nuggets with a quick look at what the numbers say this win means for our projected W/L record this season. Enjoy.

Cowboys & The Bye Week

Since the introduction of the bye week in 1990, the Cowboys have run up an impressive 18-4 record in games preceding the bye. The Cowboys have won seven of the last eight games heading into a bye week. Including the Texans game, the 'Boys have played 11 road games preceding the bye week since 1990, and have a record of 8-3 in those games.

In the game immediately after the bye week, the Cowboys are 16-5 since 1990 and have a record of 5-0 in the last five years.

Road Record

Tony Romo is now 39-19 as a starter. Not many people realize just how successful Tony Romo and the Cowboys have been on the road since Romo was named the starting QB leading into the game at Carolina in 2006. As of Sunday, Romo holds a 20-9 road record. Three of those losses came against the Redskins (06, 07, 10), one each against the Cardinals, Steelers and Eagles in '08 as well as the Broncos, Packers and Giants in '09.

That's a .690 winning percentage on the road. In the Super Bowl era, only Joe Montana's .753 mark (61-20) is better among QBs with at least 20 road starts.

Player Winning % Record
Joe Montana .753 61-20
Tony Romo .690 20-9
Tom Brady .662 43-22
Roger Staubach .655 36-19
Peyton Manning .633 62-36
88, 88, 88

When Jerry gave Dez Bryant the jersey with the number 88, he was basically begging for comparisons with the two previous owners of the number 88, Drew Pearson (1973-83) and Michael Irvin (1988-99). Through his first three games, Bryant has 14 catches for 158 yards. Here's how the 88 trio compare after each of their first three games.

Player GP REC Yds Avg TDs
Drew Pearson 3 3 43 14.3 0
Michael Irvin 3 10 216 21.6 1
Dez Bryant 3 14 158 11.3 1*

And if Bryant's 37-yard TD reception in the second quarter of the Texans game had not been nullified by a penalty, Bryant's numbers would be even more impressive. (*Return TD)

Third Down Machine

Through the first three weeks, the Cowboys have had a pretty stout third down defense. The Redskins were allowed to convert only 3-of-13, the Bears were held to a meager 1-for-11 and the Texans only managed to convert 4-of 9. So far this season, the Cowboys defense has allowed opponents to convert only 8-of-33 or 24.2%. That's more than ten points below last season's average of 35%. Just for reference, no teams since the 2006 Ravens has managed to stay below 30% for the full season.

At 15-of-37 (40.5%) the Cowboys offense has the exact same percentage after three games as they had last season. Add to that a 3-of-4 fourth down conversion rate and the Cowboys appear to be well set to keep drives going, despite the ubiquitous 1st-and-15 or 2nd-and-20 situations.

The irony of what Joe Buck said immediately after the second Roy Williams touchdown did not escape the Cowboys faithful: "Touchdown Dallas. No flags!"

Passing TDs

With the Cowboys struggles out of the gate this season, it's easy to overlook just how prolific this offense has been in terms of scoring, not just yardage, over the last four seasons. In fact, since 2006, Tony Romo has amassed the fourth most passing TDs of any QB in the league. And despite a persistent reputation as somewhat of a gunslinger, his TD/INT differential also compares favorably to his peers.

Passing Touchdown Leaders since 2006
Player TDs Games Started
Peyton Manning 131 67
Drew Brees 128 66
Philip Rivers 110 66
Tony Romo 111 58
Tom Brady 110 52
QB TD/INT Differential Leaders since 2006
Player TDs INTs DIFF
Peyton Manning 131 51 +80
Tom Brady 110 35 +75
Drew Brees 128 59 +69
Philip Rivers 110 46 +64
Tony Romo 111 57 +54
Three's a charm

In his career with the Cowboys, Tony Romo has thrown three-or-more touchdowns in a game 17 times. He did it once in 2006, six times each in 2007 and 2008 and four times in 2009.

With the Texans game, Romo has now gone seven consecutive games without a three-or-more touchdown effort, the longest such stretch in his career. When and if he next throws for three TDs, he will surpass Roger Staubach (17) and close in on Danny White (20) in the franchise record books.

Pythagorean Wins

A short while ago we looked at Pythagorean Wins. The way the first two games had gone in terms of the final scores, the Pythagorean formula projected a 4.5 win season for the Cowboys if they had continued to score at the pace they had established in the first two games.

With the win over the Texans, the formula now projects 8.2 wins for the season. And if I were to take away the last 7 points the Texans scored in junk time, the projection would be for 9.5 wins. I guess all is not lost then.

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