This post is sponsored by Sprint.
When thinking about presenting a game ball of the week for the Dallas Cowboys huge win over the Houston Texans, several individuals and groups of players came to mind. In a win like the one we had on Sunday, you get a lot of people who stepped up their game.
For instance, the offensive line as a group played superbly. Tony Romo was hardly touched on the day and the running game finally saw some success. Then there is the secondary, which helped to shut down a potent Texans' passing game and came up with three turnovers on the day. On the individual side, there were several players who turned in worthy performances. DeMarcus Ware came up with some important sacks on third down. David Buehler hopefully turned the corner with a perfect kicking day including the clutch FG right before halftime. Tony Romo was very good in this game, firing picture-perfect passes into some tight areas. Also, not really worthy of the gameball, but still worth mentioning, was Dez Bryant's continued development into a weapon for the offense. Fighting for extra-yards on a critical first down conversion was a thing of beauty, and his catch down the sideline was sublime. And let's not forget the coaches, Wade Phillips got his team fired up and ready to play, while Jason Garrett called a balanced game that lead to an efficient offense.
We had a lot of good come out of the game.
But, as a I noted in my post immediately after the win, one player in particular was the star of the game, for several reasons. Wide receiver Roy Williams was instrumental in the win. 117 yards on a day when Miles Austin wasn't very productive was huge for the Cowboys. Adding two touchdowns to those yards was obviously key to the win. It wasn't just the production on the day for Roy; it was the way he got all those yards.
On the Cowboys first touchdown drive, Roy caught three passes, one that converted a crucial 3rd and 9. He caught a slant pass that was in the middle of traffic, a play that he and Romo have had problems connecting on in Roy's time in Dallas. On his first touchdown reception, he showed us hands that we've come to expect from a wide receiver, but haven't really seen from Roy. He had to reach up and catch the ball around his helmet, something that's not always easy to do. Also, on that route, Roy executed a perfect jab-step to the outside forcing the corner in coverage to move that way, thus opening up the inside beautifully for a run at the endzone. Crisp route-running from Roy? Yup, that's what we got. On the game-clinching touchdown, Roy ran the same route, used the same good jab-step, and actually sent the corner to the turf with the move. Once Romo hit him with the pass, Roy took it 63 yards for the touchdown, proving that Austin isn't the only guy who can score from long distance on the team.
Roy's good work in this game was actually a continuation of his stepped-up production this year. Look, I'm not here to argue that Roy is fulfilling the expectations that come with the high price we paid to get him. That's unlikely to ever happen because he would have to produce like Miles Austin, and that's just not going to happen. But if we let go of those expectations, and just look at Roy's production, this season he seems to finally be finding his role as a #2 WR (probably technically a #2a or #2b, with Dez Bryant showing such promise). His stats this season aren't overwhelming, except for this last game, but he's finally catching the tough pass, and he's finally showing he can run routes where Romo will trust him with the ball. He's caught some difficult passes this year, in traffic, and the only play where I've let out a "Dang you, Roy!" is when he fumbled at the end of the Chicago game. Let's not forget, too, that if it wasn't for Alex Barron, we would have been celebrating his game-winning TD in the Washington game.
Let's not get too ahead of ourselves, Roy could revert back to the "bad Roy" at anytime. Nothing is set in stone. But, for the moment, Roy Williams is actually a productive member of the Dallas Cowboys offense. Maybe the acquisition of Dez Bryant has lit a fire. Maybe being just a member of the WR rotation, a few years removed from the expectations of the trade, has allowed Roy to find his place. Maybe he did actually work on his route-running and his catching, enough so that Romo trusts him.
Just maybe, Roy will turn out to be a guy we're praising week in and week out. For this week, at least, he gets the gameball.