As we start to wind down the euphoria over the Cowboys crushing 44-7 victory over the Buffalo Bills, our focus starts to turn to Redskins week. There are still some lingering wrap-ups from Sunday's performance, so let's dive into the latest news and notes that are traveling around the webisphere.
In one of the best statistical analysis of Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, FO goes into detail on Romo's performance compared to all other Week 10 QB's, as well as the season-to-date. Also mentioned, Laurent Robinson's prowess as the best third-receiver in the league thus far in 2011.
Romo's raw numbers against Buffalo on Sunday were outstanding: 23-of-26 passing for 270 yards, with three touchdowns, no interceptions, and no sacks. By Football Outsiders' system, it was the second-best day any passer had this weekend, falling behind only Tom Brady's three-touchdown performance against the mighty New York Jets. And that's no accident – for the season, Romo ranks third among starting quarterbacks in DVOA (a rate stat that measures passers on a per-play basis) and fourth in DYAR (a counting stat that measures total value). (These stats are explained more here).
Does this mean Romo's reputation for making big mistakes in critical times is mythical? Not at all. If we only look at plays where the Cowboys are within one score of their opponents in the fourth quarter, Romo's DVOA sinks, leaving him 12th out of 30 quarterbacks with at least 20 late-and-close pass plays.
“That's our plan," Jerry Jones said, according to the Dallas Morning News. "It looks like he can. I don't know just exactly how on top of his game he'll be, but man am I anxious to have both of those options out there and Murray, that will be exciting.”
Then, Jerry Jones admitted he sees Murray getting the bulk of the work.
In addition to the great interpretations by our own O.C.C., PFF puts out the weekly re-focused articles on each game. Here's part of their writeup on the dominating victory.
Building a head of steam
Momentum counts for an awful lot in football and the momentum that DeMarco Murray (+2.6) has built with Felix Jones on the shelf has surely established him as the short and medium term starter at RB in Dallas. As a combination, they were very similar and didn’t work well together, but with Jones sidelined by injury Murray has flourished. In a feature role again this week he was able to find creases in the defense on his way to a third 100 yard game in four games. His offensive line got the better of the Bills defensive front and he used that advantage well, finding gaps quickly and getting up field to challenge Bills defenders. On the occasion that running room wasn’t there he showed his individual creativity, at 0:26 left in the second quarter with a run right well defended, he was able to reverse field and get up the left side for a 25 yard gain, his longest run of the game. It led to nothing but it showed just that he is capable of creating for himself and not just using the blocking he is given.
Jerry Jones took to the airways this morning and provided his weekly 'huh?' moment. The Cowboys owner/GM relayed his excitement over having Akwasi Owusu-Ansah returning kicks, pledging that the youngster would continue in that role.
"I'm excited," Jones said on his weekly radio show. "He didn't really get the opportunity to do it the other day. But both on kickoffs and punts, we trust him catching the ball and it's the most fundamental thing you look for. He has size and speed and he did it well at a low competition when he was in college, but he's got a chance. You talk about his instincts. We're going to get a chance to see what he can do for us."
AOA had two punt returns on Sunday, for a total of four yards. All Buffalo kickoffs were touchbacks. On 25 kick returns in 2010, AOA averaged 21.7 yards per return with no touchdowns. The team needs an option with Miles Austin hurting and the club afraid to get Dez Bryant and Kevin Ogletree injured, but let's not pretend that they've just been waiting to unleash AOA on the world.
Second time this season, a goal line play was defended with only 10 men. Calvin Johnson of Detroit scored as well.
Surprise, it's bland!
Q: Do you feel like you guys are playing good and starting to get on a roll?
A: "I think we're playing better. We don't really talk too much about getting on rolls. We talk about trying to be great each and every day and take full advantage of the opportunities we have. It's hard in this league. It's hard. Every time you snap the football, you're going to be challenged by the guy across from you — as a player, as a coach, as a football team. We live in that world more than any other world."
Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo credited his offensive line as being the primary reason why he completed 23 of 26 passes, the most accurate game by a Cowboys quarterback in franchise history. "If they give you that extra half-second," Romo said of his offensive line, "the game becomes quite a bit easier."
Romo is being kind. He had as much time as he wanted and it was quite a bit more than half a second. More blitzing would also create more opportunities to get gashed repeatedly in the run game, and DeMarco Murray (135 yards rushing) already hurt the defense without intense blitzing. The Bills, in fact, ran approximately seven blitzes on Sunday and the Cowboys got positive yardage five times.
The Cowboys are planning to hold split training camps, again, between San Antonio and Oxnard, CA.
All eyes will be on Dallas when the Oxnard City Council meets Tuesday.
A proposed three-year deal for Oxnard to host a training camp for the Dallas Cowboys likely will be welcomed by officials, though the agreement depends on use of vacant lots that are in default.