The Dallas Cowboys dropped their second straight preseason game of the 2014 season. They were overwhelmed by the Baltimore Ravens early, eventually losing 37 - 30. But the final totals on the scoreboard do not tell the whole story. The big story for the Cowboys was the play of Tony Romo. He played for two drives and ended up 4 of 5 for 80 yards and one TD. Romo looked confident, he moved well in the pocket and made the throws he needed to in the game. He never took a big hit, so we still haven't seen that, but Romo looked good in his short time in the game. He was helped out by Dez Bryant, who used his athleticism to pluck a pass out of the air over a Baltimore corner for a 31-yard touchdown.
The Cowboys first unit was starting to drive on their first possession, but a mishandled handoff between Romo and DeMarco Murray led to a fumble, and a scoop-and-score for the Ravens defense. Then the special teams gave up a 108-yard TD return on a kickoff, so the Cowboys had given up 14 quick points without the defense ever getting on the field. When the first unit defense did get on the field, they looked much better than last week. They stopped the Ravens on their first drive, then held them to a FG on their second drive. They stopped them on their next drive on a 3 and out, then had them stopped on the next drive until a George Selvie penalty gave them new life. The defense then finally gave up a touchdown. So overall, the Cowboys defense, at least the starters and the primary backups, looked much better than last week.
One guy who didn't look quite as sharp in this game was Brandon Weeden. He almost had a beautiful touchdown to Terrance Williams, but he was not as accurate and efficient as he was last week. Once the Cowboys backups on defense got in the game, they struggled initially, but were better as the second half wore on. Rolando McClain got some extended action and was very active. If his progress continues, it's possible the Cowboys got a real break when they traded for him.
Caleb Hanie, who was outplayed by Dustin Vaughan last week, came on in the second half and directed the Cowboys to a touchdown with a couple of good throws to Tim Benford and James Hanna, who scored the TD. Then late in the game Jamar Newsome made a couple of excellent catches, one for a TD. Oh, and how about the new kid at 3-tech, Zach Minter? He actually put together some splash plays late in the game.
This game was a step up from the performance against the Chargers, but the Cowboys still have a ways to go.