I am not going to gloat. As a responsible and professional-ish front page writer for Blogging the Boys, I will limit my coverage of my beloved Dallas Cowboys to objective and factual coverage, and I will refrain from mentioning all the various so-called experts who pontificated about how terrible the Cowboys were, how horrific the defense would be, and how it would take a true miracle for them to secure a victory against the Tennessee Titans, who had opened the season with their own 26-10 win. I will not leap on top of my desk and scream "CHOKE ON THIS WIN, SUCKERS!" I will not do that, no matter how satisfying it is to know they now have to explain how Dallas found that dominant performance within themselves. Nope. No gloating here.
Just the news, folks.
While most of the attention was focused on the defense and the running game, the special teams also turned in a nearly flawless performance against the Titans. Dwayne Harris has a couple of big plays, the coverage teams kept the Titans' returners corralled, and Dan Bailey was pretty much what we expect him to be: Perfect.
Bailey has not missed a field goal try since a 56-yarder in Week 4 last year at San Diego. This was his 16th career game with at least three field goals, which is second most to Rafael Septien (21). It was his fourth game with four or more field goals, which tied Chris Boniol for the most in team history.
Bob Sturm is usually that voice of reason and objectivity that I may sometimes fail to be, but he sees some real progress in this game. While the questions about Tony Romo are not all answered, a couple of other aspects of the 2014 Cowboys are looking a lot better.
And while the developing story of Romo's search for his top form continues, I think 2 weeks into the season has to have made everyone feel better about the defense sorting itself out under Rod Marinell. Meanwhile, the offensive line's impact on the first two games has been about as positive as anyone could have hoped, and the way the running game has come out of the gate in 2014 might be the game changer that nobody believed possible.
A few days ago, someone wrote an article about the Cowboys' need to play some smashmouth football. That turned out to be pretty much exactly what they used to dominate the Titans. And it may be more than just a passing fancy.
This was DeMarco Murray at his best, setting a career high with 29 carries to grind out 167 yards against a defense that shut down Kansas City and Jamaal Charles last week. This was a showcase for an offensive line that features three recent first-round picks. And this was - brace yourself - a window into the future of Jason Garrett as resident guru of smashmouth football.
"This is how you want to play," said Garrett, who was more emphatic than is customary about practically everything in his postgame remarks.
"If you can run the ball, run the clock, you can control the football game. You need to be a physical football team to win in this league. We want to be a balanced offense that attacks you a lot of different ways."
After hearing so many bitter, angry ex-football players and wannabe journalists talk about how turrible they are, the D was feeling a little pride in proving THEY DIDN'T KNOW JACK!
It was a performance the players celebrated after the game but few, outside their quarters, envisioned before kickoff. Even though the Cowboys' defense was ranked 10th in the NFL before Sunday and wasn't the main culprit in the opening loss to San Francisco, there weren't many who believed it was any better than the unit that finished dead last in the league last season.
The praise for exceeding expectations is coming from all sides. And the team members are focused on how to keep it going.
"I feel like we knew coming into the season that we were going to be better than we were last year," said safety Barry Church, a defensive captain whose interception Sunday was the Cowboys' first forced turnover of the season. "We just had to keep it to ourselves and make sure we talk with our pads, not with our mouths. We're going to keep doing that."
The idea of signing Rolando McClain was all Jerry Jones'. The owner and GM even called McClain up to sell him on getting back into the NFL. And right now, it looks like one of Jones' better moves.
After two games, the low-risk trade with the Baltimore Ravens appears to be a tremendous bargain for the Dallas Cowboys. In exchange for swapping a sixth-round pick for Baltimore's seventh-rounder, the Cowboys acquired a replacement for injured star Sean Lee who has Pro Bowl type of talent.
Among all the positives about the game, there was one moment when things could easily have swung the other way. Don't forget how important it was for Jason Witten to stop a play that could easily have put the Titans ahead.
5. One of the biggest plays of the game came from Witten. With Dallas leading 16-10 late in the third quarter, Tony Romo floated a pass into the flat over a leaping defensive tackle Jurrell Casey. The pass was too high for Witten to haul in and safety Bernard Pollard caught the ball. Witten had the presence of mind to strip Pollard and force an incompletion. If Pollard maintains control of the ball he probably gets a pick-six and the Titans take the lead.
Although the defense and the ground game got most of the attention, Dez Bryant passed a major milestone during the game, getting 300 receptions, and doing so faster than any other Cowboy receiver. That, plus other fun stuff, in this interactive graphical presentation that is worth the click.
In a strange bit of logic, Jason Garrett felt that the issues Romo seemed to be having with his passing early in the game were because the running game was, like, too good.
"Sometimes when you play quarterback and you're running the ball a lot - and that's the feature part of your offense - sometimes you can get out of whack a little bit because you're not having the normal and natural rhythm that you have every week," said Garrett with Shan & RJ on 105.3 The Fan.
You'd never in a million years guess that Garret was a QB himself, would you?
The quarterback gets high marks for confidence. I guess.
"I can throw it better than I ever have. The rest of it is part of the game and footwork and your hips. Did you find the guy at the right time, or are you working here and throwing it over there so it's like you don't get anything on it?''
Romo concedes the subtle aspects of his set-up and delivery are coming along slowly since his back surgery nearly nine months ago. But he said he feels better with each week that goes by and is throwing the ball well down the field.
Seriously, if this is true, then things could just get better as the season progresses. HA!
He went out after getting hurt while playing on special teams, but Bryan Broaddus liked what he saw from Joseph Randle up to that point.
After watching Joseph Randle play on special teams these last two weeks, I now understand why this front office and coaching staff kept him on this 53-man roster.
On a day when it seemed like a lot of players were going down for the season all over the league, the Cowboys got off pretty easily. (Knock on wood, throw salt over your shoulder, rub your lucky rabbit's foot, make sure your horseshoe is pointed up.) Dez Bryant hurt his shoulder going to the ground, and as mentioned above, Joseph Randle was exhibiting concussion symptoms after he was involved in a jarring collision on kickoff coverage.
As Jason Garrett explains both players are . . . wait for it . . .
. . . day-to-day.
The Cowboys kept Anthony Spencer on the 53 man roster in hopes he could come back earlier than six weeks into the season. He is expected to start practicing this week.
"In some form, he'll do some football," Garrett said. "But he's really worked hard, he looks good. But again, we have to be mindful about where he came from and just take it day by day and see how he handles the work."
That is it for this non-gloating edition of the news summary.