It could have been a dismal day for the Dallas Cowboys as they bumbled and stumbled their way to a 21-point deficit against the St. Louis Rams. But to their credit, these Cowboys kept their head in the game and began to chip away at the Rams lead, eventually making the climb all the way back to a 34-31 win. Along the way, there are a few items we need to point out.
1. Romodini returns for one huge play. I'll still say that Tony Romo isn't going to be the same kind of quarterback that he was a few years ago, but for one play Romodini saved the day. When the Cowboys were facing a 3rd and 13 from their own 13-yard line early in the fourth quarter, Romo dropped back to pass and then ran for 15 yards and a first down, and gave a defender the slip along the way. Romo was more active in the pocket today but still isn't connecting on his passes after he scrambles, but the run was a thing of beauty.
2. Bruce Carter and Mo Claiborne make good. Carter and Claiborne have taken a lot of criticism for their play over the last couple of years. And today, Claiborne was getting picked on repeatedly by the Rams. Finally, both players stepped up and made big contributions. Claiborne had the interception that sealed the win, and Carter had a pick-six that set the Cowboys up with a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter. Oddly Carter's pick-six was 25-yards, exactly the same as the Rams Janoris Jenkins' pick-six earlier in the game.
3. Less than zero. According to the official boxscore at ESPN, the Cowboys offensive line did not allow a sack or a QB hit. I'd bet that Romo felt a little more pressure than those numbers would indicate, but the Cowboys offensive line finally put together a decent pass blocking day.
4. Hitchen a ride. Anthony Hitchens was thrust into action at middle linebacker and had two distinguishing events. One was a cumulative event, he led the Cowboys in tackles with 13 (and threw in a pass defensed for good measure). But perhaps Hitchens' biggest contribution was his stop of the Rams running back on a 4th and 1 play in the red zone.
5. Sticking with the run. The Cowboys had a long way to go to climb back into this game. They managed to do that and they still didn't abandon the run. Overall (according to ESPN stats) the Cowboys had 28 designed runs versus 24 designed drop backs. Romo finished with 23 pass attempts, DeMarco Murray and Joseph Randle ended up with 26 rushing attempts. They still achieved balance even though they were playing catch-up.