At 1-1, two teams with the same record could not be more different. Rams fans were glad to be 1-1 after finishing under .500 last year, despite a close win against the weak Cardinals. The Cowboys, on the other hand came into the season with expectations at almost their highest in a decade, and are frustrated with a 1-1 start, despite the 1-point loss being in Arrowhead Stadium (right behind Seattle and New Orleans in stadium noise) against a KC team that is dominating the League through Week 3.
Why Dallas Won
If Dallas has one consistency over the last couple years, it has been the need of balance to the offense. When the running game works, Romo can throw the ball like nobody’s business. When it doesn’t, defenses blitz more, which means they get more sacks, which (generally) means the Cowboys lose.
Last time they played, Murray lit up the Rams defense, with a franchise-record 253 yards. This week wasn’t too different, Murray “only” rushed for 175, and as a result, Romo went 17/24 without a single pick, leaving him with only 1 for the season, which is saying something, because his INTs are above average for a guy of his caliber.
Pro-ToRo Sidebar: The biggest Anti-Romo tactic is throwing out the interception numbers, like the fiver against the Bears. BUT, I call say it shows selflessness, and
balls guts of steel. When most QBs are down by multiple scores too late in the game, they get conservative, and take less risks.
Romo takes more. He goes for bigger plays, bigger gains, and takes huge risks. As a result, sometimes you end up with a 5-pick game. Other times, you end up with ONLY THE BEST PASSER RATING IN THE NFL.
Fact is, Eli Manning may be the Clutch QB icon of popular opinion, but nobody in the NFL today is rated higher than Romo in the final 15 minutes. Second place is Aaron Rogers, with a 97 compared to Romo’s 102. Eli? 84.6. His winning %age in game-winning drives is THIRD among active QBs behind Tom Brady and Matt Ryan. Rant over.
The Defense was good as ever, with a shutout all the way into the second half, and even holding the Rams to under 10 yards in the first half! With so few yards, its no surprise the Rams couldn’t muster a first down either. And sacks everywhere! Ware became the Franchise Sack Leader with 115.
Why St. Louis Lost
As much as I’d love to say they lost simply because they’re the Rams, there are actually people out there who disagree with that logic. (Shocking, isn’t it?) And really, Bradford put up some not-terrible statistics considering they couldn’t get across the yellow line all first half; 29/48 (.604, meh) for 240 yards (more than Romo’s 210) and no interceptions at all.
The damning stat column for the Rams Offense is the number of sacks. St. Louis hadn’t allowed one in its last 3 games, but allowed 6 last week, for a total of 43 yards lost. 43 yards is 4 first downs, which is equal to a drive at least within FG range. Another bad one for the Rams last week was 3rd down efficiency. It wasn’t just bad, it was terrible, only converting once, of 13 tries. Yikes.
Why I’m Still Worried
Sure, Dallas got the win, there was just too much talent on the payroll to lose back-to-back this early in the season but there definitely a few areas of concern:
Penalties. Dallas gave up 72 yards on 6 penalties. That’s a whole drive down the field!
3rd down efficiency, sure it isn’t the Rams’ 1/13 (eesh) but 5-11 is still below .500, and this team still wastes the first two downs too often to keep that up.
Water Cooler Statistic Of The Week & Why I’m Not Worried:
The NFC East is 1-7 over the last two weekends. Which means the Cowboys could keep up the mediocrity and still win the division. Wow.