The Dallas Cowboys opened the season with a convincing win at Tampa Bay.
The Cowboys took the opening kickoff down the field to score a field goal. On this first drive, Dallas showed it was going to establish the run, something they haven’t done since the departure of Bill Parcells. Wide receiver Roy Williams showed early he had good hands, snagging a short pass from Tony Romo on the very first series. The Cowboys had difficulty getting the play off, having to waste 2 timeouts in the first half because they didn’t know where to line up.
After the first score, Dallas showed why they kept 2 kickers on the roster when David Buehler kicks off into the end zone for a touchback, something the Cowboys did not have all last year.
The Cowboys defense looks weak. Star linebacker DeMarcus Ware went down with an injury and the Buccaneers ran all over Dallas in his absence. Tampa had 174 yards rushing on the day, 450 total. Even when Ware came back to the lineup, it was more Tampa miscues rather than good Cowboys plays that stopped the Bucs. This defense looks a lot like the one that was embarrassed at the end of last year. Dallas will have to start playing better on that side of the ball if they want to be contenders.
The Cowboys special teams are much improved. From getting a long runback to start the game to blocking a field goal attempt, this unit looks ready to play. One question I have is why is Terrence Newman returning punts? The Cowboys are thin at the cornerback position, and deep at the receiver spot. If Newman gets hurt on a punt return, Dallas will suffer on defense.
The Dallas offense really stole the show. With the departure of Terrell Owens, the question was how were they going to make the big plays. This was answered as the Cowboys had 3 touchdowns of over 40 yards. Romo threw for TD’s of 42, 66 and 80 yards to 3 different receivers. Jason Witten led the Cowboys receivers with 5 catches. Marion Barber scores a TD on the ground and averages over 5 yards per carry. As a unit, the biggest obvious problem offensively is getting lined up on time. Flozell Adams again made sure he got his name called. This time for a personal foul penalty. Once again, he single-handedly stopped a Dallas drive and they had to punt because of him.
Overall, it was a good win on the road for the Cowboys. They showed they had the weapons to score anytime they get the ball. They will have to play better defense, though, to beat the Giants in the home opener next week.