The Cowboys looked a little out of sync and unprepared in the first half of the game against the Bucs today. They looked like a new team in the second half. A lot of the struggles in the first half probably came from the Cowboys being unable to do a good job preparing for the Bucs offensive and defensive schemes since they are under a coaching regime. The second half was another story. The offense was clicking and the defense became much tougher. I applaud the coaches for making the necessary adjustments at halftime.
One story that can die down for a little while is the question of how the Cowboys will replace the production of Terrell Owens. The Cowboys have been saying all along that they will make up for his production by spreading the ball around. True to their word they did exactly that. Tony Romo threw for a career high 353 yards and had big plays to Miles Austin, Patrick Crayton and Roy Williams. How's that for spreading it around? He completed passes to 6 different players and he was actually a little of today but still had a career high in yardage. It was impressive even if the Bucs defense didn't exactly look all world.
On defense, the pass rush was non-existent until the Cowboys took a big 4th quarter lead and were able to rush freely. They put several good shots on Leftwich but never recorded a sack. I'm concerned but I know Demarcus Ware was not operating at 100% after coming back from a big hit early in the game. The middle of the defense was very soft early in the game against the run but seemed to make the necessary adjustments at halftime. Sensabaugh did a good job keeping the tight ends out of the game but Leftwich was able to find open receivers all day long. The cornerbacks need to play better in the upcoming weeks and months and I'm sure they would agree.
Special teams was so much better than I expected. They had a blocked field goal by Gerald Sensabaugh, several touchbacks on kickoffs by Buehler, and great coverage by the punt team. Terence Newman did muff a punt but Patrick Crayton made a heads up play to kick the ball out of bounds to prevent a turnover. I can't believe he didn't get more credit for making that play. Sure it was a penalty, but those Bucs players were bearing down on him and there is no guarantee he could have dove on the ball to recover it in time.
Best Play: To me it was the Patrick Crayton touchdown. The play appeared to be designed to go underneath to Witten but Romo pumped short and Crayton broke deep behind the defense. The safety was so sure that the pass was going to Witten underneath that he allowed Crayton to get 5 yards behind him. That is what we were all hoping to see from Tony Romo. He didn't force the ball into coverage...he found the open man.
Reasons to Worry: The defense didn't dominate the Bucs like I expected them to. We mind find out that the Bucs are better than we thought they were as the season goes on but I doubt it. The defense has to play better in every way.
Injuries: Gerald Sensabaugh left the game after a big hit with bruised ribs, but it appears right now that the Cowboys escaped without any serious injuries. Tony Romo was a little gimpy after getting his ankle rolled and Demarcus Ware is going to have a headache tonight. So far, so good on the injuries.