We have spent all offseason and the first two weeks wondering what in the world happened to the Dallas Cowboys. Things finally changed on Sunday in Houston as the Cowboys went into a frenzied stadium in Houston's version of the Super Bowl. All the Cowboys did was shut down the league's #1 offense and put up 27 points of their own on the way to a dominant victory.
So what was different this week? The most noticeable change to me was the offensive scheme. The Cowboys seemed to have simplified their game plan and also made a concerted effort to make the running game a big part of the attack. The offense started out slow and looked the same as they did in the first two weeks but then finally found their rhythm and moved the ball with ease from the second quarter on.
The defense got back to pressuring the quarterback and the secondary did a great job stifling the Houston passing attack. Arian Foster did break off several nice runs but the Cowboys made some adjustments to the defense at the half that really seemed to slow Foster down in the second half. Demarcus Ware posted three sacks and the defense had four overall. They also forced three turnovers.
The special teams even looked better. They limited Jacoby Jones on his punt returns and did a great job covering on kickoffs. David Buehler was 2 for 2 on field goals and hit a big 49 yard field goal going into the half that really seemed to put a charge into the team.
Tony Romo had a drive in the third quarter that may have been the best of his career. He hit Sam Hurd on a perfect pass to convert a third down early in the drive. Then he hit Dez Bryant for a big gain down the left sideline on another perfect pass. And the drive ended on a touchdown to Roy Williams on another beautiful pass into the endzone that Roy snagged for a touchdown. In short, Romo was the exact opposite of what he was last week. His accuracy was nearly perfect all day long.
The Cowboys do still have some work to do. They are committing way too many penalties and they need to improve. But the difference this week is that the penalties weren't negating every big play the offense made. There were a few big plays that came back for the offense as a result of penalties, but they didn't have the big red zone penalties that cost the team points.
As nice as the win was the Cowboys have only started the process of digging out of the hole they created in the first two weeks of the season. The Cowboys have a bye next week so they can savor this one for a few days before getting back to work on the Titans. Hopefully this win will be the start of a winning streak because the Cowboys need to reel off a few wins.
But beating a talented Houston team decisively was a great start to a turnaround. And it sure was nice to go give the Texans and their fans a reality check. The Cowboys are still the #1 team in Texas. And one game may not make up for the last two years, but Roy Williams looked like the guy the Cowboys thought they were getting when they traded for him. Isn't it amazing how everything falls into place when the team wins?