Sunday, November 13, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Cowboys 44, Bills 7
By Calvin Watkins
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Cowboys have been here before, winning consecutive games, but now it seems this team is more focused than at any point of their season. The Cowboys knocked off the talented Buffalo Bills 44-7 Sunday afternoon at Cowboys Stadium for their second consecutive win. This victory raised some doubts about the Bills, and now the Cowboys are set up for a possible strong run through November.
What it means? The Cowboys enter an easy portion of their schedule when they travel to Landover, Md., to take on the Washington Redskins next week. The Cowboys' next three opponents have losing records and things are shaping up to a solid December finish where the Cowboys could have an 8-4 mark for a Dec. 11 game vs. the New York Giants.
Cowboys offense with a productive day: The Cowboys racked up 434 total offensive yards and scored 28 consecutive points to start the game, and quarterback Tony Romo completed his first 13 passes. Oh yeah, DeMarco Murray carried 20 times for 135 yards and one touchdown. Romo finished 23-of-26 for 270 yards and three touchdowns. Romo completed passes to seven different players, and the offense reached the 400-yard mark for the fifth time this season.
Defense is strong: The Bills have come back from big deficits twice this season, but they couldn't vs. the Cowboys. After falling behind 28-0, the Bills couldn't get their offense going, especially when forced to pass much of the day. The Bills allowed just nine sacks coming into the game, the fewest in the NFL. The Cowboys finished with just one sack, by DeMarcus Ware, but pressured quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick numerous times by blitzing from the outside and getting pressure up front from nose tackle Jay Ratliff. Terence Newman had two interceptions, including a pick-six with 4:54 left in the game to take the team lead with four on the season. Frank Walker sealed the game with an interception with 61 seconds to play.
Bailey with 22 consecutive made field goals: Who needs David Buehler? Dan Bailey made three field goals -- he's nailed 22 straight -- and also had six touchbacks in the victory. While there was some concern about Bailey's ability to do a solid job on field goals, he's ended any doubt about that with his performances this season.
Running game: Whenever Felix Jones comes back, maybe next week for the game at Washington, it's clear that Murray, the rookie from Oklahoma, should be the starter. Murray is running with power and speed and continues to make a statement that he is the No. 1 back on this team. You have to wonder just what Jones is thinking these days as he still recovers from a high ankle sprain. Murray has carried the ball at least 20 times in three of the past four games. He's also averaged at least 6 yards a carry in each game during that span. Murray has rushed for 601 yards the past four games.
What's next?: The Cowboys visit Washington and hope to extend their two-game win streak. The Cowboys haven't won more than two games in a row all season and winning at Washington would put them two games over .500 for the first time all year.