Sunday, September 22, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Cowboys 31, Rams 7
By Todd Archer
ARLINGTON, Texas -- A few thoughts on the Dallas Cowboys’ 31-7 win against the St. Louis Rams.
What it means for the Cowboys: The Cowboys moved to 2-1 and for the first time in five years opened a season with back-to-back wins at AT&T Stadium.
It was as thorough a performance as the Cowboys have had in the past two years. They jumped out to a 17-0 lead after their first three possessions and extended it to 24-0 after opening the third quarter with an impressive 80-yard drive that ended with a Tony Romo touchdown pass to rookie tight end Gavin Escobar.
But this was about the running game.
After running for 124 yards on 39 carries in the first two games, the Cowboys ran for 193 yards on 34 carries against a St. Louis defense that entered Sunday ranked sixth against the rush. It was the best Cowboys rushing performance since they put up 227 yards at the Baltimore Ravens on Oct. 14, 2012.
That game ended in a loss. This one was never really in doubt.
Stock watch: Rising -- DeMarco Murray. He must like the Rams. In 2011, he ran for a franchise-record 253 yards against St. Louis. On Sunday he had 175 yards on 26 carries and a touchdown. The Cowboys are 10-0 when Murray has 20 or more rushes in a game in his career.
Early risers: Starting fast has been an issue since Jason Garrett took over as head coach, but that hasn’t been the case so far this season.
The Cowboys have scored on their first possession in each of the first three games this season but were finally able to score a touchdown on the opening drive when Romo hit Dez Bryant on a 2-yard fade route with 7:06 left in the quarter.
The Cowboys scored on their first three possessions of the game. The last time they were that prolific came in a 44-7 win against Buffalo on Nov. 13, 2011, when they scored on four straight possessions.
Sack-happy Cowboys: St. Louis entered the game as the only team not to have allowed a sack in the first two games. Sam Bradford was sacked on his fourth pass of the game with a blitz off the edge by cornerback Orlando Scandrick.
The Cowboys ended up with four sacks in the first half and six for the game.
DeMarcus Ware broke Harvey Martin’s unofficial franchise record with a third-quarter sack of Bradford after beating a double-team. Ware now has 115 sacks for his career. His first sack came on St. Louis’ second drive after overpowering left tackle Jake Long.
What’s next: The Cowboys travel to play the San Diego Chargers next week. They are 4-1 all time in San Diego with their last win coming in the 2005 season opener (28-24).