The Cowboys are coming off a difficult 27-24 loss to the New York Jets on Sunday night. As always there are plenty of plays worthy of a discussion and we take a look at some of those in our weekly Beat Writers recap.
The problem with the Tony Romo fumble at the Jets 2 is what happened before that. On Romo's 64-yard completion to tight end Jason Witten, the veteran should have kept running and not worried about safety Jim Leonhard. If Witten keeps running, maybe he gets into the end zone. First-and-goal from the 3 and the Cowboys have an unbalanced line and while Bill Nagy pulls, Felix Jones gains just one yard. On the second play, Romo throws a back shoulder fade to Miles Austin in the end zone. Austin is running a deeper route and doesn't see the pass. But Antonio Cromartie does and almost picks it off. On the second play, Romo wants to throw to Dez Bryant but Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis jams him at the line of scrimmage forcing Romo to find another receiver. Nobody is open and he scrambles to the end zone. For a brief moment, Witten appeared open in the back of the end zone and he waves his hand, but Romo either didn't see him or couldn't get the ball to him.
Mike Jenkins and the fourth quarter
It was interesting to watch Jenkins in this game. He came in recovering from a stinger and a hyperextended knee. He was hurt on a run play, then a blindside hit Yet, Jenkins missed 11 fourth quarter snaps as he recovered from a bruised shoulder, suffered when Plaxico Burress hit him near the Jets sideline. When Jenkins was out, the first-team corners were Alan Ball and Bryan McCann with Barry Church in the slot. You have to wonder with Jenkins out, why didn't McCann get deep help on Mark Sanchez's 26-yard touchdown pass to Burress in the fourth quarter. If Jenkins is playing, maybe he doesn't get safety help, but McCann, a second-year player most likely needed it. Gerald Sensabaugh trailed the play after Sanchez sent the pass toward Burress but it was too late for McCann, who needed support. When Jenkins did return, the Jets went right after him and he made a nice tackle on Burress. You can tell Jenkins wasn't 100 percent, but it was one of his toughest games from a health standpoint.
We're going to talk about Jay Ratliff and Kyle Kosier and double-teams. Ratliff was doubled it seemed on almost every play. On DeMarcus Ware's first sack of the game, Ratliff was doubled. When Ratliff saw single coverage, meaning a center took him on, he was able to get some penetration. The Jets wanted to keep Ratliff out of the game and challenge Ware and Anthony Spencer with their tackles. Ware bounced around left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson and right tackle Wayne Hunter. Ware beat Hunter for his first sack. Kosier meanwhile was a busy man. Not only was he helping rookie right tackle Tyron Smith on certain plays, but he also moved over to help center Phil Costa. There was one pass play where Koiser helped Smith and Costa before the pass was thrown. It was proof of how valuable Kosier is to the offensive line.
Covering Dez Bryant
The first offensive series, the Jets had Cromartie cover Bryant. It didn't go well for the Jets. Bryant gained 17 yards on a slant in which he broke two tackles, then he catches a three-yard touchdown pass with Cromartie pulling the front of his jersey down. It was a physical mismatch for the Jets. On the second offensive series, Revis is jamming Bryant along the line of scrimmage. On a third down, with no deep help, Revis couldn't prevent Bryant from catching a 26 yard pass down the sidelines. The safety help came over too late. Bryant was shutdown most of the night after that, cramps and a bruised thigh were the issues. On the Romo interception, that allowed the Jets to win it, Bryant wasn't 100 percent. He didn't push off well and despite getting behind Revis, it was only because the corner saw an underthrown pass.
Miles Austin could have had two touchdown receptions. In the first quarter, he fell down out of his break while Romo threw a pass into the end zone. In the fourth quarter, Romo fired a end zone pass in on direction and Austin went another way leading to a incompletion. ... Cowboys ran an unbalanced line with Doug Free next to Tyron Smith and Bill Nagy playing tackle on the other side, three times on Sunday. ... DeMarco Murray dropped one kickoff in the end zone and was tentative on another. That can't happen again. ... If Dez Bryant is out of the punt return game, Dwayne Harris most likely gets the job. But in windy Candlestick Park this Sunday vs. the 49ers, a healthy Terence Newman to return punts he's got the most experience at it than anybody on the roster.