Cowboys could have edge in tight game
Here are four other statistical areas to watch Sunday:
* Panthers quarterback Cam Newton might be experiencing a sophomore slump in 2012. All four of Newton’s touchdown passes this season have come on passes completed outside of the end zone. Newton is 0-for-5 on throws into the end zone this season and is one of two quarterbacks in the league (the Titans’ Jake Locker is the other) without a completion on such throws. Wide receiver Steve Smith does not have a touchdown catch. It is the most games Smith has gone without a touchdown to start a season since 2009, when he did not have one in his first six games.
* The dual threat of Newton was evident in the Panthers’ Week 2 win against the Saints. The Panthers used a form of the option on 23 rushes for 145 yards against the Saints. In their four losses, the Panthers have used the option a combined 37 times. Carolina has averaged 5.4 yards per rush on such plays this season, compared to a 3.6 rate on non-option plays. The Cowboys have yet to face any option play this season. Most of the Panthers’ rushing success this season on option plays has come outside the tackles. The Panthers are averaging 8.3 yards on 24 rushing attempts outside the tackles on option plays this season. The Cowboys have allowed 3.0 yards per attempt (22 rushes, 66 yards) on such runs this season, which is fourth best in the NFL.
* Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is just 4-of-18 (22.2 percent) on throws more than 20 yards downfield this season and is just 2-of-10 when he targets Miles Austin and Dez Bryant. Romo posted the third-highest completion percentage (53.2) on such throws since the start of the 2008 season. Romo might be able to improve upon his deep-passing numbers against the Panthers, who have allowed the league’s second-highest completion percentage (54.5) on throws more than 20 yards downfield this season.
* Romo has thrown an interception in six straight games, the second-longest streak of his career, and if he throws an interception in Week 7, it would be the seventh straight game with an interception dating back to last season. Where are Romo’s interceptions coming? This season it has been on shorter passes, as six of Romo’s nine interceptions have been on passes 14 or fewer yards downfield.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Todd Archer joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the latest Tony Romo news and what he will be watching for in OTAs.
Play Podcast Nate Newton joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss his comments on how Jason Garrett should handle being on the hot seat and not let Jerry Jones get in the way.
Play Podcast Cowboys safety Barry Church joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the new defensive scheme and the impact it will have on him, how much more intense he expects practice to be with Monte Kiffin and his expectations.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider Ed Werder joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the latest Cowboys news, including Jason Garrett downplaying Tony Romo's involvement in offensive planning and play calling.
Play Podcast John Lynch joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss playing for Monte Kiffin and Rod Marinelli, why Cowboys fans should be excited about the new defensive staff, why Valley Ranch will no longer resemble a country club and his thoughts on the Cowboys' roster.
Play Podcast Herm Edwards joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the latest Cowboys news and give his take on what new face will make the biggest impact for Dallas.
Play Podcast Nate Newton joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss what he saw at the Cowboys' rookie minicamp and how he helped Rod Marinelli on the defensive side of the ball.
Play Podcast Todd Archer joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss what he took away from the Dallas Cowboys' rookie minicamp.