- Todd Archer, ESPN Staff Writer
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A weekly analysis of the Cowboys’ quarterback play:
Rewind: Tony Romo completed 30 of 42 passes for 298 yards in the Cowboys’ 17-16 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 2 with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Dez Bryant, who had 141 receiving yards for the game. The numbers speak to an accurate day for Romo, but after a fourth-quarter scramble in which he was hit by defensive tackle Dontari Poe, he completed 6 of 13 passes and was unable to deliver a game-winning drive. Romo said his bruised ribs were not an issue, but he did take a pain-killing injection before the game and could get one this week if needed. If Romo wasn’t getting the ball down the field to Bryant, he wasn’t getting the ball down the field at all, and Bryant made a couple of great catches on throws not on the money.
Fast-forward: The talk around the Cowboys the first two games has been the lack of a running game, but the Rams enter the game allowing 330 passing yards a game after allowing Arizona’s Carson Palmer and Atlanta’s Matt Ryan to throw for more than 300 yards in both games. The Rams' strength is their front four with Chris Long and Robert Quinn providing pressure, but the Cowboys’ protection has been solid considering how many times Romo has thrown it in two games.
Fast start a must: Romo has thrown a Cowboys-record 180 touchdown passes in his career, but he has only 27 of them in the first quarter. Slow starts have been an issue for the Cowboys in the past, but they have scored field goals on their opening drives in each of the first two games. With a fan base wondering whether this is the same old team, Romo has to establish a tone early. He has had success against the Rams. In two starts (both wins), he has completed 35 of 57 passes for 505 yards with five touchdowns and one interception.
Prediction: Last week I said Romo would finish with close to 300 yards against the Chiefs, and he did, but he finished a touchdown short of the prediction. He will be close to 300 yards again Sunday but this time he will have more big plays down the field to Bryant and Miles Austin.