Thursday, November 24, 2011
Second quarter: Cowboys 10, Dolphins 6
By Calvin Watkins
ARLINGTON, Texas -- At the break and the Cowboys lead 10-6 at Cowboys Stadium. We have some highlights for you.
1. The Cowboys pass rush is getting to Matt Moore. DeMarcus Ware is going one-on-one against Jake Long. Anthony Spencer is challenging Marc Colombo, who is clearly not the same player he once was. But it was a Ware pressure, forcing Moore to move up in the pocket, that gave Victor Butler a sack with 9:40 to play in the first half. Kenyon Coleman picked up his first sack of the season with a rush inside; after a weak block by guard Vernon Carey, he got to Moore. The Cowboys have three sacks.
2. Here's why DeMarco Murray is so good. On an 18-yard run, Murray juked past Sean Smith at the line of scrimmage and knocked over safety Reshad Jones. You can say Smith is a corner and Jones a free safety, but a running back is supposed to win these battles on a consistent basis, and that's what Murray is doing when faced with these situations.
3. Dan Bailey's 32-yard field goal with 4:38 to play was his 25th consecutive made kick.
4. Cameron Wake is having a busy first half. He's making life miserable for the Cowboys' blockers. The weakside linebacker shook off a block of Jason Witten to tackle Murray for a 5-yard loss.
5. Tony Romo has two picks today. The first on an underthrown ball to Martellus Bennett and the second toward Laurent Robinson, which was snagged by Sean Smith.
6. It was not a good first half for Moore. He fumbled three snaps, the last with 61 seconds to play in the half gave the Cowboys the ball at the Miami 5. Ware was quick enough to land on the ball for the Cowboys. It was Romo finding Robinson with the 5-yard touchdown pass that gave the Cowboys a 10-3 lead. What made the play work was the play-action pass that froze the defense. It was also the first touchdown allowed by the Dolphins' defense in its last 231 snaps. Miami hadn't allowed a touchdown in its last three victories.
7. It was a sloppy first half. The teams combined for seven penalties for 55 yards. We had penalties on offense, defense and special teams. The biggest penalty of the half was 20 yards when Alan Ball failed to find the ball on a deep pass to Brian Hartline down the sideline. That play pushed the ball from the Cowboys' 33 to the Cowboys' 13 with 17 seconds left. It set up the 28-yard field goal by Shayne Graham that cut the deficit to 10-6.
8. Romo's first half line: 9-of-16 for 82 yards with one touchdown, two interceptions and a 51.6 quarterback rating. Romo threw one deep ball away toward Dez Bryant in the end zone and was hurt by a drop by Robinson, who got two hands on the ball. His touchdown pass to Robinson was on a good ball that he caught low.
9. Former Cowboys linebacker Kevin Burnett leads the Dolphins with four tackles. He's been pretty active in this first half.
10. Spencer is having another strong game. He's got four tackles in the first half a a tackle-for-loss.