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The Ravens couldn't stop the Cowboys from running the ball down their throats. The four Cowboys tailbacks combined for a Baltimore opponent-record 227 yards on 42 carries. The Cowboys entered the game ranked 29th in the NFL with an average of 67.8 rushing yards per game and nearly matched that on the opening drive, which was capped by Felix Jones' 22-yard touchdown, his first score since the 2011 season opener. The oft-criticized offensive line and fullback Lawrence Vickers consistently opened huge holes for DeMarco Murray (14 carries, 93 yards) and Jones (18 carries, 92 yards). The only negative as far as the Dallas running game went Sunday were the injuries sustained by Murray (foot) and Jones (calf).
Dez Bryant and Jason Witten ate up a Ravens secondary that lost arguably its best player, cornerback Lardarius Webb, to a knee injury early in the game. Bryant caught a career-high 13 passes for 95 yards and his first two touchdowns of the season, but his drop on a two-point conversion prevented the Cowboys from tying the score with 32 seconds remaining. Witten had his second consecutive strong game after a horrible start to the season, catching six passes for 88 yards. Tony Romo threw an interception on an ill-advised pass, but he played well enough to put the Cowboys in position to win, completing 25-of-36 passes for 261 yards and two scores.
The Cowboys did a decent job containing Ray Rice, one of the NFL's elite running backs, in the running game. He scored two touchdowns, but he averaged less than four yards a pop, gaining 63 yards on 16 carries. Outside linebacker Alex Albright did a solid job filling in for injured run stuffer Anthony Spencer on most downs in the base defense. Albright's stop of backup running back Bernard Pierce in the backfield forced the Ravens to settle for a field goal on their first drive. Sean Lee was credited for only five tackles, but he was impressive enough for 200-game veteran center Matt Birk to call Lee "one of the best linebackers I've ever played against."
The Cowboys are starving for playmaking in their secondary. Dallas' defensive backs still don't have an interception this season. Mike Jenkins dropped a pass that hit him in the numbers, an especially costly missed opportunity considering Ray Rice had a 43-yard catch and run the next down, the key play in a touchdown drive. This marked the second consecutive game that $50 million cornerback Brandon Carr got beaten on a deep ball, this one a 31-yard catch by Anquan Boldin that set up the Ravens' last touchdown. The Cowboys didn't get enough pressure on Joe Flacco (17-for-26 for 234 yards and a TD), with DeMarcus Ware recording Dallas' lone sack.
Special teams gaffes are killing the Cowboys this season. Baltimore's Jacoby Jones tied an NFL record with a 108-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. "That thing spread like the Red Sea," Jones said of the Cowboys' coverage on the play, when Jones went untouched after Dallas special teams captain Danny McCray got blocked to open up a big lane. Dan Bailey's first missed field goal of the season was a 51-yard attempt with the game on the line. The Cowboys recovered an onside kick to give them a chance to win the game, but that doesn't make up for giving up a touchdown.
Give Jason Garrett credit for a terrific offensive game plan. This was one of his best performances as a play-caller, too, as the Cowboys racked up 481 total yards against the formerly feared Ravens defense. That, however, was overshadowed by Garrett mismanaging the clock at the end of the game, much like he did in last season's loss to the Cardinals. It is inexcusable to settle for a 51-yard field goal attempt with the game on the line after allowing 15 seconds to tick off before calling a timeout. The Cowboys' 13 penalties -- the third time this season they've had that total -- also reflects extremely poorly on Garrett.