We review three things in our weekly Beat Writers Report.
1. Tyron Smith's day started off badly with a false start. When it ended, Smith allowed one sack and was penalized twice. You might credit him with two sacks allowed, but you don't know the responsibilities of the line on the first one. Overall, the starting left tackle had a nice game and was engaged one-on-one with a defender more than 50 plays on Sunday. Smith also helped left guard Ronald Leary six times, pulled twice and reached the second level for blocks numerous times. Smith does a nice job with his long arms to keep defenders such as Justin Smith and Ray McDonald from reaching Tony Romo. One of Smith’s best plays was handling linebacker Dan Skuta on a stunt. While Skuta rushed inside, Smith kept his lateral movement and pushed him away with no problems. It’s easy to view the penalties and the sacks as negatives, because they’re glaring, however, Smith proved once again that he is a solid leader for this offensive line.
2. Romo’s three interceptions weren’t about his missed practice time when the Cowboys were being cautious with him as he recovered from back surgery. Romo’s picks were mainly about poor decisions. Yes, Romo is what he is, a guy who will take chances, much like his idol Brett Favre. Romo, given the delicate state of his team, should know better than to throw passes into coverage on a consistent basis. On the first interception, Romo throws a deep pass to Dez Bryant, who clearly isn’t open. Romo doesn’t see Terrance Williams running a route where he gets open deep into the secondary. Quarterbacks can’t see everything, but Romo should have noticed safety Eric Reid moving toward Bryant. The late throw, which sailed, allowed Reid to make the play. The second pick was another example of missing an open receiver. Dwayne Harris was open as he ran into the end zone. Romo hesitated when he clearly saw Harris and while there was nobody open on the backside, he moved toward the corner of the end zone. Romo’s throw floated and was picked off by athletic linebacker Patrick Willis. If Romo wanted to reach Jason Witten, a higher throw was needed where only the tight end could get it.
Romo’s last pick of the day was another result of decision-making. Bryant was doubled by Perrish Cox and Reid and not open, yet Romo, with plenty of time, let the ball fly. It was slightly underthrown and picked off.
Romo had some other throws that were late or he just missed receivers. It happens to every quarterback. But the interceptions, at least the three he threw on Sunday, should not have been thrown.
3. The Cowboys love linebacker Bruce Carter’s athletic ability, that’s why they drafted him. An example of this is a sack on a delayed blitz in the first half and a pass breakup to start the second. Carter, however, allows receivers too much space in front of him and reacts late to some passes. Carter was called for holding on tight end Vernon Davis on a pass play down the field in the third quarter. As the game progressed, the front seven did get better for the Cowboys, but it seems there was indecisiveness against the run. San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick's ability to sprint out of the pocket and his strong arm causes defenses to play jittery.