Sunday, November 13, 2011
Wrap-up: Cowboys 44, Bills 7
By James Walker
Here are some thoughts on the Dallas Cowboys' 44-7 blowout victory over the Buffalo Bills:
What it means: Buffalo continues its slide down the standings in ugly fashion. The Bills are 2-4 since their 3-0 start. The last two weeks Buffalo was drilled by Dallas and the New York Jets by a combined score of 71-18. Expect plenty of doubters to start writing off the Bills as a true contender to win the AFC East. They certainly didn't look the part on Sunday. Dallas dominated the game from the beginning, taking a 28-7 halftime lead, and Buffalo never had a chance. It was a disappointing start for the Bills in their pivotal, three-game road trip.
What I didn't like: Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo had a field day against Buffalo's inconsistent pass defense. Romo started the game by completing 18 of his first 19 passes and threw three touchdowns in the first half. The Bills did a poor job of pressuring Romo and covering the Cowboys' receivers, who were without starter Miles Austin. Buffalo's spread offense also didn't produce. The Bills and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick registered just 98 total yards in the first half. By the start of the second half Buffalo was down three touchdowns and never got back into it. Fitzpatrick, who has a reputation for being streaky, continued his downward spiral. He threw for 146 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. Fitzpatrick took several big hits in the game and looked very rushed and shaken by the pressure by the second half.
What I liked: There wasn't much to like from Buffalo's perspective. But tailback Fred Jackson had a productive homecoming. Jackson, who grew up in Arlington, Texas, rushed for 114 yards. Dallas native and Bills receiver David Nelson also caught four receptions for 31 yards and a touchdown in the second quarter. After the score, Nelson gave the football to his girlfriend, who is a Cowboys cheerleader. But those were the few highlights for Buffalo.
Big injury: The Bills lost starting center Eric Wood to a right leg injury in the third quarter. Wood needed help coming off the field and didn't return. Buffalo has been hurt on the offensive line all season. Losing Wood for any amount of time would be a huge blow.
What's next: Buffalo's next two games against a pair of division opponents could determine its season. The Bills will continue their three-game road swing next week against the Miami Dolphins. The Bills also have a rematch against the New York Jets at the Meadowlands on Nov. 27.