Well, sooner or later, you knew it was going to happen. The opposition finally broke through the Cowboys starting defense and scored a touchdown for the first time this preseason. In fact they threw for two scores.
The Cowboys suffered their first loss of the preseason, when the Houston Texans upended Dallas by a score of 28-16.
The Texans came out of the gate with a fast-paced offense that featured pinpoint passing and a power running game. The Cowboys were simply not ready.
They looked very soft in all aspects of their game. Take a look at some of these key stats and you’ll see what I mean…
Julius Jones and Marion Barber combined for 16 carries and 48 yards rushing, and that includes a 12-yard run by Julius. Their average gain per rush was only 2.7 yards. Brutal…
Martin Gramatica missed a key extra point after the Cowboys first touchdown, that was sort of a glimpse into what kind of a game lay ahead for the Cowboys. With the miss, Gramatica may have just handed over the place kicking job to rookie, Nick Folk. (something that was predicted right here back in March)
Their 3rd down efficiency was a very soft 5-11, and the one time they went for it on 4th down, they didn’t make it. The quarterback was sacked three times.
Tony Romo wasn’t really that bad, but he clearly needs to be sharper and make better decisions if we are to be ready for the Giants on opening day. He finished with 14 completed passes on 22 attempts, and threw for two touchdowns and an interception. Brad Johnson wrapped it up completing 5 of 6 passes.
Allowed a first possession touchdown on a 91 yard punt return. Our total punt return yardage was only 2 yards, compared to 105 yards for the Texans. Ouch!
The Texans were 3-3 (100% Efficiency) in the Red Zone. By the end of the second half, the Texans had already put up 21 points. Allowed an alarming 144 yards rushing to an aging Ahman Green and company. They did not force a fumble or an interception, in fact they were never anywhere near the ball when Houston had possession.
The Cowboys also drew seven penalties in the game for a loss of 48 yards.
OK, there were some positives in the game as well…
I gotta give credit where credit’s due. Sam Hurd looked absolutely amazing in the field and proved that he can be as elusive as any of the elite receivers. He led the team in receiving with 68 yards on 4 catches, and he may have moved up in the depth chart after an impressive performance.
Terrell Owens had only 1 pass, but it was good enough for the Cowboy’s first touchdown of the game. He was the victim of constant double and sometimes triple coverage, and it was clear that Houston’s game plan was to take him out of the game.
Jason Witten also grabbed a pass for a TD and finished the day with 3 catches and 47 yards.
Matt McBriar was his usual dependable self, and had a nice game too.
It’s preseason, and this game doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things. What’s important is that the Cowboys learn something from this and apply it towards their next contest. I expected to see a much more vaunted defense from a Wade Phillips coached team. The Cowboys have the players and the talent to keep the pressure on opposing offenses, but that clearly wasn’t the case in this game.
The offensive line struggled and drew far too many penalties in the game. You could blame them for the soft numbers compiled by the usually effective tandem of Jones and Barber.
I am absolutely certain that next week, these same Cowboys will be a much more focused team with a nose for the ball on defense, and a nose for the end-zone on offense.
You just wait and see…