Cowboys confident that sluggish offense will awaken soon

Posted Sunday, Sep. 30, 2012  comments  Print Reprints
A

296.5

Average total yards for the Cowboys' offense

in their last two games. It's the first time since Tony Romo became the starting quarterback that the Cowboys have had back-to-back games with fewer than 300 total yards.

74.6

Tony Romo's passer rating in the last two games. In 108 career games, he has a rating of 96.6.

7

Number of times Tony Romo has been sacked this season. He's on pace to be sacked a career-high 37 times.

15.7

Points per game for the Cowboys this season, tied for fewest in the NFL.

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IRVING -- For the first time with Tony Romo as quarterback, the Cowboys are coming off back-to-back games with under 300 yards.

They did not rush for 50 yards in either game.

They couldn't score more than one touchdown in either game.

Romo's passer rating sunk to the mid-70s.

But they got a split out of the two games against Seattle and Tampa Bay, so at 2-1 going into tonight's game against the Chicago Bears, the Cowboys' belief in their offense remains.

"My confidence doesn't wane," coach Jason Garrett said. "I believe in the players. I believe in what we do. We just have to do it better."

The 2-1 record is what keeps Romo going, too.

After throwing for 307 yards and three touchdowns in a sparkling season opener against the Giants, he has thrown only one touchdown pass and has been intercepted twice.

But he is not frustrated.

"No. It's about winning and losing," he said. "That's what it comes down to. You want to execute to the highest level each week. But at the same time, we know that getting a win is as important as anything else. And all the other stuff is just about getting better.

"But if you lose, you're still going to have the same process. If you win, you still have the same process about trying to figure out how to be better the next week as a player, as a unit, as an offense or defense, whatever it is."

Garrett does make an allowance for the Seahawks and Buccaneers' effective defensive lines, which gave headaches to the Cowboys' still-developing offensive line.

But he said those won't be the last two good fronts the Cowboys face, and they'll see another one tonight when the Bears bring one of the NFL's most productive front four in terms of sacks.

"We played some good defenses. There's no question about that," Garrett said. "They are good on the front, they have good rushers and good linebackers, and each of those teams have good cover guys. But you're going to face that every week. There are 13 other teams that are good in those areas, too."

For the Cowboys, the troubling spots are penalties and the way they are executing plays.

They have 12 false starts, five holding penalties (plus one declined) and two delay-of-games in three games.

Romo has been sacked seven times.

On top of that, his favorite target, tight end Jason Witten, has five drops. That is a normally reliable -- and important -- part of the Cowboys offense.

"It's a combination of a lot of things," Romo said. "Penalties, negative plays. We need to do the little things better. That will help us a lot because we're already doing enough good things. We just need to minimize the stuff that you can control. The stuff that should be stuff that we're good at."

The Cowboys scored in the 30s or more four times last year. It was five times in each of the previous two years, four in 2008 and eight times in 2007.

The last time they went over 30 was at Tampa Bay last year, five games ago.

Could one good scoring half or game spring the Cowboys?

"Sure, but I don't think we like to think about it that way: 'Hey, let's go score 40,'" Garrett said. "Let's go execute ball plays. If we execute ball plays and do things the right way on a consistent basis, our offense will be the consistent offense and the good offense that we've seen in the past."

And paired with what right now is the league's No. 1 defense? Defensive end Marcus Spears can imagine.

"We're 2-1, so they're doing something to put us in position to win games," he said. "And we just want to continue to support them. But when we're rolling and they're rolling and our special teams are rolling, we're tough to beat. We see their work. There's no criticism from us. We see what type of guys are over there. When it really starts firing like a well-oiled machine, it'll be something beautiful to watch."

Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407

Twitter: @calexmendez

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