Using first-round picks to solidify the offensive line continues to pay off on a weekly basis for the Dallas Cowboys.
It proved to be a difference once again Sunday night, as Tony Romo had plenty of time to dissect the New York Giants’ defense on the go-ahead drive in the game’s final minutes.
Romo was 6-for-6 passing for 66 yards and a touchdown on the drive.
“Obviously, we were in a passing situation there and they are in pass rush mode,” coach Jason Garrett said. “And I thought our guys stood in there and protected and protected and protected. I thought the receivers did a good job of working their way open. I thought Tony did a really good job of working through progressions.
“But everyone told me this, on the telecast they put a stopwatch on the protection and when you’re talking 7-and-a-half and 8 seconds of protection … those are pretty unique numbers.”
The offensive line gave up only two sacks and three quarterback hits on the night, making the short turnaround for Romo that much easier. Romo was listed as a “did not participate” in Monday’s light walk-through, but is expected “to do something” during today’s practice.
The offensive line also sparkled in the run game as DeMarco Murray posted his 10th 100-yard rushing game this season.
D disappoints early
A day later, Rod Marinelli still wasn’t pleased with his defense’s performance.
Marinelli thought his unit tackled poorly throughout the game, particularly in the first half, and let them hear it again Monday. No player argued that sentiment and they know it can’t happen again this week against the Eagles.
“It’s a mindset,” defensive tackle Nick Hayden said. “Some players came ready to play right away and some didn’t. We had the meeting on it on defense, the guys who weren’t ready, we called them out. Just can’t have that.
“Everyone has to be ready to play.”
Coach Jason Garrett agreed that the defense has to be held accountable even in a win. The Giants sustained too many drives by converting on third downs and Eli Manning had one of his best passing days on the season.
“Regardless of what the result of the game is, you have to go back and honestly evaluate what happened,” Garrett said.
The Cowboys suffered several notable injuries Sunday night.
Wide receiver Terrance Williams broke the tip of his index finger, but does not need surgery on it. He is expected to play through it with a splint.
Backup safety Jeff Heath and defensive end Jack Crawford weren’t as fortunate, though, as each was diagnosed with a thumb injury that will require surgery. Garrett expects each of them to miss Thursday’s game, but that is subject to change.
Crawford wasn’t seen in the locker room when it was open to the media on Monday, but Heath still hopes to play Thursday against the Eagles.
Linebacker Dekoda Watson has a hamstring injury and his status for Thursday is unknown.