Cowboys having to go long way to score this season

Associated Press  |  Last updated September 21, 2012
(Eds: Updates. With AP Photos.) Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys have had to go a long way to score their touchdowns this season. Their four touchdown drives have averaged 78 yards, including a 95-yarder for their only score in the last game. ''You have to do a lot of things right to go 80 yards, 60 yards, whatever,'' Romo said Thursday. ''When you have a short field sometimes, it makes things a lot easier. You're just always going out there to score points and you don't really think about how far you've got to go, but obviously, that plays a role.'' The Cowboys (1-1), who play their home opener Sunday against Tampa Bay, haven't had a short field yet this season. The average starting position for 19 possessions is their own 20. Only one drive started beyond the 30, and that was at the 34 on the second drive of the season opener after the New York Giants fumbled. That fumble is the only turnover forced by the Cowboys this season. And they haven't had any big plays on special teams. Felix Jones has averaged 21.3 yards on his eight kickoff returns this season, and the longest was a 29-yarder against Seattle last week that only set the Cowboys up at the 21 since he took the ball eight yards deep in the end zone. Dez Bryant has four punt returns for a total of 2 yards, and Dwayne Harris had one return for 3 yards. Their 95-yard TD drive against the Seahawks came after a punt in a 27-7 loss. Dallas has three turnovers, including Jones fumbling away the opening kickoff at Seattle. Romo has thrown an interception in each game, while the Cowboys' upgraded secondary has yet to pick off a pass. ''You need to make some plays,'' coach Jason Garrett said. ''Oftentimes, that comes from pressuring the quarterback and forcing him to throw it earlier than he wants to. And then on the back end, you just simply have to go get the football and make some plays. We keep emphasizing it and the players understand the importance of it and hopefully they'll start to come for our defense.'' Officially, the Cowboys' shortest touchdown drive was listed as 73 yards against the Giants, but adding a penalty means Dallas had to actually move 78 yards. There was an 82-yard drive in that same game when the Cowboys had to pick up 112 yards because of four penalties. Their shortest scoring drive of the season was a 65-yarder for a field goal in the 24-17 season-opening win at the Giants. NOTES: DT Marcus Spears (knee) had limited participation Thursday after not practicing Wednesday. ... NT Jay Ratliff (ankle) and DT Kenyon Coleman (knee) didn't practice again. ... Rookie CB Morris Claiborne indicated that he's getting more chances at kickoff returns in practice.
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