DALLAS (19) d CAROLINA (14)
The Headline: Dallas escapes in Carolina to get back to .500
On paper this had the makings of an awesome game, you had 2011’s NFL rookie phenom Cam Newton going aganist Tony Romo, both of whom have the ability to do some crazy stuff back there when asked to improvise. Carolina also has Steve Smith who has a knack for big plays and, despite his matured veteran status, still has a little bit of that combustible vibe to him while Dallas has Dez Bryant who is a little bit nuts himself. Instead what the fans got was an ugly, dour, conservative game where the two teams really struggled to generate any sort of momentum and the winner was the team that made one less mistake. In terms of opportunities Dallas should have put this game away well before it did as failed to convert any of its red zone opportunities while the Panthers were one fourth down away from winning the game. In the interests of fairness though, Dallas did its job and came away with a road win, which is something they definitely needed.
Key Stat: Dallas 5 scoring plays to Carolina’s 2
Realistically, there are plenty of concerns about the Cowboys offense after this effort as they were forced to settle for four field goals when at least one more should have been converted for a touchdown. But when you score 5 times to the oppositions two you are almost guaranteed to win any game you play in (unless there’s some weird occurrence of multiple safeties).
Key Play: Cam Newton incomplete pass to Louis Murphy on 4th and 1 in the fourth quarter
It was a play that could have given the game an entirely different result, Dallas was caught substituting personnel and Newton was able to get a completion for a first down, however in true Ryan brothers style, the Cowboys defense called a timeout before the ball was snapped, negating the play. On the re-run of the play there was a blatant pass interference on Morris Claiborne that went uncalled by the officials giving Dallas the ball back with two and a half minutes left in Panthers territory. Four Cowboys runs and a horse collar tackle later the Cowboys were in range for a field goal to push the margin to 5 and take valuable seconds off the clock, winding it down to 58 seconds and forcing Carolina to burn their timeouts.
Man of the Match: Tony Romo
24/34, 227 yards, 1 touchdown
It wasn’t Romo’s prettiest game but it was one of his better ones this year. He made smart decisions, good throws and avoided looking like a dumbass by giving the ball to the other team at the wrong time. He threw for Dallas’s only touchdown on a nice 26 yard pass to Miles Austin and efficiently drove the Cowboys down for 4 Dan Bailey field goals which made the difference at the end of the game.