Cowboys/Panthers Wrap-up: You Can’t Spell Dallas Without a big D
Gripping to a two point lead with about a minute left in the game, it was a curious choice. But Dallas head coach Jason Garrett used the opportunity to loudly voice his confidence in his defense. He put the game in their hands.
Up 16-14 and facing a third-and-four, Garrett elected to run the ball and kick a field goal when simply getting a first down in the air, or a touchdown, would give his team a certain win. He took the ball out of QB Tony Romo’s hands and made his defense make a stop against the dangerous Cam Newton.
The Dallas defense, ranked 2nd in the league, did just that – they stopped Newton and the Panthers and escape Carolina with an impressive road win.
The Cowboys move to 3-3 and keep pace with the Giants, who improved to 5-2 yesterday. The Panthers fell to 1-5 and are left with many questions. The loss was their fourth in a row, each of the last three by five points or fewer.
Cam Newton, statistically was around his season’s averages, throwing for 233 yards and rushing for 64, throwing a TD but turning the ball over twice. The concern around Carolina is his (and the team’s inability) to close out close games. The electric rookie is settling into a sophomore season in which no growth is apparent, and leadership is in doubt.
Newton threw a second quarter interception in the end zone – a play in which he was hit while he tried to throw the ball away; his other turnover, a fumble, occurred on the play’s last game while the Panthers were attempting to lateral their way downfield with the clock at zero.
For the fourth time in six games, Newton led the team in rushing – probably not the best scenario for a team that hoped to make a playoff run this year. Without a credible running attack, Newton will face more pressure to perform this season.
For the Cowboys, Felix Jones did not take control of the ground game filling in for the injured DeMarco Murray. Jones tallied 44 yards on 15 carries. He added 5 catches for 30 yards. WR Miles Austin was a standout totaling 97 yards on 5 catches and a touchdown. Romo was a tidy 24 of 34 for 227 yards and that TD pass to Austin. He did not turn the ball over In this game.
The road doesn’t get easier for either team. Dallas hosts the Giants while the Panthers travel to take on the Bears next Sunday afternoon.