After a rough start for the offense, including a couple of holding calls and what looked like a miscommunication between Tony Romo and DeMarco Murray that resulted in a fumble and defensive touchdown for the Ravens, things calmed down on their second possession as the offensive line started making their presence known.
The Fab Five gave Romo plenty of pass protection and Murray plenty of running room. Then Romo and Dez Bryant decided they had toyed with the Baltimore defense long enough and the two connected on a 31 yard touchdown.
It was a thing of beauty as Bryant leaped to catch the ball at its highest point and come down gracefully in the end zone. I will say this, if the first string offense stays in that game, it would have been a blow out.
This offense is going to be something scary.
There were a couple of other players who made the coaches’ job a little more difficult heading into next weeks game against the Dolphins.
Jamar Newsome and Caleb Hanie had good games, and Ryan Williams had the best run of the night as he trucked stick a Raven defender on his way for a 27 yard gain to put the team inside the 5 yard line. Then he put the cherry on top by scoring from three yards out for his first touchdown of the preseason.
The defense didn’t see the field very much in the 1st quarter, mainly because the Ravens did their scoring on defense and on special teams, after the Bryant touchdown.
And speaking of special teams, there wasn’t anything special about them last night.
What was a strong-point for the Cowboys last season looked like a total wreck against the Ravens. Not only did they allow a 108 yard kickoff return for a touchdown, the unit also allowed a number of other long kickoff and punt returns. I’m not going to get worried about it right now, but it’ll be something to keep an eye on for the rest of the preseason.
Now back to the defense… I thought we would see a better effort out of the defense and they proved me right. Joe Flacco struggled to find any type of rhythm and, believe it or not, it was because there was a pass rush in his face.
Davon Coleman was one of many Cowboys to apply pressure, making things difficult for Flacco. So much so, the Ravens kept the first string offense in the game the entire first half. Bruce Carter also played better; he was active in the run defense and his pass defense improved as well.
Rolando McClain played way more snaps then I thought he would. McClain had some good plays, however, he had some not so good plays too. But that’s to be expected for a guy who hasn’t played in a real game in well over a year.
Although McClain led the team in tackles and had a good game, there was another player that stole the show. And really, when you have a large fat man getting sacks and getting in on run-stops, how can you not celebrate with the guy. I know I smiled from ear to ear when Zack Minter got his first sack, and then I gave a fist pump when he got his second sack of the game.
I’m not going to say Minter is a lock for this team, but he did get noticed, and he was noticed in a very good way. And the impressive thing about it all? Minter has only been with the team for three days.
Overall the defense did a better job in every aspect of the game.
They were far from perfect – they still allowed some big runs, and at times there wasn’t much pressure, but overall they were better than they were in San Diego. And really, that’s all you can ask for when you have as many problems on defense as the Cowboys had last week.
When this defense gets healthy – and yes they will get healthy – they will continue to improve each week, and next thing you know, what was supposed to be the weak link becomes the link that isn’t as weak as everyone thought it would be. And when that happens. who knows how far this team will go.