Cowboys Turn Over Week 1 To the 49ers


As bad as the Dallas Cowboys defense has been bashed this off-season and preseason, it was the offense that sputtered during the teams Week 1 28-17 loss to the San Francisco 49ers to kick the 2014 season off.

The Cowboys were doomed in this one from the opening kickoff until the final horn. It was running back DeMarco Murray that allowed the first 49ers touchdown on the third play from scrimmage when he put the ball on the ground. It was picked returned for a touchdown by 49ers’ defensive back Chris Culliver for a touchdown for an early 7-0 score. The first two plays were not much better with Tyron Smith committing a false start to start the drive and Tony Romo missing Terrance Williams on an 18 yard pass.

Sep 7, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray (29) is tackled on a run by San Francisco 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis (52) and cornerback Perrish Cox (20) at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

On the Cowboys next drive, the Cowboys managed to move the ball down the field with running back Lance Dunbar making a huge play to get the Cowboys to the two yard line. That drive ended with a field goal after Romo was sacked for a nine yard loss on 2nd and 1, and threw an incomplete pass on 3rd and 10.

After the field goal drive things got real bad for the Cowboys offense. On their third possession of the game it did not take long for the 49ers to get the ball back and drive the score up even higher when Romo decided to throw the ball to receiver Dez Bryant crossing the middle in heavy coverage. That ball was intercepted by 49ers safety Eric Reid and returned 48 yards to the Cowboys 2 yard line where 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick hooked up with tight end Vernon Davis for their third touchdown of the first quarter.

Romo was not done throwing interceptions after his first one either. On the Cowboys fourth drive of the game, they were moving the ball nicely down the field when the first quarter ended and early to start the second quarter until they got down to the 49ers five yard line. That drive stalled out immediately once again when the Cowboys abandoned the run when they got down deep in the red zone. Instead of putting running the ball, Romo threw his second interception of the game when he was trying to hook up with his favorite target tight end Jason Witten in the end zone.

Following that interception the Cowboys defense stepped up to slow the bleeding by forcing the 49ers to punt. That stop really didn’t matter though. By the time the defense were able to get to the sideline and catch their breaths, they were right back on the field five plays later when Romo tried to force another pass to Bryant in heavy coverage only to see it intercepted by 49ers defensive back Perrish Cox.

Sep 7, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) talks with wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

That interception by the 49ers turned into seven points on the next 49ers drive when running back Carlos Hyde bulldozed his way into the end zone to put the visiting team up 28-3 with only 39 seconds left on the clock in the half. After two kickoffs by Phil Dawson due to penalties and a run by by Murray, the Cowboys left the field to a chorus of boos by the home team fans.

Following halftime Romo managed to keep from throwing anymore interceptions, but the damage was already done. Other than a two yard touchdown run by Murray in the third quarter, and a touchdown pass to Williams late in the fourth quarter, the Cowboys offense was stagnant for the rest of the game.

The defense on the other hand managed to completely shut the 49ers offense down after halftime forcing them to punt the ball every time they touched the ball. This loss is on the offense, and could have been a lot worse if the defense would not have shown up like many fans and writers thought.

Now with a week to get ready for the Tennessee Titans, head coach Jason Garrett and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan need to figure out the issues with this offense. They also need to get on Romo about throwing to receivers that are in heavy coverage. The way he tries to force the ball needs to stop. Also they need to figure out that running the ball on the goal line is not a bad idea.

Why the Cowboys continued to throw the ball when they were deep in the red zone is completely baffling. Both Murray and Dunbar were having strong performances to get the Cowboys down the field on drives so why not go back to one of them?