ARLINGTON – Well, that was ugly. San Francisco didn’t need NaVorro Bowman and Aldon Smith against a Dallas Cowboys team that looked poor in all three phases Sunday at AT&T Stadium.
Here are my five thoughts on the Cowboys losing their season opener 28-17. And if you didn’t watch, believe me, it wasn’t that close.
1.) Jerry Jones sure knew what he was talking about when he said the Cowboys faced "an uphill battle" and had their "backs up against the wall" this season. That display Sunday afternoon was embarrassing. The offense, which was projected to be among the league’s best, wasn’t good and the defense looked even worse than the group that finished last in the NFL a year ago. Bottom line, this season has the potential to get real ugly. I projected 7-9. I might have been being too generous.
2.) There was one bright spot on the day for the Cowboys: DeMarco Murray and the Cowboys’ running game. Dallas had a chance to tie the game early, but instead of running on second down from the 2-yard line, Tony Romo dropped back to pass and was sacked. Murray had carried five times for 26 yards at that point and should’ve gotten another handoff. Yes, Murray did allow the game’s first score when he fumbled on the Cowboys’ opening drive, but he made up for that with 118 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. Murray should be in line for another Pro Bowl appearance running behind this offensive line. But will the Cowboys stay committed to him?
3.) Good news: Tony Romo had his back tested on several occasions, and he never seemed to be in much pain. Bad news: Romo was pretty bad. He threw three first half interceptions and really had no one to blame but himself. A badly thrown ball and a couple of poor decisions greatly helped San Francisco build a 28-3 halftime lead. I expect Romo to be much better going forward. Then again, I can’t remember the last time he looked that bad. The worst part of his game had to be the deep ball. All were underthrown.
4.) Jerry Jones said during offseason workouts that the defense would be better because it couldn’t possibly be any worse than it was in 2013. He was wrong. Just because you finish last doesn’t mean the play actually can’t get worse. After not scoring a touchdown during the preseason, San Francisco looked like the NFL’s best offense, especially in the first half as they easily pulled away. Forget blaming the scheme, Monte Kiffin or Rod Marinelli, the Cowboys just don’t have enough playmakers on that side of the ball.
5.) It certainly felt like the Cowboys were playing in San Francisco on Sunday. The 49er faithful took over AT&T Stadium and made their presence known early. Cowboys fans care because they want a home field advantage. But I doubt Jerry Jones does. The announced attendance was 91,174. That’s a lot of hot dogs, nachos and beer. Cowboys fans that want to see Jones fail say stop going to the games. The problem, you can’t guarantee the other team’s fans won’t attend an event at arguably the finest sports venue in the country.