Cowboys take big step forward, Bills take big step backward

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Heading into today’s games, the Cowboys and Bills appeared to be fairly similar teams, both fighting for playoff spots in their respective conferences. But once the Cowboys and Bills stepped on the field in Dallas, they couldn’t have looked more different.

The Cowboys absolutely dominated the Bills in every phase of the game, taking a major step forward in the NFC playoff race with a 44-7 win. The Bills, meanwhile, looked terrible, and they’re going to be looking up in the AFC East standings at the winner of tonight’s Patriots-Jets game.

The story of the game for the Cowboys was Tony Romo, who was as accurate and effective as he’s ever been against the Bills. Romo was just about flawless in his passing, hitting his receivers in stride and always finding the open man. Although Romo has made some high-profile mistakes this season, when he’s on he’s among the league’s elite quarterbacks, and he was on today.

Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, however, turned in his second straight disappointing performance. Just as he did in last week’s loss to the Jets, Fitzpatrick looked like he struggled when he was under pressure and didn’t make many big plays. It’s a bit of a concern that Fitzpatrick has turned in two straight stinkers so soon after signing a big contract that ensures he’s the team’s franchise quarterback.

The first time Fitzpatrick dropped back to pass he was sacked by Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware, who remains on pace to break Michael Strahan’s NFL record for sacks in a season. If the Cowboys are playing big games down the stretch, Ware is going to get increased attention for the Defensive Player of the Year award.

And it looks like the Cowboys will be playing big games down the stretch: The NFC playoff race is crowded, and the Cowboys are still behind the Giants in the NFC East, but the Cowboys are making it clear that they’re going to be a tough team to beat.

38 responses to “Cowboys take big step forward, Bills take big step backward

  1. While I understand and agree with the praise for Romo, the reason for the Cowboys’ recent turnaround is DeMarco Murray. He has 600 yards in his first four career games as a feature back. That’s incredible. And he’s the reason Romo has shown improvement. Defenses actually have to respect the run now. Murray has to be in the conversation for Rookie of the Year.

  2. With Washington, Miami, and Arizona as the next three games, Dallas should be 8-4 barring a major stumble.

  3. And here come the good ol Bills we know and expect. At least we hope your lip flapping Superbowl talk will go away.

  4. Murray is keeping Romo from making all the mistakes. Easily the biggest steal of the draft. The Cowboys got at least 2 first round quality players, and depending on how Bruce Carter pans out once he settles in, the Cowboys could easily have had the best draft out of everyone. Hell, even their non-drafted rookies are performing.

  5. The Donald Jones Experiment needs to end! The Spencer Johnson/Alex Carrington OLB Expirement needs to end!!! This defense has improved against the inside run, but cutbacks and outside runs are killing them right now. Also, where are the Evans haters who thought Stevie would be fine without him? Yes, he’s hurt anyways, but you can’t just replace a proven Vet with an UDFA and expect the same results. Nelson and Chandler are keepers, but we need to take a real long look at the guys coming out in Jeffrey and Blackmon, and see if we can make a play to get either of them. However, in return, that takes away a prime pick for a defense that needs alot of work. I think they should try Morrison at OLB, it is a better option than Carrington/Johnson. Last year, we lacked size, this year we lack speed, draft and sign guys and let them play in their NATURAL positions! If anything, move actual ILB to OLB, and not DT converted to DE and try to convert them to OLB! Buddy, I like some of things you have done, but some of the things you neglect are starting to take it’s toll.

  6. CowBabies are like a box of chocolates, you NEVER know what you’re going to get. Next week they may not be even able to find the field.

  7. @NYJalleffingday

    The Patriots and Raiders aren’t good teams? If I recall, you lost to both of those teams, and come tonight, you will probaly be 0-3 against those “Bad Teams”.

  8. I agree @rabid, last 2 games fitz has been trying to cram every ball into donald jones. i thought they would have changed plans after last game.

  9. It’s one straight stinker for Fitzpatrick. He looked about as bad against Rex Ryan’s defense as he always has.

    Bills fans have to be nervous though with Ftizpatrick’s string of great games coming to an end with a thud just when the Bills needed him to step up his game if the Bills were going to make the playoffs.

  10. @nahcouldnt
    i dont know when the last time the afc east looked like this. buff will be one game back of 1st place after this week. that division is wide open.
    agreed though, fitz doesnt have the luxury that the subpar qbs sanchez/tebow/alex smith have with defenses. he has to get back to those early season stats if they want playoffs.

  11. Murray’s presence ensures that Romo doesn’t have to make every play. This looks like the best running game he’s ever had (Julius Jones, Marion Barber…seriously?). And the O-line looks much improved over the last few weeks. Three of their losses have been by less than a TD. They look good enough to hang with anybody. Now, if they could just stop beating themselves.

  12. It’s amazing what a good run game could do. Murrey has 600 yrds in 4 games since taking over the starter position. That is freaking off the chart. Not only does this make the Defenses respect the run, but it takes a lot of pressure off Romo to make every play happen.

    This now balanced attack is really going to benefit Murray and Romo. If Murray can stay healthy, you will see what the Cowboys are now made of. No more one sided pass every other play.

  13. You have to live Dallas haters after a spankfest like we just saw. No matter who Dallas beats its not good enough for the ignorant haters!

  14. All those turnovers the Bills D forced early in the year wallpapered over a lot of cracks….now, not so much.

  15. Once again romo proves he’s the best player in the NFL . With Demarco running the ball the way he is, the cowboys should run the table and go on to win the super bowl.

  16. Decades of poor drafting has killed the Bills. Whitner, Mike Williams, McKelvin, Spiller are all prime picks you HAVE to hit on in order to compete in today’s NFL. Especially I’f your owner is Ralph Wilson who will only spend the bare minimum in free agency to fill holes.

    Gailey said earlier this year that “we do it with smoke and mirrors”. Well, the smoke has cleared and the mirrors are shattered. A team of “misfits” is fun for a while but over a 16 game season you need talent and playmakers. We signed Dick Juron a few years back after a hot start and got burned. I’m afraid the same thing is going to happen with Fitz. The problem is you had no choice because of your inability to hit on a single prime draft pick. Save your money on Freddie and Stevie, they are good players who again you’ll overpay for because your scouting failed you. Would you have to empty your wallet for a 30 year old runningback if Spiller had panned out? You get my point.

    It’s 12 years to forget and I’m afraid it could be 12 more before they turn it around.

  17. Dez stole an interception away from George Wilson on that first TD…..Terrible throw, right at the defender and Dez reached over Wilsons head and took the ball…….sucks for me being a Bills fan, but that’s what a good receiver can do for you…..I along with another poster on this thread agree that Jones has not been too impressive….I also think it would be wise for the Bills to throw some serious cash at the left tackle position.

  18. @joetoronto @njjallday
    all the pretending keeps the bills one game back of first in the division. its only week 10.
    but overall a good point has been made, the bills cant win if Fitz keeps putting up sanchez like numbers. He doesnt have the luxury of a defense to bail him out of every game.

  19. next week vs skins and ur hopes will be crushed. get ready to cry b/c romo is unable 2 have games back 2 back. hell find some way to lose. trust me. ive seen it enough!

  20. i’ll start with 3 interceptions is not good on any level.
    BUT, before ya’ll hang fitz to dry, please remember there was a few very catch-able dropped passes that could’ve possible made things a little better for the Bills today. I agree, i think they should’ve waited till the end of the year to give him that nice deal, but he’s still a very good QB. he got beat up today with that O-line acting the way they did. And if you paid attention, it certainly wasn’t fitz that lost the game. it was all of defense that handed that disaster away.

    if you want to place blame anywhere, start with mckelvin first. he’s a HORRIBLE corner who shouldn’t be starting anywhere. every time i see him on the field it nauseates me.
    and what happened to dave wandsted? they bring him on as assistant head coach? wasn’t he a good defense guy? if he is, why not make him d coordinator?

    anyway, bills stink today. they’ll lose a lot of trust this year if they pull a 2008 again and only win 2 more games. those people that were hanging on by a thread, as a fan, may never trust them again. 12 years of horrible play can drive the most loyal fan out. 1 year out of the last 10 with a winning season makes it hard to ‘billieve’

  21. Equally as important, but not much talked about, it that in addition to a real running back the Cowboys have finally found a kicker. The issue of missed, game losing field goals has been giving me gray hair since at least the Parcells era.

  22. @jacksonjames

    I hear ya man. The only thing that I have to disagree with to your comment is the McKelvin hate. He gets put into to many match-up nightmares. He will not live up to the 1st round pick he was, but he is still a solid contributor to the secondary when put in the right position. In no way, shape, or form should he have drawn Dez Bryant in this game. I think George Edwards is in over his head, he needs to go, and they need to make the move after this season for it to work. They still have 4-3 guys, so hiring Wanstead could be the move. The Biggest problem this team has is no QB pressure. I’m not even talking about sacks, just enough pressure to make the QB hurry throws that will allow guys like Byrd, Wilson and McKelvin do their thing. Either way, at this point I almost wouldn’t mind a late season melt-down, as stupid as it sounds. With some premier offensive and defensive talent coming out, and the possibility of some coaching changes if things go south(Not Gailey), this may allow Buffalo to get their pieces in place for some solid years ahead.

  23. I always complain you guys take unnecessary shots at the Cowboys (actually, I’m starting to think you take unnecessary shots at everybody) but I must admit this article is pretty accurate.

    I expected the Cowboys to lose this game but they really opened up a can on the Bills.

  24. @ wvt3rd

    The ‘Skins? Really??? Would that be the same ‘Skins that lost to the Dolphins? The ‘Skins might not win another game and yet, few would be surprised.

  25. i agree about the qb pressure. leave it to the bills to make an average qb look great. the afc east is up in the air though. besides, i think its safe to assume that 10 is the magic number for a wildcard birth, very reachable considering the bills remaining schedule. they have MIA x2, NJJ, TEN, DEN, SD, and NE. 5 out 7 is very possible. the yets have a harder remaining schedule, and the pats have an equally strong remaining schedule.

  26. @ stanmark,

    The bills made an average QB look great? Are you serious? Do you even follow the stats of football? Romo broke all of Troy Aikman’s (Hall of Famer) records his first full season as a starter and has continued to put up numbers ever since. Just because youre a media sheep and listen to all the blame put on one guy doesnt mean its actually true. The Cowboys have lacked a running game for years now and also lacked the correct defensive coaching on the other side of the ball. Now they have both and you see the results. Its not Dallas’s fault the Bills cant keep up with a high caliber team. Soft ass Bills

  27. stick to 2011 ceshatz. romo has led his team to a 5-4 record just like fitz has done in his first year starting the bills. statistically romo averages the 8th best qb by rating/yds/td’s/ave ypg, fitz isn’t far behind by any of those measures.

    i think we both can agree that it would be wise for you to take notes from the buffalo fanbase and display a tempered enthusiasm for the cowboys instead of crowning the team on back of a rookie running back.

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