Cowboys 27, Texans 13: My Top 10 Observations
9. Before the game on Fox, Jimmy Johnson predicted a Cowboys' win if they could simply "cut down their penalties." During the broadcast on 105.3 The Fan, Brad Sham said the Cowboys would win if they could "stop slipping on their own drool." Three takeaways and no turnovers oughta do the trick every time. How good does 1-2 feel compared to 0-3? Bye week = Sigh week.
8. From goat to hero: Keith Brooking. One play he's called for pass interference in the end zone, seemingly setting up a Texans' first-and-goal-at-the-1 touchdown to make it 17-10. Thanks to a holding call on Houston his penalty is neutralized and, two plays later, he sacks Matt Schaub on a blitz to force a field goal. Four plays later Tony Romo hits Roy Williams for 63 yards and a three-possession lead.
7. We've all been tough on Roy Williams but give the dude his due. His best day as a Cowboy featured five catches for 117 yards and two touchdowns, both on which he beat press coverage to the inside with a quick jab step and by - finally - utilizing his size and strength. Now, about still punctuating touchdowns with Hook 'Em Horns ...
6. I like it when Marion Barber runs hard. I like it better when he channels his enthusiasm for the good of the team. Beating his chest after a 3-yard run = Silly. Firing up the defense before an important series = Sensational.
5. So did offensive coordinator Jason Garrett get smarter overnight or did his players simply execute his plays better? I think you know the answer to that question. But if you clamored for balance you got it: 30 passes/ 27 runs.
4. Dallas punching it in on the first try from the 1 was a positive sign. Leonard Davis pancaked his man, Jason Witten helped open a hole and Barber ran authoritatively into the end zone. Sureness in short yardage is the sign of a good team. Oh, and Doug Free was so good his man - Mario Williams - didn't have a tackle, much less a sack.
3. Don't look now, but kicker David Buehler's last three field-goal attempts have been makes from 48, 49 and 40. Not sure if I trust him yet with the game on the line, but we shouldn't ignore his improvement.
2. This game/effort reminded me of the upset of the Saints in New Orleans last December. Is it possible these Cowboys don't handle success well but are at their best when facing maximum adversity?
1. "'Scuse me a minute ... " The great thing about sports: Tune in to a game and you never know when you're going to see something for the last time or, thanks for bumbling referee Carl Cheffers, something for the first time. The funniest/worst/most memorable referee call in the history of ever ...
"There are multiple fouls on the play. Unnecessary ... After the play was over, unnecessary roughness on number fifty-two ... 'Scuse me a minute. (Long, dramatic, awkward, hilarious pause) ... There are multiple fouls on the play, unnecesary roughness on the kee, on the kicking team number ninety-two. Fifty two! Unnecessary roughness on the receiving team number fifty ... seven. Those fouls offset. There's also ... a holding ... number 92 on the return team. All those fouls off-set at the spot of that foul. First down ... ki ... uh, Dallas."