Dallas Cowboys: Ranking the top 5 players from week 2
After falling behind 14-0 in the second quarter, things looked bleak not only for the game but for the season. The Cowboys were staring down an 0-2 record with a team that appeared to be falling apart. However, in the blink of an eye the offense struck on a great throw and catch from Tony Romo to Miles Austin which sparked life back into the Cowboys season.
With Romo hurt late in the 2nd quarter and Jon Kitna struggling through the 3rd quarter, the Cowboys looked to be on the verge of another loss. When Romo came back in late in the 3rd quarter, he looked like a different player than the one fans saw last week late in the game. This week Romo was clutch, throwing for nearly 200 yards and leading the Cowboys on three scoring drives during the 4th quarter and overtime.
The Cowboys' Rob Ryan led defense gave up some yards through the air but again were able to shut down the opponent's run game. The 49er running backs rushed for 53 yards on 21 carries and one touchdown. While the defense did give up more in the passing game, they were also incredibly disruptive with their blitzing packages, sacking Alex Smith six times and hitting him nine times. When the secondary gets healthy this is going to be a much improved defense.
The Cowboys showed heart, determination and fight in their week 2 win and gave fans hope for the season. Here are the players who shined brightest in the game.
1. Tony Romo, QB
After crumbling in the 4th quarter in last week's loss, Romo played the part of a clutch player this week. He came back into the game with a broken rib and a punctured lung late in the 3rd quarter with his team down 10 points and played fantastic football down the stretch to get the win.
Romo stepped up after all the criticism this week and made play after play in crucial situations to lead his team to victory. It was a gutsy performance and showed that as Romo goes, so go the Cowboys and this week he willed them to a win.
Stats: 20-33, 345 yards passing, 2 TDs
2. Miles Austin, WR
For all the good Romo did, he wouldn't have been able to lead the comeback win without Miles Austin. Austin came up huge with a 53-yard touchdown catch just after the 2 minute warning in the first half. He took a short pass and flew down the field creating the spark the team needed.
Austin kept the Cowboys in the game while Romo was out by catching a short touchdown from Jon Kitna. Austin saved his best touchdown effort for last on a incredible catch and acrobatic move to will his way into the end zone.
Great play by Austin all game. Unfortunately he re-injured his hamstring providing the huge day. He will likely miss a few weeks and the offense will miss him.
Stats: 9 receptions, 143 yards, 3 TDs
3. Jason Hatcher, DE
Jason Hatcher had a great day for the defense on Sunday. He was impressive stopping the run and in putting pressure on Alex Smith. The Cowboy defense was relentless in their blitzing and Hatcher showed he can be a player on this team.
If Hatcher can continue to develop and provide the kind of play he did Sunday, this defense will improve as the season progresses.
Stats: 4 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 tackles for loss, 3 quarterback hits
4. Jason Witten, TE
Jason Witten is the most consistent player on the Cowboys offense. He isn't flashy, but Witten just makes plays throughout the game. He was Romo's security blanket on many 3rd down conversions and seemed to be open whenever Romo needed him.
It is easy to overlook a player like Witten but what he brings to this offense is stability. Witten will be a crucial player going forward with Austin missing time.
Stats: 7 receptions, 102 yards
5. Jesse Holley, WR
No Dez Bryant or Miles Austin—no problem. Holley provided huge catches down the stretch of the game when Romo needed someone to throw to. Holley made his first NFL catch in this game after being in and out of the league the last few years.
Holley's claim to fame prior to Sunday was his role on a reality TV show. After this week he may be moving up the depth chart with his impressive clutch play. The 77-yard game-clinching catch and run is one of the biggest plays for this team in the young season. Great play by Holley to bring the Cowboys a victory when they had to have one.
Stats: 3 catches, 96 yards, 1 tackle