Rapid Reaction: Dallas Cowboys

A few thoughts on the Dallas Cowboys' 34-31 win over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome:

What it means: Any win on the road against any team cannot be taken lightly when the expectations for the Cowboys this season are as low as they are. So give the Cowboys credit for their win after overcoming an abysmal start, even if a lot of it was overcoming themselves.

DeMarco Murray fumbled for the third straight game, and the Rams countered with a touchdown. Tony Romo had an interception returned for a touchdown. As a result, the Cowboys were down 21-0 with 6:06 left in the half.

But then they scored 34 of the game’s next 37 points, culminating in a Bruce Carter interception return for a touchdown with 6:13 to play.

It matched the largest deficit the Cowboys have overcome in team history and the first time they did it in regulation. On Oct. 21, 1984, they beat the New Orleans Saints 30-27 in overtime. In the 1999 season opener, they did the same to beat the Washington Redskins 41-35 in overtime.

Century mark once more: Murray became the third Cowboys running back to start the season with three straight 100-yard games, but it was a fight. It was also Murray’s third straight 100-yard game against the Rams, as he finished Sunday with 100 yards on 24 carries. Did we mention it was a fight? In the first half, Murray carried 10 times for 40 yards, but 38 of those yards came on the final drive of the half. The seven other first-half carries gained 2 yards.

In the second half, Murray found it a little bit easier but was helped by a 44-yard run in the third quarter. When the Cowboys needed to run the clock out, they couldn’t do it.

Murray joined Tony Dorsett and Emmitt Smith as the only Cowboys runners to open with three straight 100-yard games. Dorsett did it in 1981. Smith did it in 1995, when he had four straight games.

Game ball: Yes, Romo had an interception returned for a touchdown in the first half, but the Cowboys quarterback looked far different than how he had played in the first two games. Romo was nimble, as evidenced by his 16-yard scramble on a third-and-13 run in the fourth quarter. Later, on third-and-14, he found Terrance Williams for 20 yards. Four plays later, he hit Williams on a 12-yard touchdown pass. There was no wild celebration. Romo simply pumped his fist and went to the sideline. His stats were modest -- 18-of-23, 217 yards -- but he made the plays when it mattered most.

Stock watch: When the Cowboys drafted Morris Claiborne with the sixth pick of the 2012 draft, they said he was their highest-rated defensive back since Deion Sanders. It looked like they could not have been more wrong until Claiborne sealed Sunday's win with an athletic interception in the closing minutes to stop the Rams’ final drive. Before that, however, Claiborne was beaten by Brian Quick for a 51-yard touchdown on the first play of the second quarter. In the third quarter, he was beaten on a go route for 38 yards by Kenny Britt and then missed a tackle on a 16-yard run by Zac Stacy. That drive led to a Rams field goal. Later, he was flagged for illegal contact and was the closest defender on St. Louis’ final touchdown. All is not forgiven with the interception, but at least Claiborne made the deciding play.

What’s next: The Cowboys return to AT&T Stadium to take on the Saints. Last year, the Cowboys were embarrassed at the Mercedes Benz Superdome 49-17 in a game when the Saints put up an NFL-record 40 first downs and 625 yards. After the Cowboys saw 49ers fans overtake the home stadium in the opener, the Saints fans will be out in full force as well. New Orleans has won both meetings at the new stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Rapid Reaction: Dallas Cowboys Rapid Reaction: Dallas Cowboys Reviewed by Mr. DCStands4 on 6:02:00 PM Rating: 5

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