The Dallas Cowboys got a first demonstration of Tony Romo post-back surgery and were probably quite pleased with his ability, but the same can be said for the Baltimore Ravens and Joe Flacco, coming away with the 37-30 win as both side’s defenses show they need a lot of work before the season begins.
Romo completed 4-of-5 passes for 80 yards and avoided getting sacked on his first time out in this preseason, ending up completing a pass to Dez Bryant for a 31-yard touchdown. Bryant caught three passes for 59 yards and the TD. Romo and DeMarco Murray also botched up a snap that let to a Courtney Upshaw touchdown, giving Romo less snaps and time on the field than initially planned.
Flacco himself didn’t start, introduced to the game late in the first quarter. The former Super Bowl MVP completed 9-of-17 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown, as the Ravens opened up a big lead in the second and third quarters, finding themselves ahead by 24 points before the Cowboys started making their return Caleb Hanie and Dustin Vaughan, who each threw one touchdown pass. Brandon Weeden was the backup that disappointed, unable to avoid throwing an interception, something of a trademark of his during his time with the Browns.
The Ravens were finally pleased with their running game, something that they struggled with quite a lot last season. Ray Rice carried the ball twice for 21 yards. Bernard Pierce had one big 30-yard run to finish with 55 on seven carries and Lorenzo Taliaferro ran for 59 yards on 16 carries, scoring a touchdown. Last season the Ravens were one of the more inconsistent teams on offense, probably costing them a playoff spot. This season is a lot about improving their fluidity and timing when they have the ball.
Murray should be pleased with his performance as well, rushing for 34 yards on eight carries and adding a 21-yard reception. Murray seems over his injury problems, and if the Cowboys can give him some relief in the running game while also making a passing threat out of him, they might keep this evolving offense going in the right direction, which is a must considering how bad their defense might be again.
While the Ravens know it’s still going to take more time recovering from the mass exodus of veterans from the team that won the Super Bowl 18 months ago, they’re in decent shape defensively. The Cowboys? Last season they were bad on a historic level, and from what we’re seeing from them so far in this preseason, it’s not going to be very easy raising their game from that pitiful level.