ARLINGTON, Texas – Tony Romo got sacked on the first play of the game Saturday, but it wasn’t a sign of things to come.
Romo finished Saturday’s game 13-of-18 with 137 passing yards and two touchdowns, one each to Dez Bryant and Miles Austin, behind an offensive line that featured Doug Free at right guard and Jermey Parnell at right tackle.
“We won’t know until we look at the tape, but (Free)’s been doing a really good job there and he’s a really smart player,” Romo said via a conference call after the game. “Not everybody can make an adjustment like that, especially not in really one week. I think it’s a testament to Doug’s ability to play both those positions. Not unlike what I said about the wide receivers, the flexibility that he gives us sometimes is really, really a big deal to have a guy who can do multiple positions. I think he did a real good job.”
The offensive line had its occasional struggles, but for the most part managed to give Romo enough time and opened enough running lanes for the offense to rush for 154 yards. Romo said after the first sack of the game, the offense really got going.
“I think you’re always going to run the ball if you’re running the ball successfully,” Romo said. “More than anything, this game is about getting in the end zone. We all want it to be 10 runs and six passes – that’s ideal for everything – but that’s not always realistic.”
Romo spread the ball to his top wide outs throughout the day, finding Bryant for six catches, 54 yards and a touchdown and Austin for four catches, 59 yards and a touchdown. Both players scored their respective touchdowns in the second quarter, with Bryant securing a jump ball to cap a five-catch drive.
All four of Austin’s receptions came on third down, including his 12-yard touchdown catch in the back of the end zone to give the Cowboys a seven-point lead at the end of the second quarter.
“He did great,” Romo said. “I said it in training camp, Miles had a great training camp this year. He’s really got some juice to him. He’s been doing that the entire training camp. I’ve been saying this over and over again, but we’ve got to keep doing what we’re doing in training camp and it’s carried over to the preseason games.”
Romo also credited the offensive line for giving him time to operate and find Austin in the back of the end zone. He said it’s been a little bit since he’s had that kind of time.
“When you’re able to have that kind of time, you can do a lot of things as a quarterback – move a lot of different people a lot of different ways,” Romo said. “That’s a testament to the guys up front giving me that kind of time. That play doesn’t happen over time in the past, per se, I guess you could say.”
The Cowboys’ starting quarterback said it can be tough to recover if the offense struggles through the whole preseason, and Saturday’s dress rehearsal performance has the starters on the right track as they prepare for the opener against the Giants. He said his thought process will turn to the Sept. 8 opener Saturday night or Sunday morning.
“I’ve sprinkled in a little bit, but now I’m going to get real tightened up as far as a little more situational than an overview,” Romo said. “I think the team will probably wait until the middle of the week, but more than anything my stuff will start here this weekend.”