HAPPY TRAILS TO FORMER COWBOY: Dallas DL Jarius Wynn signs with Buffalo Bills | NFL Free Agency 2014
IRVING, Texas – Another member of last year’s defensive line in Dallas will be playing with another team in 2014.
The Bills signed former Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Jarius Wynn, an unrestricted free agent, to a one-year deal Tuesday.
Wynn signed with the Cowboys on Oct. 17, 2013, and made his debut with the team just three days later, helping to hold LeSean McCoy to just 55 yards on 18 carries. His best game with the Dallas Cowboys may have been his second time playing the Eagles, when he notched two tackles, a sack and a tackle for loss in the season finale.
He was one of the few linemen signed in the middle of the year to stick the rest of the way, playing a total of 10 games with the Cowboys.
Wynn’s versatility was crucial on a defensive line ravaged by injuries. He was able to play inside when needed and bump outside to end to provide a rush. He even started for Jason Hatcher against the Saints when the defensive tackle was out with a stinger.
Wynn finished with 12 tackles, a sack, three tackles for loss and six quarterback pressures during his time in Dallas. He also played in five games with the Chargers in 2013 and recorded a sack.
His production last season would suggest he’d be a possible fit to return to the Cowboys in 2014, but Buffalo scooped him up. If Wynn is active for the Bills next season, it will mark his fifth different team he’s played for since joining the league as a sixth-round pick in 2009.
Wynn joins Jason Hatcher, DeMarcus Ware, and Corvey Irvin as players who were on the Dallas defensive line at the end of the 2013 season that’ll be playing elsewhere in 2014.
Former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly announced today (Monday) that he has been diagnosed with cancer.
The Hall of Fame signal-caller is battling Squamous-cell carcinoma of the upper jawbone, and he is scheduled to undergo surgery Friday.
“This past couple of weeks has been difficult for me and because of the nature of social media I thought it would be best to share with everyone what has been going on with my health,” Kelly said in a statement on the Bills’ official website. “I was recently diagnosed with Squamous-cell carcinoma (cancer) of the upper jawbone.
“I have undergone tests which have shown that the cancer is isolated to my upper jaw and has not spread to other parts of my body. Surgery is scheduled for June 7th and doctors have told me that the prognosis for my recovery is very good.”
Kelly knows there’s a long road ahead, but he expressed optimism Monday that he’ll be OK.
“When you hear the word cancer, it automatically scares the crap out of you,” Kelly told reporters Monday. “I know it not only scared me, but it scared my family. Like everything, it’s just another river to cross and another stumbling block.
“I’ve been to the top many, many times, and I’ve been to the bottom. It’s just one of those roller-coaster rides I’ve been on throughout my life; it’s just another challenge for me. I know I’ll beat it — that’s the bottom line.”
Kelly was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002 and is the Bills’ all-time leading passer with 35,467 yards. He also led the Bills to four consecutive Super Bowls from 1990 to 1993.
Our thoughts are with Jim and the entire Kelly family. All of us here at NFL.com and NFL Network wish him a speedy recovery.
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Black Monday has arrived, and it has brought a lot of change and bad news for many coaches and general managers around the NFL.
We’ll have all the big moves covered, and this post will be a one-stop shop for all the latest news.
Here’s what we right know:
Buffalo Bills: Coach Chan Gailey was let go after three seasons that went nowhere in Buffalo. The defense and quarterback play never improved. It’s unclear if general manager Buddy Nix will remain.
Chicago Bears: In the first mild surprise of the day, coach Lovie Smith was fired after three playoff appearances in nine years. General manager Phil Emery took the job last year and will hire his own man.
Cleveland Browns: The team announced Monday morning that coach Pat Shurmur and GM Tom Heckert are both out. They never had much of a chance once new owner Jimmy Haslam bought the team.
Kansas City Chiefs: Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt announced the team has parted ways with coach Romeo Crennel. The team said it has not made a final decision about GM Scott Pioli’s status.
Philadelphia Eagles: Owner Jeffrey Lurie confirmed Monday morning that coach Andy Reid is out after 14 seasons in Philadelphia. The Eagles won’t waste any time starting a coaching search.
San Diego Chargers: The Chargers announced both coach Norv Turner and general manager A.J. Smith have been let go. Ron Wolf has been brought in as a consultant to help search for the next leadership group.
Up in the air
Carolina Panthers: Ron Rivera has struggled to win close games during his tenure and isn’t a natural in game management. A four-game winning streak to end the season could save his job. The Panthers will hire a new GM.
Chances of a change: Strong. The next GM will decide Rivera’s fate.
Detroit Lions: Jim Schwartz and GM Martin Mayhew pulled off one of the best rebuilding efforts of all time after taking over the 0-16 Lions. And then the bottom fell out for a talented roster this year.
Chances of a change: Growing. Multiple outlets said earlier in the week that Schwartz was safe, but Lions ownership is disturbed with the team’s culture, it could make a change. Schwartz is signed through 2015.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Mike Mularkey was hired just last year, but his boss, GM Gene Smith, was fired Monday morning. Mularkey wasn’t able to develop young quarterback Blaine Gabbert.
Chances of a change: Good. Mularkey told players in a team meeting that he’s still the head coach after talking with the owner Thursday and Monday. Mularkey’s fate ultimately will be decided by the next GM. Mularkey will have to wait and see.
Dallas Cowboys: Cowboys owner Jerry Jones intimated throughout the process that he hasn’t even thought about changing head coaches. NFL Network contributor Jay Glazer first reported that coach Jason Garrett was safe two weeks ago. Garrett could be asked to hire an offensive coordinator that calls plays.
New York Jets: The Jets announced that GM Mike Tannenbaum was let go Monday morning. But they also announced Rex Ryan will stay on as coach. It’s an awkward arrangement for whomever the Jets hire to run the personnel department.
Tennessee Titans: The Tennessean reported Monday that coach Mike Munchak will keep his job despite a 6-10 record. Personnel executive Mike Reinfeldt is out, though.
IRVING, Texas – If one team beat another team 19 out of 21 teams, you wouldn’t call it a coincidence.
If a guy made 19 of 21 free throws, he’d be a good free-throw shooter.
So if Tony Romo has won 19 of his 21 games in the month of November, there’s got to be something there, right? Maybe?
Well, the Cowboys at least hope so, especially with this team sitting at 3-4 and needing some kind of spark to make a run at the playoffs.
In the past, that spark has occurred in November, especially with Romo as the quarterback. Since he took over as the starter back in 2006, Romo is a remarkable 19-2 record in the month of November with losses occurring against Washington in 2006 and then in Green Bay in 2009.
Last year, the Cowboys went 4-0 in November, beating Seattle, Buffalo, Miami and Washington. So the schedule can often play a factor, considering all four of those teams missed the playoffs in 2011.
And it’s not just Romo as the Cowboys have been somewhat successful without him in November. In 2010, with Romo out with broken collarbone, Jon Kitna led the team to a 2-2 record during a 6-10 season.
The Cowboys’ PR staff keeps all kinds of stats regarding Romo’s record as a starter when different things occur. For instance, they’ve got his record at home, on the road, indoors, outdoors, when plays on turf or grass, when he throws no picks, one pick, when he’s sacked once or more, or not at all, when the offense has more than 300 yards …. and so on.
None of the stats have a higher winning percentage than Romo playing his ‘A’ games in November (90 percent). The next would be when Romo has a QB rating of over 100.0 … the Cowboys are 33-9 (78.5).
Whether it’s the fact the Cowboys usually get more home games in November with the Thanksgiving game, coupled with being at home the week before, or it’s the time of year the Cowboys just start clicking … or a simple coincidence that keeps trending every year – the Cowboys need it to continue more than ever this year.
Punter Brian Moorman knew the deal when he signed with the Dallas Cowboys: He wasn’t long for Dallas. His stay was expected to be only as long as it took Chris Jones to return from a knee injury. But the Cowboys placed Jones on season-ending injured reserve Wednesday, allowing Moorman to get out of a hotel and into a rental property.
"I came in to spell him and get him healthy," Moorman said. "I knew my place. I told him right from the start’ I’m not here to replace you and here to help you as much as I can.’ It’s been great. I think Chris is a great punter, and he’s got a long future in this league. Just look at what he’s done, and what he’s capable of doing. You don’t want it to come down to something like that – an injury to cost somebody to lose their season like that. You stay positive and just get him healthy and get him back for next year."
Jones is the team’s second punter to go on injured reserve in two seasons. Mat McBriar finished last season on IR with a cyst in his left leg.
Jones sprained his left (kicking) knee when he was roughed in the Tampa Bay game on Sept. 23. The Cowboys signed Moorman to take his place for the Oct. 1 game against the Bears. But Jones returned Oct. 14 against the Ravens when Moorman injured his groin in practice the week of that game.
Jones later was diagnosed with a partially torn anterior cruciate ligament, though he won’t require surgery. He said his one punt in the game against the Ravens did not make the injury worse.
"I rehabbed it and rehabbed it and rehabbed it and strengthened it," Jones said. "I figured it would be something I could play with and just kind of manage it that way. But I guess it was a little too much. Now I’ve got some time to get it back."
Jones averaged 45.2 yards a punt with a 40.0 net and had six punts inside the 20. Moorman has averaged 44 yards a punt with a 42.3 net. He has had four of seven punts downed inside the 20.
"I’ve hit the ball better this year going back to training camp than I’ve ever hit it in my career," said Moorman, released by the Bills after 179 consecutive starts because of his 32.7 net average there this season. "I feel my confidence has never wavered, and I don’t think my ability has ever wavered. It’s been an unfortunate situation this year that I’ve come into. But sometimes you run into adversity. It’s just kind of how you rally and move on. I was lucky to be able to quickly come to a new team and be able to put the past behind me, and that’s just what it is. It’s the past, and I’m looking forward to the future, and I’m happy to be a Dallas Cowboy."
DENVER (AP) — The days of lugging around 500-page playbooks and stacks of DVDs are over for half of the players in the NFL.
Their teams have gone digital, replacing the old-fashioned thick paper playbooks with iPads that put everything from X’s and O’s to notifications, scouting reports and video cut-ups at their fingertips.
"Technology is taking over the world and we’re just trying to keep up with it," Green Bay Packers backup quarterback Graham Harrell said.
The number of teams using iPads for playbooks and game film has increased this season from two to 14. In the NFC, the Bears, Cardinals, Cowboys, Lions, Packers, Panthers, Redskins and Seahawks are using the tablets as are the Bengals, Broncos, Chargers, Colts, Dolphins and Ravens in the AFC.
Other teams, such as the Chiefs, Titans and Saints, are using iPads for some things but haven’t completely abandoned three-ring binders, and the Bills are considering switching over next year, when the NFL makes game film available in high definition, coach Chan Gailey said.
The Ravens and Buccaneers were the first teams to go digital last year, although Tampa Bay returned to the traditional playbooks this season under a new coaching staff.
The top model iPads that feature 64 gigabytes of data and retail for $829 each are loaded with about $700 worth of programming, and most teams issue them to roughly 120 players, coaches, scouts and other personnel. That works out to roughly $180,000 per team.
Broncos video director Steve Boxer figures it will take about a year to begin realizing a cost savings from ditching the paper playbooks that consumed trees, money and manpower and kept copy machine repairmen on speed-dial.
Daily itinerary updates, diagrams and video are automatically pushed to each iPad so a player can have the video clips of a practice or game downloaded by the time he gets out of the shower. Because the video isn’t streaming, he can watch it on the airplane or at his apartment, whether or not he has a Wi-Fi connection.
Apps developed by PlayerLync in suburban Denver or Global Aptitude out of Baltimore allow players and coaches to highlight sections in yellow on the tablet’s touchscreen and to write notes with a stylus just as they would with a pencil on paper playbooks. Those notes are saved on servers and can be downloaded again at any time for future reference.
"I don’t think there’s any minuses unless you lose it and have to pay that fine," Dallas defensive end Marcus Spears said.
Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten (82) arrives in the Redskins end zone on a 59 yd run
The Cowboys 27-24 overtime victory against the Redskins on Sunday may have not come as easy as expected considering Washington is in the midst of a six-game losing streak.
But the only thing that mattered was that the Cowboys (6-4) got the victory. It was their third straight and fourth in the last five games.
That fact was never more important than late Sunday night when former Longhorns quarterback Vince Young led the Eagles to a victory over the Giants.
The Cowboys are now tied for first place atop the NFC East with the Giants.
“It’s easy to say you want to stack wins together,” tight end Jason Witten said. “But it’s hard to do that. We knew it was going to be a tough game. But to stay in the hunt that’s what you got to do. No way are we a championship team right now but those type teams have won those games where you look back and say we willed that. Just find a way to win. For us that was a will type of win.”
The Cowboys will be looking for their first four-game winning streak since they ripped off seven straight in 2007 when they take on the Dolphins (3-7) on Thanksgiving Day.
Considering that the Cowboys take on the lowly Cardinals after the Dolphins, that streak could move to five games if things go right. Add in a tough schedule by the Giants, who play the Saints and Packers the next two weeks, the Cowboys could distance themselves a bit before the Dec. 11 showdown with the Giants at Cowboys Stadium.
Owner Jerry Jones is just happy for the win against the Redskins and plans to take nothing for granted against a Dolphins team that has won three straight, including a blowout of the Bills on Sunday, after losing seven straight to open the season.
“I saw what Miami did against the Bills and I saw how competitive and tough this was right here,” Jones said. “I really am not going anywhere with this. We’ve got some tough games ahead, starting here in about three days, four days, I guess.”
Photo courtesy: Star-Telegram/Max Faulkner
Dallas Cowboys cornerback Terence Newman (41) returns a Buffalo Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) interception for a touchdown.
Terence Newman leads the Cowboys in interceptions and pass breakups, but he’s not calling this an “I-told-you-so” year after the Dallas Cowboys tried to sign the top free agent at his position in training camp.
Or maybe he is.
“A lot of people have doubted me, and I think when, you know, you’ve got people that doubt you, you go out and you try to prove people wrong,” the veteran cornerback said Thursday at Valley Ranch. “That’s what anybody would do.”
Newman hasn’t talked to reporters much this year because he’s not interested in talking about his health, or lack of it, or revitalized career. The nine-year veteran just wants to let his play speak for him.
“I just go out and play football,” he said. “That’s why I don’t really want to talk about it, because I don’t really care about injuries. I just want to go out and play football and have fun.”
Newman has four interceptions, seven pass breakups, 34 tackles and a fumble recovery. Last week against Buffalo, he had two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown.
How does he feel about his year?
“It’s not over,” he said. “That’s the way I feel. When it’s over, that’s when I’ll evaluate it. But there’s no halfway evaluation for me. Or this team.”
Photo courtesy: Khampha Bouaphanh
The league on Friday announced that Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and Raiders running back Michael Bush were the FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Week for Week 10.
Romo completed 88.5 percent of his passes – including 13 in a row to start the game, with three touchdowns – and 270 yards in a route of the Buffalo Bills. His 148.4 quarterback rating was the highest for a single game in franchise history.
The second Cowboys player to win the FedEx award this year – DeMarco Murray won it for his 253-yard game against St. Louis – Romo earns a $2,000 donation for the Dallas chapter of Junior Achievement.
To win the honor, Romo beat out big passing days by Tom Brady of New England and the Saints’ Drew Brees.
The Eagles fans I’ve met personally don’t so much hate the Cowboys as it’s more of strong dislike or distaste, often simply out of peer influence. Now I’ve never been to Philly, only known out-of-state Eagles fans in New York and Virginia, so maybe I’m out of touch on this. But it’s just my experience.
The Giants are even more distant, and many seem to hate the Eagles more, especially after a 6-game losing streak to them. New York fans, in my experience, tend to be more about priding themselves about how the Cowboys supposedly “suck” than about real hatred, especially since their 2007 Super Bowl run.
Redskins fans, however, have a genuine, real hatred of the Cowboys that’s longstanding. This is helped by the fact that Washington has been 7-20 against Dallas since 1998.
Packers and Steelers fans obviously have more pressing rival teams on their minds, such as the Bears and Ravens, than the Cowboys. I threw that in there just for the sake of it.
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Photo courtesy: Khampha Bouaphanh
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) smiles while on the sideline during an NFL football game at Cowboys Stadium.
Recent public surveys ranked Tony Romo as one of the most disliked players in the NFL. Well, those that dislike him certainly weren’t hanging around the players exit at Cowboys Stadium on Sunday.
Following the 44-7 victory over the Buffalo Bills, fans screamed and yelled for the Cowboys’ franchise quarterback as he was attempting to walk to his vehicle. Graciously, Romo signed several autographs and even posed for a photo.
Check out the YouTube video and see what it’s like to be Romo after work.
Courtesy link to video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ItISwAATgI
Photo courtesy: Ron T. Ennis/Star-Telegram
While quarterback Tony Romo and running back DeMarco Murray are getting all the headlines, deservedly so for their stellar play in Sunday’s blowout win against the Bills, its the improved play of the team’s offensive line that is the foundation of the Cowboys success of late.
It would be too simple, although somewhat accurate, say the improvement in the line coincided with the return of guard Montrae Holland not only to the team but to the starting lineup.
Holland replaced injured rookie Bill Nagy at left guard giving the Cowboys more bulk and experience up front which was crucial considering that team has first years starters at center and right tackle in Phil Costa and rookie top pick Tyron Smith.
But what’s also work is that the line has had chance to grow and gain some continuity and chemistry.
The Bills game featured the same offensive line playing together for the fourth straight game for the first time all season.
“When a group, any group, any position group is playing together it’s really important because you get a real good feel for each other and the communication you need to have,” coach Jason Garrett said. “There probably is no group on a football team that needs to communicate better than the offensive line. There are a lot of calls they make together and there is a lot of communication that happens right before the snap that they have to be on top of and be on the same page. And so the more times you get the chance to do that in practice and in games, hopefully you’ll get better at it.”
Photo courtesy: Star-Telegram/Ron Jenkins
Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett challenged with the task of keeping the ‘boys focused for the next 12 days
IRVING – There is a certain rhythm to the NFL schedule. Teams typically play on Sundays, allowing them plenty of time during the work week to process what happened in the previous game, refocus, and make preparations for their next contest.
But on Sunday, when the Cowboys throttled Buffalo 44-7, they began a stretch in which they play three games in a span of 12 days. This weekend, they will travel to Washington to face the Redskins before returning home for a showdown with Miami on Thanksgiving Day.
If the players and coaches seemed fazed by the challenges presented by their unusually condensed schedule, they didn’t reveal their concerns Monday.
Instead, Cowboys safety Abram Elam said the team is concentrating on its next game and nothing more.
“Really what our focus is on Washington this week and this week will be pretty normal for our players,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett added. “We’ll have a quick turnaround next week getting ready for the Thursday game. But we’ve played in those Thursday games before.
“We feel good about how we prepare for them. But the thing we need to focus on more than anything else is our preparation for Washington.”
Photo courtesy: Star-Telegram/Ron Jenkins
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Jesse Holley (16) hangs on to the ball … and his position with the ‘boys special teams.
IRVING, Texas — Following Sunday’s victory over the Buffalo Bills, Cowboys wide receiver/special teamer Jesse Holley was asked about his status with the team. For weeks the Cowboys needed to juggle their roster due to injuries and it appeared Holley might get released.
After catching a 77-yard pass in overtime in the Week 3 victory over San Francisco, Holley has disappeared. He has a total of four catches, including a 25-yarder in the first quarter on Sunday, on the season.
Holley doesn’t worry about the lack of offensive snaps. He’s a punt protector and is among the team leaders on special teams.
“It’s part of the game and you just … I don’t control that,” Holley said. “I can control what I can control and I can keep coming out there with my head down working hard every day in practice doing everything I got to do. They keep trying to find a way to cut me and it ain’t happened yet.”
The Cowboys still value Holley in some fashion or he wouldn’t be here. He can’t return kicks yet has improved as a receiver but not enough where the Cowboys use him on a regular basis.
Special teams is where he makes his living. Holley said he’s inspired by Bill Bates, a long-time special teams ace for the Cowboys in the 1980s and ’90s.
“Bill Bates, 15 years, that’s all I got to say about that,” Holley said. “They tried to cut Bill Bates for 10 years, 12 years. What the hell? Bill Bates 15 years. I can play 10.”
Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray (29) jumps over Buffalo Bills free safety Jairus Byrd (31) during the third quarter. Buffalo Bills lost to the Dallas Cowboys 44 – 7 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX. (Star-Telegram/Max Faulkner)
ARLINGTON — DeMarco Murray hurdled one of the Buffalo Bills (Jairus Byrd), clearing the crown of the helmet as if it were a high-jump bar.
Later, Murray opted to lay low. “I definitely think,” the Cowboys rookie said quietly, “I get too much credit.”
Maybe Murray does. It wouldn’t be the first time the media buzzed about a passer or a runner instead of the less glamorous.
But anyone who went across the Dallas locker room, over to where the overlooked, large men dress, heard the other side.
Murray gets too much credit?
“He makes the linemen look good,” one of them said.
There was a sense a month ago Murray had merely run in the right place at the right time when he set the Cowboys’ one-game rushing record. It came against the Rams, after all. When Murray said “a bus” could have fit through some of the holes, most nodded.
“Let’s not start any star-is-born talk,” an Oklahoma City columnist wrote that day.
He had a point. Last season, Sooners fans wondered if Murray should have even been the starter.
Murray announced after the St. Louis game that Felix Jones was still the starter. “I’m ready to be the No. 1 guy, the No. 2 guy, the No. 3,” Murray said that day. “Whatever they want me to do.”
Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, avoiding a rush by the Bills’ Da’Norris Searcy, barely seemed to break a sweat on Sunday.
Photo courtesy: James P. McCoy /Buffalo News
ARLINGTON, Texas — Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo might as well have played Sunday’s game in a tuxedo. He could have left Cowboys Stadium without taking a shower. He could have sent text messages before throwing some of his passes.
“If you get that extra half a second, the game becomes quite a bit easier,” Romo said after leading Dallas to a 44-7 victory over the Buffalo Bills. “That is a lot of times the simplicity of it.”
Romo and the Cowboys made the game look simple and the Bills’ pass defense look awful.
Romo enjoyed the most accurate passing day ever by a Bills opponent. He connected on 23 of 26 passes — 88.4 percent — for 270 yards and three touchdowns.
In sending the Bills (5-4) to their second straight ugly defeat and their third loss in four games, Dallas exposed a multitude of flaws in Buffalo’s team.
The biggest, however, is the Bills can’t generate any pressure on the quarterback.
Romo wasn’t sacked once and was barely hurried. Take away their 10-sack game against Washington, and the Bills have managed just five sacks in their other eight outings.
“Pressure, coverage, tackling, everything you do on defense needed to be better,” Bills cornerback Drayton Florence said. “The sense of urgency throughout the whole game just wasn’t there.”
“We were trying to come after him a little bit, but we were trying to pick and choose our spots,” Bills coach Chan Gailey said. “You don’t want to commit all out and leave everybody one on one in the back end back there.”
The rush linebackers who were on the field Sunday have combined for just three sacks all season. Spencer Johnson has two. Danny Batten and Arthur Moats have half a sack each. Antonio Coleman, pressed into service due to the injuries to Shawne Merriman and Chris Kelsay, has none.
So Romo sat back and picked the Bills apart. He completed 13 straight passes to open the game and went 18 for 19 in staking Dallas to a 28-7 halftime lead.
On this day, the Bills’ pass coverage was as bad as its edge rushing.
On the first Dallas touchdown, cornerback Leodis McKelvin was stride for stride down the right sideline with 6-foot-2 receiver Dez Bryant. McKelvin looked back for the ball at the right time. But Bryant reached his big body over McKelvin’s head and grabbed the ball away for a 34-yard score.
The Bills blitzed, but safety Jairus Byrd couldn’t get to Romo.
“I was in position,” McKelvin said. “I looked back at the ball and I jumped. He just made the play that I didn’t make. That’s just the way the whole game went.”
“When it’s one on one, what you don’t do with Dez is overthrow him,” Romo said. “The kid played good defense, he had him covered decent. It was Dez just being Dez, going up and getting the ball.”
On the second Dallas drive, the touchdown pass went to Laurent Robinson, from 5 yards out on a third-and-goal situation. Once again, the Bills called a big blitz and safety Bryan Scott rushed free, right up the middle at Romo. But Scott didn’t make the play. Romo made a spin move to his left, and Scott never got a finger on him. Robinson was wide open in the end zone.
Dallas’ third touchdown was a one-play drive, after new Bills kicker Dave Rayner missed a 52-yard field goal try.
On first down, Romo went deep for Robinson, who blazed past Florence down the left side of the field and was wide open for a 58-yard scoring play.
It was clear from the postgame comments that Dallas caught the Bills in the perfect defense to be vulnerable to the bomb. George Wilson, the safety on Florence’s side, bit underneath on a hitch route run by tight end Jason Witten. Florence didn’t think Robinson was going long and hesitated as the receiver blew by him.
“There was something we saw that we thought was going to be favorable, based on what they were playing,” Dallas coach Jason Garrett said. “Laurent did a nice job of running up on the corner and beating him over the top. Jason Witten, if you watch that play closely, did a really good job of eating up the safety, as well.”
“They schemed us on that play,” Florence said. “I could have done better technique. I could have been a little bit higher on him. But that’s a play that we knew was going to come sooner or later in the game and they hit it on us.”
That made it 21-0 just 17:43 into the game.
The Bills’ offense responded with an 80-yard drive to a touchdown on a 3-yard pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick to David Nelson.
But any thoughts that this might be an epic comeback like the Bills waged against New England were snuffed out when Romo took the Cowboys to a fourth TD in four possessions to push the lead to 28-7.
Romo was 7 of 8 for 58 yards on that 80-yard march. On third downs in the first half, he was 7 of 7 for 90 yards and a TD.
“Defensively one of the biggest things these past couple weeks has been getting off the field on third down,” said Bills linebacker Kelvin Sheppard. “That’s no secret. We have to go back to the drawing board. Teams are obviously seeing something we’re doing on film. We’re not executing properly. Everything’s drawn up for us, it’s just a matter of going out and doing it. We’ve got people in third and 7s, third and 8s. You’ve got to get off the field.”
Dallas (5-4) held the Bills to just 98 yards in the first half. The Bills allowed only one sack of Fitzpatrick — on a busted assignment on the first play of the game. But Fitzpatrick was harassed repeatedly by Dallas’ pass rushers.
Fitzpatrick finished 20 of 31 for 146 yards, his lowest output of the season. Bills back Fred Jackson finished with 114 yards rushing, most in garbage time in the second half.
Worse for the Bills was the fact center Eric Wood suffered what looked like a sprained knee late in the fourth quarter. Gailey said it probably will keep him out of next week’s game in Miami.
After two straight defeats, that game is shaping up as a must-win for the Bills.
“We’re a good football team but we didn’t show it today,” Florence said. “They whipped our [butt] — that’s the bottom line.”
Courtesy: Mark Gaughan | The Buffalo News
Here are the notes compiled by the Cowboys’ after the game:
The Dallas Cowboys 37-point win (44-7) tied the 10th-largest margin of victory in team history. It was the club’s biggest win since defeating Arizona (10/22/00) by 41 points (48-7).
Dallas’ 44 points scored today were the most for the club since racking up 45 against the N.Y. Giants (9/9/07).
The Cowboys scored a touchdown on each of their first four drives today. It was the first time the club scored a touchdown on its first three drives since doing so against Seattle (11/27/08). We are looking into the last time the club managed a touchdown on each of the first four drives, and that will not be completed tonight.
Dallas’ 28 points scored in the first half today was the most for the club in the first half since scoring 28 against Detroit (10/19/03).
Dallas also converted eight-of-12 third down opportunities. The club’s 66.7 third down conversion percentage was the third-most in team history as far back that can be researched today. The top-two spots were a 72.7 percentage(eight-of-11) at Atlanta (10/29/95) and at Cleveland (9/7/08).
For the second consecutive week, the Cowboys had three interceptions in a game. It was the 13th time in franchise history Dallas had back-to-back three-interception games. The others were in 1967, 70, 73, 77, 80, 81 (twice), 82, 83, 84, 94 and 2007.
With 433 yards of offense today, the Cowboys have five games with 400-or-more yards this season. It ties the third-highest figure in team history. The highest was eight (2009), followed by six (1979, 81, 83, 2007 and 2010) and five (1966, 68, 71, 76, 78, 86 and 88).
Photo: Star-Telegram/Max Faulkner
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo said it was simply a case of “Dez just being Dez.”
That was a compliment.
Romo was referring to Bryant’s acrobatic touchdown catch over the top of Buffalo cornerback Leodis McKelvin on the team’s first possession, which he admitted was “all Dez.” McKelvin appeared to have a shot at the interception, but Bryant reached over his shoulder and ripped the ball away to give the Cowboys a quick 7-0 lead.
“I just feel like the ball is mine,” Bryant said. “I feel like that’s what every receiver should feel.”
On Sunday at least, it appeared that’s exactly how all the Cowboys receivers were feeling. With Miles Austin sidelined with a hamstring injury, Romo spread the ball around to six different targets. Bryant had six catches for 74 yards. DeMarco Murray had six for 36, and tight end Jason Witten had five for 37.
Laurent Robinson had only three catches, but two went for touchdowns on Dallas’ second and third possessions. After his 5-yard reception put the Cowboys up 14-0 late in the first quarter, Robinson blew by cornerback Drayton Florence and hauled in a 58-yard touchdown pass.
Robinson, who now has a touchdown catch in three consecutive games, continues to be one of the team’s biggest surprises this season. He has six catches of 20 or more yards in six games this season.
“It’s hard to do what Laurent has done,” Witten said. “To come in during the middle of the year at a skill position in our offense, a system that’s been in place for five years, that’s not always easy to do. … To make the plays he’s made really speaks volumes about him, his knowledge of the game and understanding coverages.”
Despite the offense’s success Sunday, Bryant is eager for Austin to return.
“Miles is one of the most explosive players in the league, and without him being in this offense, it makes a big difference,” he said. “We just have to step our game up, and I feel like we’ve done a great job of that. But we can’t wait to have him back. It will make things much easier.”
Austin told owner Jerry Jones after the game that he is working hard to get back.
“Trying to get better; trying to get back,” Austin said.
HALL OF FAME ALERT: Dallas Cowboys Jason Witten passes Ozzie Newsome for third all time in catches among TEs
Photo courtesy: Khampha Bouaphanh
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo completes a pass to Dallas Cowboys future Hall of Fame tight end Jason Witten.
With his five catches Sunday, Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten passed Ozzie Newsome and moved into third place in all-time receptions for tight ends. Witten, who now has 666 catches and is one reception short of his eighth consecutive 50-catch season, trails only Tony Gonzalez (1,114) and Shannon Sharpe (815) on the all-time tight end receptions list.
“[Newsome] was really the staple and the foundation of what this position is all about,” Witten said of the Cleveland Browns Hall of Famer. “When you pass a guy like that, being a fan of the game, you always look up to those guys that really gave you an opportunity to do it. I’ve got a long way to go still. But it’s special to pass him.”
Witten had five catches for 37 yards.
“I’ll tell you one thing: Troy Aikman did have Jay Novacek as that safety valve, and Tony Romo has that with Witten out there, too, which is a big plus for us,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said.
Photo courtesy: Khampha Bouaphanh
Dallas Cowboys inside linebacker Sean Lee (50) takes down Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson (22) in the third quarter in NFL football at Cowboys Stadium.
Dallas Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee, who said watching last week’s game from the sideline was “torture,” returned to the field Sunday with a large cast covered in bubble wrap and tape on his dislocated left wrist.
Lee finished with three solo tackles and an assist. He said he is adjusting to playing with the cast and still experiencing some pain.
“I thought I tackled poorly in certain situations, from the side,” he said. “Fred Jackson’s a great back, and then I kept sliding down and wasn’t able to wrap up like I usually am. That’s something I’m going to have to maybe change up my game a little bit.”
Lee hopes not to wear the bulky cast too long.
“Right now it’s still in the healing process,” he said. “There’s still broken bones, still torn ligaments, so we still need that cast. But I’d be surprised with the way it’s healing if I need the cast all year. I think the more and more it heals, I think I’ll be able to change up the cast.”
Lee entered the game leading the team in tackles witih 73.
Photo courtesy: Khampha Bouaphanh
Dallas Cowboys cornerback Terence Newman (41) returns an interception in the fourth quarter against Buffalo in NFL football at Cowboys Stadium.
Terence Newman’s two interceptions gave him six for the season, continuing an outstanding comeback season for the veteran Cowboys cornerback.
He missed the first two games with a groin injury, and in training camp, the Cowboys were trying to sign the premier free agent cornerback, Nnamdi Asomuguha.
“He’s certainly playing well,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “He made a number of plays on the ball. It seems like he’s very comfortable playing in the defense, and it seems like when he has the opportunity to make plays, he’s making them.”
It was the second consecutive game with an interception for Newman. He’s done that three times in his career. His fourth-quarter interception return for a touchdown was h is third career “pick-six.” And the multi-interception game was his fourth career.
His 32 interceptions tie him with Lee Roy Jordan for seventh in team history.
Frank Walker also had an interception for the Cowboys, making it back-to-back three-pick games for the team. That’s the 13th time the Cowboys have done that.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) grabs a first quarter TD pass as Buffalo Bills cornerback Leodis McKelvin (21) defends.
With six catches for 74 yards, including an acrobatic 34-yard touchdown catch in which he leaped over a defender, receiver Dez Bryant arguably had his best game of the season against the Lions.
He was thrown to six times in the game and caught all six.
Owner Jerry Jones has been everything the Cowboys thought he was when they drafted in last season _ a great athlete who was still rough around the edges.
The good thing, according to Jones, is that he is improving and working had to get better.
“He has been frustrating and he has been elating,” Jones said. “And so it’s exactly what we thought when we drafted him right to the T. If we didn’t plan on having a little frustration we should have gone a different direction. No surprises with him. Dez is really doing better each week, relative to what he’s doing on the practice field, and he’s growing as a man off the field.”
Dallas Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey (5) hits a field goal in the 4th quarter. The Buffalo Bills lost to the Dallas Cowboys 44-7 at Cowboys Stadium
Dan Bailey hadn’t had this much fun since his days at Oklahoma State. The rookie placekicker was one of the busiest guys on the field Sunday, booting three field goals, five extra points and nine kickoffs.
“I was telling some of the guys, ‘Man, this reminds me of college,’” Bailey said. “Obviously when I’m kicking a lot, that usually means we’re doing good as a team. It was a fun day.”
Bailey connected on field goals of 45, 36 and 31 yards and has now made 22 in a row, which is third on the Cowboys’ all-time list. Bailey’s kicking coach, Chris Boniol, had 27 straight in 1996 and 26 straight in 1995.
“I didn’t even know about it until somebody mentioned it earlier,” Bailey said of his proximity to his coach’s record. “I’m not too worried about that. Just as long as we’re putting points on the board and winning games, that’s all that matters.”
With David Buehler on injured reserve, Bailey is now handling all kickoffs. On Sunday, he had touchbacks on all four of his first-half kickoffs but allowed returns on three of his five second-half kickoffs. The Bills averaged 20.3 yards on their three returns.
“I might have been a little bit tired,” Bailey said with a smile. “There was a couple times there where we had a PAT, kickoff, interception, PAT, kickoff. But I can’t complain. It obviously means we’re doing well.”
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Bailey missed the opening kickoff of the second half. The ball would have gone out of bounds if Brad Smith hadn’t fielded the ball in bounds at the 17. The Bills challenged the call, saying Smith had a foot out of bounds when he fielded the kickoff, but referee Jerome Boger upheld the ruling on the field.
“That was a miss-hit,” Jones said. “That was not a deliberate attempt of a soft kick on the opening kickoff of the second half. The first thing I did was grab Joe [DeCamillis] and say, ‘Tell me….’ He said, ‘He missed it. I didn’t call it.’ But anyway, we really can say that our kicker played well today.”
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