Tony Romo played much better this week than last—and that’s a big reason the Ravens had problems on defense once again.
Romo came off a five-interception performance against the Bears last week and completed 25 for 36 for 261 yards and two touchdowns as the Cowboys pushed Baltimore to the limit before the Ravens hung on for a 31-29 victory Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.
Romo’s ability to make good passes and guide the running game helped the Cowboys constantly keep possession and pressure the Ravens’ defense. Dallas compiled 481 yards total offense, 227 of which came on the ground, plus 30 first downs.
The Cowboys also had a huge advantage in time of possession, 40 minutes, three seconds to 19:57 – a big reason they controlled long stretches of the game. They had the ball for almost the entire third quarter, thanks mainly to the good combination of running and Romo's passing.
“They haven’t defended the run as well as they typically have in the past,” Dallas coach Jason Garrett said. “We want to run the football. It makes the quarterback’s job so much easier.”
The success running the ball – DeMarco Murray (93 yards) and Felix Jones (92) – opened the door for Romo to pick apart the Baltimore defense. Dez Bryant led the way with 13 catches for 95 yards and two touchdowns and kept making big plays.
But even Romo said the good running game made his life so much easier this time around.
“As a quarterback, it makes it a completely different game when you run the ball like that,” Romo said. “If you have a game where you have to keep throwing the ball, it makes it so difficult. The more you throw, the more predictable the formations become.”
The Ravens also suffered a number of injuries on defense – Ray Lewis, Lardarius Webb, Haloti Ngata and others – and needed a bunch of players to step up at the right times to make plays.
And even though they had problems stopping Romo and the Cowboys all day, the Ravens were able to make just enough plays to hold on and pull out their fifth win in six games, something that made Ravens coach John Harbaugh happy afterwards.
“I’m proud of this team,” said Harbaugh. “Was it perfect? Was it pretty? No. And I’m sure that’s all stuff that will get written about, and it’s all fine. But a victory is still a victory. I’m proud of these guys for understanding and figuring out a way to win.”