The Dallas Cowboys took their offensive road show to Florida on Sunday, and after a seemingly shaky start of the season, it was the Cowboys defense that turned things around in Miami. Anthony Henry started things off with an interception in the second quarter that led to a Marion Barber 1-yard touchdown as Henry ended the day with two picks. Safety Ken Hamlin got his first interception for Dallas and Roy Williams added his own late in the game giving both Cowboys safeties an interception. Jay Ratliff, filling in for an injured Jason Ferguson, recovered a fumbled snap by Trent Green early in the game also.
The offense finally seemed to pick up some steam in the second half following a 49-yard punt return by WR Patrick Crayton, who just returned to the game after breaking the small finger on his right hand in the first quarter breaking up what could have been an interception by Miami’s Will Allen. Tony Romo found TE Tony Curtis in the end zone after a short drive where it seemed Romo was about to be sacked but threw a short pass to Curtis just before LB Joey Porter could bring him down. Fueled by Anthony Henry’s second interception of the game on Miami’s next possession, Romo tossed a nice 34-yard touchdown on a third and four to increase Dallas’ lead to 17 points with only about 4 minutes left in the game.
Due to an excessive celebration penalty against T.O. assessed on the following kick-off, the Dolphins got great field position inside Dallas territory. With the help of a controversial pass interference call and a tipped pass in the end zone that WR Derek Hagan came down with, Miami scored closing the lead to only 10. The ensuing Miami on-side kick was recovered by none other than Anthony Henry, my vote for game MVP, after which Marion Barber scored his second touchdown of the game on the first play with a terrific 41-yard scamper.
Now with a 37-20 lead and less than two minutes remaining, Miami did drive the ball down the field and Anthony Henry just missed getting his third interception on a sideline throw to Chris Chambers. But time ran out on the Dolphins as Trent Green was sacked on the final play at the Cowboys 34 yard-line.
Several factors made what appeared to be a close game early in the third quarter into a route by the Cowboys. After Miami took the opening kick-off of the half down the field and scored to make it 13-10, it was a penalty by the Dolphins that led to a second punt after Crayton had already fielded one at the Dallas fifteen yard-line. He then had the big return that set-up the second Dallas touchdown and ultimately got the offense going.
It’s great to start out 2-0 and even better to have an offense averaging 41+ points per game, but capitalizing on key turnovers is also extremely important for a team with a basically new coaching staff and young players forced to play key roles early due to injuries.