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Commentary: No progress for Dallas Cowboys, but a victory

By Randy Galloway, Fort Worth Star-Telegram Published: November 19, 2012

And while there were areas of collapse on both offense and defense against the Browns, the impressive moments came at halftime and in the second half, and in overtime, when by necessity there was a drastic game plan overhaul on both sides of the ball, but particularly on offense.

There was noticeable first-half booing from The Big Yard fandom after each failed third-down pass attempt, or after a Tony Romo sack. It was a booing apparently aimed at Romo.

Give credit, I guess, to an astute fandom that finally noticed that maybe Romo was working at a serious disadvantage because of what was not working in front of him. Namely, the offensive line. Whatever, the booing stopped.

That O-line was already a mess coming in, with injuries forcing changes at two of the five positions. Then early in the game, left tackle Tyron Smith departed with an ankle injury, and the team's best lineman didn't return (making Smith also doubtful for Thursday.)

Trailing 13-0 in the first half, a comeback appeared doubtful. Romo was under serious duress, and there was no running game to help bail him out. Smith's replacement, Jermey Parnell, was struggling, but so was Doug Free at right tackle.

Garrett, however, changed things. He hurriedly adjusted the game plan. Romo bounced back to hit 16 of 17 passes in one second-half stretch, and the Cowboys' offense had life, and also had some favorable officiating calls go the right way.

“What you try to do is give that guy (Parnell) a little bit of attention and a little bit of help, whether it is with formation use, putting a tight end over there, having the back chip, or simply getting the ball out quicker,” Garrett said. “And Tony also did a good job making some of the plays downfield when he had the chances to do that.”

Romo had one major screw-up, losing a fumble while scrambling late in the fourth quarter, and when the Cowboys' defense didn't respond, the Browns drove for a go-ahead touchdown in the final minute of regulation.

But throwing 50 passes under very unfavorable offensive-line circumstances, and completing 35 for 313 yards, meant Romo had a good and gutsy day, and the overtime win took him off the hook for the fumble.

Overall, however, it wasn't an afternoon of progress for the Cowboys, but survival still counts for something. Take the win and move on to Thursday.

Distributed by MCT Information Services