ARLINGTON, Texas -- Despite all of the talk about the Dallas Cowboys’ desire to run the ball not only better but more often in 2013, the offense's success will come down to Tony Romo and the passing game.
The Romo-led first-team offense was able to get into the end zone twice in Saturday’s 24-18 win against Cincinnati, with Romo throwing touchdown passes to Bryant and Austin.
Romo finished his two quarters of work with 137 yards on 13-of-18 passing. Bryant caught six passes for 54 yards, including a 5-yard back-shoulder fade over cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick. Austin caught four passes for 59 yards, including a 12-yard TD across the back of the end zone.
“I think their growth -- Dez’s ability to play multiple spots, and know the different things and his experience in gaining that has been huge, and Miles has been playing every position his entire career - it’s really invaluable,” Romo said. “Obviously having those guys and then a guy like Jason Witten who’s always going to be dependable, gives you a lot of stuff to be able to do.”
A lot of stuff, yes.
Before his touchdown catch, Bryant beat Kirkpatrick, Leon Hall and Terence Newman for catches on a stop route, a crossing route and a hook. The touchdown was an indefensible play for a cornerback, with Romo throwing high and wide with Kirkpatrick’s back turned.
“That’s one thing me and Tony try to work on, having that chemistry on those certain type of plays,” Bryant said. “Every day in practice we work on it. We try our best to perfect it.”
Austin’s biggest accomplishment in camp was staying healthy. He suffered hamstring injuries in the last two training camps that lingered into the season and left him at far less than 100 percent. Before his touchdown catch, Austin ran away from Hall while lined up in the slot for a 23-yard gain on a third-and-6 play.
“He looks fresher,” coach Jason Garrett said of Austin. “He looks quicker to me. And he’s a hard matchup player for people because he’s big. He can play outside, but he also has quickness to play inside and sometimes you’re playing against a smaller nickel guy. He’s a bigger guy than that and maybe equally as quick so sometimes it’s hard to cover someone of that inside stuff.”