Cowboys will need more than one formula

IRVING, Texas – Jason Garrett likes to say the history of the NFL gets written each week.

It’s a poke at the wild week-to-week proclamations made by media and fans after a win or a loss. After the season-opening loss to the San Francisco 49ers, the Cowboys’ season was over. Tony Romo’s best days were gone. The defense was not any better. Who will the Cowboys take with the first pick in the 2015 draft?

After their Week 2 win against the Tennessee Titans, the Cowboys are now the best ground-and-pound team in the NFL. DeMarco Murray will set league and franchise rushing records. The defense just might be better than anybody imagined. The Cowboys will be a hard out in the NFC East.

That’s the new history anyway. But in the NFL what is true today won’t necessarily be true tomorrow.

To expect the Cowboys to run the ball 43 times for 220 yards, like they did against the Titans is folly. To expect them to win many games with Romo throwing for 176 yards is not wise. To expect the defense to limit an offense to 68 yards in the first half is crazy, especially with the quarterbacks and offenses the Cowboys will see down the road, though not this week in the St. Louis Rams.

“If you decide that, ‘This is the way we want to play,’ it’s hard to guarantee you’re going to be able to do that week in and week out,” Garrett said. “So you try to be balanced enough on offense to be able to play the way you need to play to win the ballgame and certainly you want to have the success that we had on defense, a lot of different situations that allowed to get us off the field and do the things that we did throughout that game. It’s certainly a good formula, [but] hard to guarantee it every week.”

Garrett isn’t doing a Bill Parcells and attempting to dampen the mood after a solid win. He’s merely being a realist.

Have you seen the Cowboys over the last, oh, 17 seasons? They are 25-25 in this last 50 games, the epitome of win one, lose one.

For the Cowboys to sustain the formula displayed last week, they will need timely play by the passing game. For all of the good the running game did in the first half, their 16-0 lead was down to six points before the third quarter was half over against the Titans.

Romo responded with a 12-play, 80-yard touchdown drive in which he was 6-of-9 passing.

“I think [Sunday] is the kind of day when you play defense like that and can run the football like that, the Seahawks proved there is a certain way to go about that,” Romo said after the game. “You just need to do a good job, move the chains, do the job on third down when you have the right down and distances then give your team the chance on the one or two drives that make a difference in the game. I think we did that.”

But there will be games where Murray is being stifled and the blocking just isn’t there. In those games, Romo will have to make plays through the air for the Cowboys to win.

It might happen Sunday against the St. Louis Rams.