Running back Felix Jones #28 of the Dallas Cowboys rushes past defensive end Mario Williams #90 of Houston Texans on September 26, 2010 in Houston, Texas.
A great many experts had dismissed the Cowboys as a contender for anything by the time they took the field in Houston on Sunday. Two miserable performances against what seemed, anyway, to be inferior teams, had cast some serious doubt as to whether the Cowboys were destined for anything but disappointment in 2010.
Aside from that, the team was going into Houston to face an impressive 2-and-0 Texans team in front of a frenzied home crowd intent on validation by means of a victory over the state’s most popular and most decorated team. Had that happened, had Houston beaten Dallas, the Cowboys would have gone into their bye week at 0-and-3, a hole from which only three teams have emerged to make the playoffs since 1990.
Only that didn’t happen. Not close, really.
The Cowboys went into Reliant Stadium and, outside of some familiar first quarter struggles, looked every bit the trendy Super Bowl pick they were supposed to be this offseason. Tony Romo outgunned Matt Schaub; Roy Williams--yes, that Roy Williams--out-received Andre Johnson; and the Cowboys defense, after forcing no turnovers in the first two weeks, forced three against the top ranked offense in the league.
A good deal of reporters had suggested that, after two weeks, maybe we shouldn’t be surprised by the 0-and-2 record; maybe the Cowboys just weren’t that good, they said. Now, it would be silly to anoint Dallas a Super Bowl contender after their week three win--better to focus on getting back to that .500 mark for the moment being. But on Sunday, the Cowboys proved, if nothing else, that they remain one of the more talented teams in the league, one that’s capable of not just beating, but kind of whipping, a good team on the road. Capable, of course, is the operative word here.
What they do with that talent, after the bye week, is another question.
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