2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Cowboys keep falling behind big early at home

    2012-11-23 11:31

(Eds: Updates with quotes, details. With AP Photos.)
By STEPHEN HAWKINS
AP Sports Writer

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - Tony Romo will spend much of his extended weekend trying to figure out how the Dallas Cowboys can get off to better starts.

Jason Witten knows they have to do that and fast - if it's not already too late.

Dallas (5-6) has fallen behind by 10 points or more before halftime in each of its last four home games. The Cowboys lost three of those games, including a Thanksgiving Day game when rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III led Washington to a 28-3 halftime lead.

``We know where we're at, no question to that,'' Witten said. ``We have a long way to go, and a short time to do it. ... It's that time, we have to start doing it, and playing better early in games so that you can stay with the game plan. You can't play football and try to win in those situations.''

After building some much-needed momentum with consecutive victories, while the NFC East-leading New York Giants (6-4) lost two in a row, the Cowboys now are tied for second place with the Redskins.

And Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is already dreading the regular season finale Dec. 30 at Washington in another game against Griffin.

``I'm not trying to be negative, but we've got to play these guys again,'' the ever-optimistic Jones said minutes after Thursday's 38-31 loss. ``And with how impressed I am with how they played, we've got our hands full for that last game.''

In a homecoming of sorts for the Heisman Trophy winner from Baylor, the Redskins scored 28 points in the second quarter. It was their first four-touchdown quarter in 13 years.

The Cowboys tried to make a comeback in the second half, when Romo threw three touchdowns. There were two to Dez Bryant, including a career-long 85-yarder and an 11-yarder with 8:18 left that got the Cowboys within 35-28.

Washington then went 50 yards in 11 plays, taking more than 5 minutes off the clock, for a game-sealing field goal.

Including the Cowboys' 23-20 overtime win at home against two-win Cleveland, when they trailed 13-0 at halftime, Romo threw 112 passes in a five-day span.

``It's just not going to be a fun few days. It's just going to eat at you and consume all of your thoughts. You think about what you can do to help this football team get better,'' Romo said. ``I'm exhausting my brain thinking about things to do and things to help us get off to better starts and move the ball better.''

With the Cowboys falling behind so often at home, Romo has attempted at least 50 passes in each of his last three home games, after only three 50-pass games his first 83 starts overall since taking over in the middle of the 2006 season.

Romo attempted 62 passes Thursday against the Redskins. That matched his career record set less than a month earlier in a 29-24 home loss to the Giants, who led 23-0 early in the second quarter.

``Can't spot good teams, we've talked about that all along. That's what's disappointing, we continue to do it and it's just too hard to overcome,'' Witten said. ``You get away from your plan. All the work you put in the week to study, and the formations how you're going to attack them, it goes out the window. ... We've got to start better in these games and give ourselves a chance.''

The Cowboys return to practice Monday to start preparations for their third consecutive home game, Dec. 2 against Philadelphia. They won 38-23 at Philly on Nov. 11.

Dallas was down 10-0 in less than 5 minutes at Seattle in the second week of the season. Since then, all of the early double-digit deficits have come at home.

The Chicago Bears took a 10-0 lead on their way to a 34-18 Monday night victory Oct. 1. Dallas actually rebounded from that 23-point deficit Oct. 28 against the Giants to take a lead into the fourth quarter before New York kicked two field goals.

Cleveland surprisingly put Dallas in a quick hole, and the Redskins responded with their 28-point outburst in the second quarter after the Cowboys kicked a field goal on their opening drive.

``Everything we want is still in front of us,'' Witten said. ``But at some point, it has to turn for us. Yeah, we fight. Yeah, we've got will. But let's fix it. You've got to show it. That's the only thing you can do about it.''

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Pierre ThomasOct 30 07:22p

New Orleans Saints RBs Khiry Robinson (forearm) and Pierre Thomas (shoulder) are both inactive in Week 9 against the Carolina Panthers Thursday, Oct. 30.

David HawthorneOct 30 07:12p

The New Orleans Saints have declared LB Austin Johnson, LB David Hawthorne, C Jonathan Goodwin, RB Khiry Robinson, WR Nick Toon, RB Pierre Thomas, CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste inactive for Week 9.

Amini SilatoluOct 30 07:12p

The Carolina Panthers have declared OG Amini Silatolu, CB Bene Benwikere, OT Byron Bell, RB Fozzy Whittaker, WR Philly Brown, FS Thomas DeCoud, OG Trai Turner inactive for Week 9.

Brandon BrownerOct 30 04:32p

New England Patriots DT Alan Branch (non-injury related) and DE Chandler Jones (hip) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. S Nate Ebner (finger), DL Dominique Easley (knee), OL Cameron [ More ]

Brandon ThompsonOct 30 04:22p

Cincinnati Bengals CB Darqueze Dennard (hamstring), LB Rey Maualuga (hamstring) and OG Kevin Zeitler (calf) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. DT Domata Peko (toe) and OT Andre Smith [ More ]

Dwight FreeneyOct 30 04:22p

San Diego Chargers LB Manti Te'o (foot), CB Jason Verrett (shoulder) and S Jahleel Addae (concussion) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. LB Jeremiah Attaochu (hamstring) was limited. CB [ More ]

Donald BrownOct 30 04:12p

San Diego Chargers RB Donald Brown (concussion) practiced fully Thursday, Oct. 30.

Terrell SuggsOct 30 04:02p

Baltimore Ravens WR Michael Campanaro (thigh), CB Jimmy Smith (foot) and LB Terrell Suggs (neck) all did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. OG Marshal Yanda (knee) [ More ]

Brett KeiselOct 30 03:52p

Pittsburgh Steelers DE Brett Keisel (non-injury), SS Troy Polamalu (non-injury) and SS Ross Ventrone (hamstring) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB Ike Taylor (forearm) and FS [ More ]

Bruce CarterOct 30 03:22p

Dallas Cowboys LB Bruce Carter (finger) suffered a broken ring finger during practice Thursday, Oct. 30, but expects to play in Week 9. He will wear a splint on his finger for protection.

Cullen JenkinsOct 30 03:12p

New York Giants DT Cullen Jenkins (calf) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (back, hamstring) and P Steve Weatherford (ankle) were both limited in practice.

Brandon BoykinOct 30 03:12p

Philadelphia Eagles FS Nate Allen (hamstring) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. TE Brent Celek (back) and WR Brad Smith (groin) were both limited in practice. CB [ More ]

D'Qwell JacksonOct 30 03:12p

Indianapolis Colts LB D'Qwell Jackson (toe), DT Arthur Jones (ankle), LB Erik Walden (quadriceps) and LB Josh McNary (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB Vontae [ More ]

Rashad JenningsOct 30 02:42p

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (knee) said he is on track in terms of his rehab, but there is no timetable for his return. Jennings said he has [ More ]

Jordan CameronOct 30 02:32p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Anthony CollinsOct 30 02:32p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers OT Oniel Cousins is working at left tackle with the first-team offense during practice Thursday, Oct. 30, because OT Anthony Collins (foot) is sitting out practice.

Doug MartinOct 30 02:22p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin (ankle) is not participating in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Jason VerrettOct 30 01:52p

San Diego Chargers CB Jason Verrett (shoulder) is expected to miss two to three weeks with a torn labrum, according to two sources.

DeAngelo WilliamsOct 30 01:52p

Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams (ankle) will start the team's Week 9 game against the New Orleans Saints Thursday, Oct. 30, according to head coach Ron Rivera.

R. Griffin IIIOct 30 01:42p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) received most of the work with the first-team offense during practice Thursday, Oct. 30, and will start in Week 9 if he [ More ]

Jaylen WatkinsOct 30 01:32p

Philadelphia Eagles SS Earl Wolff, FS Chris Maragos and CB Jaylen Watkins could be options to start at safety if FS Nate Allen (hamstring) is not able to play in Week 9.

Giovani BernardOct 30 01:22p

Cincinnati Bengals RB Giovani Bernard (hip, shoulder) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Tony RomoOct 30 01:02p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo (back) didn't take part in the walk-through Thursday, Oct. 30, and will not practice with the team. However, head coach Jason Garrett remains hopeful [ More ]

Trent RichardsonOct 30 12:42p

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson (hamstring) is participating in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Reggie WayneOct 30 12:42p

Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne (elbow) is not participating in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Tony RomoOct 30 12:22p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo's (back) status is making head coach Jason Garrett feel optimistic about his availability for Week 9.

Dallas ThomasOct 30 11:43a

Miami Dolphins OG Dallas Thomas would be the most likely candidate to start at left guard if OG Daryn Colledge (illness) is not able to play in Week 9.

Rashad JenningsOct 30 11:12a

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (knee) has been ruled out for Week 9.

Phil BatesOct 30 10:52a

The Cleveland Browns signed free-agent WR Phil Bates (Seahawks) to the practice squad and released CB Marcus Cromartie Thursday, Oct. 30.

Charles SimsOct 30 10:13a

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Charles Sims could have 10 or more touches in Week 9, in the opinion of beat writer Greg Auman.

Ryan MathewsOct 30 09:52a

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (knee) is likely to sit out of the Week 9 game and return after the Week 10 bye.

Dennis PittaOct 30 09:52a

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip) may never be able to play football again after two surgeries on a fractured and dislocated hip in as many seasons.

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