Cowboys GameDay: Talkin' QBs

ARLINGTON -- It's been decades since either Aikman or Beuerlein have played for the Cowboys, but both are TV commentators and keep an eye on their former team. Take a look at these notable quotes from their D-FW radio interviews, along with our last-minute gameday notes for Texas-at-Dallas:

The Big Lead: GameDay Notes

The 3-1 Texans visit the 3-1 Cowboys at noon today at AT&T Stadium. CowboysHQ starts the day with some cool/important/unusual notes ...

*Since 1990, when playoff formats were last tinkered with, 42.7% of the qualifiers started 3-1.

*In Cowboys history, they've started 4-1 a total of 18 times, and made the playoffs 15 of those ... meaning historically, Dallas is an 87-percent chance when it starts 4-1, as it has a chance to do today. Dallas hasn't been 4-1 since 2008.

* The Cowboys have started off 3-1 21 times in club history. 14/21 of those seasons resulted in playoff qualification with 5/14 of those qualifications resulting in Title Game/Super Bowl appearances.

*The Texans have been 3-1 only two other times in team history: 2010 and 2011. Only 2011 resulted in a playoff berth.

*The Cowboys are 4-7 in the first games of October since 2002.

*Since Romo's first start (10/29/06 @ CAR), Dallas is 38-1 if they score 1 passing TD, 1 rushing TD, and hold the opposing offense to 24 points. (The loss was the '07 playoffs to the Giants)

*Dallas has had a chance to IMPROVE (i.e. not lose when 4-0) to 4-1 20 times. 11/20 times they've done so: '67, '72, '79, '80, '82, '84, '85, '92, '94, '03, and '08.

*John Carney (Chargers) and Phil Dawson (Browns) hold their franchises' records for most consecutive field goals made at 29. If Day Bailey hits 30, he'll set the Cowboys in the category of 6/32 franchises whose team record for consecutive field goals made is 30+.

*Dan Bailey's 29 consecutive field goals made is an NFC East record.

*Last time Dan Bailey missed was in a fully closed AT&T Stadium on 9/22/13 when he missed a 35-yarder.

*The Texans are 9-13 on the road in the Central Time Zone. And on road trips with a flight time of two hours or less, the Texans are 6-12.

*After starting the season with a horrendous 1-3 TD-INT ratio, Romo is now at 7-4 after four games, which is comparable to his ratios of 7-5 in 2011 and 8-4 in 2008.

*Texans QB Ryan Fitzpatrick posts a 1-7 record against the Tampa-2. With a 70.0 passer rating, Fitzpatrick goes 20/32 for 213 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions.

*Since 2010, Jason Garrett’s teams have played back-to-back home games eight times. Only 1 of 8 times have they ever won both home games.

*Through his first 52 games, J.J. Watt has 38.5 sacks. The NFL's all-time sack leader, Bruce Smith, had 40.5 through his first 52 games.

*Last week, DeMarco Murray rushed for 100 yards and a one touchdown for the fourth straight game this season. The only only running backs in NFL history to begin the season with similar stats were Jim Brown (1958), O.J. Simpson (1973, '75), and Emmitt Smith (1995).

*This week’s referee is Pete Morelli, who last refereed a Cowboys game in 2011 and a Texans game last season. Dallas is 6-5 when Morelli officiates their games. Houston is 3-9 when he works their games.

Aikman Speaks

Every Thursday at 7:55, Troy joins KTCK 1310 The Ticket's Morning Musers to talk about the Cowboys and the rest of the NFL. This week, Aikman was impressed with the Cowboys' complete humbling of the Saints.

Aikman: "When you beat a team like New Orleans who's been one of the elite teams for a long time now, it feels good. I don't think anyone is sitting there thinking, 'Well, maybe New Orleans isn't what they've been.' That was a big win, and that was a team that beat them handedly last year. So, to be able to do that at home and on Sunday Night Football, it's another week of feeling good about your club and doing the right things to win. I thought it was great. I thought the formula they used in that game and have used has been really good for this team in terms of running the football, letting DeMarco Murray get his touches, and wear people down behind that offensive line, and take your shots when you've got them. It's a good formula offensively, but it's also been able to help that defense too."

Never did Cowboys fans think a day would come under Garrett when people wondered if he ran DeMarco Murray too much. However, DeMarco has only played one complete season in his seven cumulative seasons of college and pro football. Questions about his durability are legitimate, but it doesn't stop the Hall of Fame Cowboys quarterback from admiring Murray.

Aikman:"I'm a huge fan of his. I think he's an exceptional player. He's a tough, serious, hard-nosed guy, and I just like his whole makeup. He takes the game -- you know, it's important to him. I would really like to see him continue to get the carries he's getting and remain healthy and see what it all looks like at the end of the year. And, you know, right now, he has the most carries in the league, and he's running the ball extremely well. I don't know that anybody would have imagined any runner for Dallas would have the most carries in the league right now because of what we've seen in previous seasons. You don't see many guys that are the featured backs. You see more and more teams with two and three running backs, and platooning these guys. But I don't think you can -- when you've got a guy like him who's as gifted as he is and as talented, you don't want to wear him down, but I don't think you can go into any particular game worrying about that as much as, 'Hey what do we have to do to win.' Right now, when the ball's in his hands, it's a pretty good way to win games."

B-Line on The Fan

Aikman's backup from 1991-92, Steve Beuerlein, who helped kickoff the dynasty with a '91 wildcard win in Chicago, would agree with Aikman that taking the ball out of Tony Romo's hands and handing it to Murray is a winning strategy. Beuerlein, who joined our friends Shan and R.J. on 105.3 The Fan on Thursday, has long been critical of Romo's late-game decisions. The 17-year journeyman quarterback believes the less the game is on Romo's shoulders, as talented as he is, the greater chance the Cowboys have to win.
Beuerlein: "I've always been very critical of Tony, and it's not because I don't like him. It's because I believe that he has cost them a lot of games. Of course, he's won them a lot of games over the years -- all great quarterbacks do. But most of the great quarterbacks don't lose ballgames for their team, and that was something that I thought Tony was doing on too regular a basis. But that was because I thought he was trying to do too much. And with what's going on right now with him throwing the ball between 20-30 times a game, and that running game playing as well as they're doing, and that defense stepping up and playing, Tony, of course, is really producing and playing a high level. But he's not playing like he's trying to do it all himself, like he's trying to win the ballgame. And I think that's where he's got in trouble in the past. I think his play this year, if he continues to do what he's doing and they continue to run the ball the way they run the ball, the Cowboys are a threat and they can play with anybody. I've been very excited to see him take that step and Jason Garrett and Scott Linehan and Bill Callahan, the coordinators, the pass and run game coordinators -- they're all doing really well right now finding that mesh of run game versus pass game. And it takes a lot of pressure off of Tony, and he looks more comfortable and more happy because of it."

Romo hasn't thrown for 300 yards since Week 15 against Green Bay last year. Meanwhile, Murray could join Jim Brown and O.J. Simpson as the only running backs in league history to start the first five games of a season with 100 yards and a touchdown. One player's drought is another's bumper crop.

Beuerlein also went on to say that if Dallas wanted to go deep into the playoffs, they would need to keep rushing behind the blue-chip offensive line that features three first-round draft picks.

Beuerlein: "The formula before that, when they were asking Tony to throw 40-50 plus times a game, he was putting up some spectacular numbers, but he was making those couple of critical mistakes in big ballgames where it was really coming back to haunt him. Now, it could still happen too. Obviously, if you're in a tied ballgame and it's towards the end of the season, the playoffs, whatever it might be, and there's a big throw that has to be made or it has to be thrown away, as opposed to trying to jam it in there, Tony's still going to have to make the right decision and execute the right level in order to win those ballgames. But I think with the way they're running it right now, the way they're playing all the way around, the team [has] a chance to make a deep run as long as they trust the system and keep doing what's asked of them."

Be sure to click the links to hear the entire interviews of Aikman and Beuerlein, and keep it right here at CowboysHQ for your source of news and knowledge on the Dallas Cowboys.

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