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Romo, Cowboys keep Cardinals on the skids

Nov 13, 2006 - 12:43 AM GLENDALE, Arizona (Ticker) -- Rookie Matt Leinart supposedly had it all entering the NFL. Tony Romo has the one thing Leinart is still seeking.

Romo threw for 308 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Dallas Cowboys to a 27-10 win over Leinart and the inept Arizona Cardinals.

The Cowboys, who suffered a crushing defeat to Washington last week when a blocked field goal resulted in a game-winning kick at the other end of the field, rebounded well against the league's worst team.

"I thought our team bounced back pretty well from the devastating loss last week," Dallas coach Bill Parcells. "We played a pretty solid game with no sacks. We got their pass rush pretty good. We weren't perfect but I thought that was a pretty good performance considering the disappointment we had last week."

In coach Dennis Green's 200th career game, the feeble Cardinals suffered their eighth straight defeat following a season-opening win at San Francisco. It is their worst start since 1978.

"We are 1-8 and I am running out of things to say," said Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, playing for the first time in five weeks due to a hamstring injury. "It is so frustrating that we are not able to do the things on the field with all the talent we have. The plays that we have, we have to be able to execute them no matter who we play against."

Romo has no such problems with his execution. An undrafted free agent out of Eastern Washington in 2003 who was making his third career start, Romo clearly outplayed Leinart, the much-ballyhooed No. 10 pick from Southern California who is nicknamed "Hollywood."

Romo finished 20-of-29 and improved to 2-1 while keeping Leinart winless in five starts. The Cowboys (5-4) broke a four-game losing streak against the Cardinals, winning for the first time in Arizona since 1998.

"I think we did some good things as an offense. We executed pretty well," Romo said. "When I am out there I feel confident, like we can move the ball. I feel we should move the ball when I am out there.

"It was big for the other guys to step up. With Terry (Glenn), out, you can't express how good he really is. He can do some things other guys can't. Sam (Hurd) and Patrick (Crayton) did a great job of stepping up in his place."

Glenn didn't even make the trip, suffering from what Parcells called a "bone-on-bone" condition in his knee.

Crayton started in his place and played superbly, catching five passes for 104 yards and a touchdown. And he thought his performance could have been better.

"I think coach pulled the reins on us. We were still a little hungry at the end," Crayton said. "All 11 of us need to be playing on one accord and today we all did. We are used to playing against a lot better secondary in practice, so against a secondary like we had today, we have to take advantage of it."

Crayton's 30-yard TD reception made it 10-0 midway through the second quarter. Neil Rackers kicked a 28-yard field goal for the Cardinals to cut it to 10-3, but Mike Vanderjagt countered with a 38-yarder on the final play of the half for a 13-3 lead.

Leinart had the Cardinals on the move in the third quarter, but threw the first of his two interceptions with 5:23 to play.

Romo needed one play to capitalize, hooking up with Terrell Owens on a 51-yard scoring pass down the left sideline to make it 20-3.

"We never got control of the game at all," Green said. "When you play a whole game and you have two interceptions and a couple of fumbles, and we did not get any sacks, that means we never got them out of their comfort zone and we never got into a comfort zone. We felt we could do a couple of things to stop the run but they hit us with some big plays.

"I don't think our offense has improved all year. We will do everything we can to try and improve it, but we have not played as well as last year. "

Leinart threw another interception on the next series and the Cowboys also cashed in when Marion Barber scored on a five-yard touchdown run six plays later.

"Two turnovers that lead to 14 points, you can't have that and that is my fault," Leinart said. "I am finding every week how hard it is but I have high expectations for myself. Anyone can say what they want about rookie quarterbacks, but I am my own worst critic and I feel that I should be playing better. Experience gets you better but it doesn't happen overnight."

Leinart, who was 20-of-38 for 216 yards and two interceptions, appears to be regressing along with the Cardinals. In his first two starts, the lefthander threw four touchdown passes and was intercepted once; in his last three, he has one TD and five picks.

"I am not going to be (bleeping) Peyton Manning in two weeks and tearing apart defenses," Leinart said. "That is not how the game works. A lot of young quarterbacks have gone through it. A lot of the greatest quarterbacks have gone through it. I hope to be looking back in a couple of years from now and laughing at this whole thing."






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