Scrambled: Rams tumble to 0-4

Monday, October 1, 2007
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo scooped up a bad snap during the second quarter as Rams defensive end James Hall pursued him Sunday in Irving, Texas. Romo picked up four yards and a first down on the play. (DONNA MCWILLIAM ~ Associated Press)

IRVING, Texas -- When Tony Romo began chasing a snap that flew over his head, two thoughts raced through his mind.

"Don't give up a touchdown," he said, "and don't get killed."

After making things worse by knocking the ball farther away, Romo finally grabbed it 33 yards behind the line of scrimmage. Yet instead of falling on the ball or throwing it away, Romo took off running.

And running. And running.

By following his blockers and making a guy miss on his own, Romo recovered all the yards he'd lost, plus gained four more -- exactly what the Dallas Cowboys needed on a thirdhand-and-3 play. That sparked the Cowboys to a 35-7 victory over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) runs from the pocket against the St. Louis Rams for a 15-yard touchdown in the second quarter of their NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 30, 2007, in Irving Texas. Looking on are St. Louis Rams defensive tackle La'Roi Glover (97), St. Louis Rams nose tackle Adam Carriker (90) and Dallas Cowboys center Andre Gurode (65). (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

"That was a trick play we were working on," Cowboys coach Wade Phillips said, laughing.

Romo's wild, Staubach-like scramble came just before halftime of a tied game. He capped that drive with -- what else? -- a 15-yard touchdown run. Then he opened the second half with TD passes of 59, 37 and 17 yards, turning what had been a tight early game into yet another easy win for undefeated Dallas and another frustrating loss for winless St. Louis.

"When I first kicked it, I thought, 'Uh-oh, maybe I should've fallen on it,"' Romo said.

Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett said his sentiment during the play was similar to a basketball coach seeing a player put up a 30-footer.

"You say, 'No, no ... Hey! Way to go!"' Garrett said.

The Cowboys are 4-0 for the first time since 1995, the year of their last Super Bowl title. The Rams are 0-4 for the first time since 2002, when they opened with five straight losses coming off a Super Bowl loss.

Dallas is literally getting better every week of Phillips' tenure. The defense has gone from giving up four touchdowns in the opener, to three, to none Sunday (the Rams' only score came on special teams). The Cowboys offense, which came in as the highest-scoring in the league, has widened the margin of victory every week.

Romo was 21-of-33 for 339 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.

The Rams were without six injured starters and two more suspended, then lost several more to injuries.

Rams coach Scott Linehan became testy when asked about his team's offensive woes, such as going more than 30 straight drives without a touchdown.

"We're looking for solutions," Linehan said. "What do you want me to say? We haven't scored, we haven't executed, we've played very poorly on offense."

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