Marion Barber was inactive, resting his injured quadriceps. Then, Felix Jones hurt his left knee in the third quarter. That left the Cowboys with one healthy running back -- Tashard Choice.
Choice had 82 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries -- a 4.6 yards per carry average -- and caught four passes for 36 yards. The Cowboys had their second consecutive 200-yard rushing game, running for 212 on 32 tries.
"That's the name of the ball game," Choice said. "You don't get many opportunities in this league, especially being a third-string running back. When you get the chance you have to be ready to step up. I prepare myself to do that, and I thank God that I did."
Terence Newman, perhaps trying to deflect some of the praise that was being heaped on him for his sizable efforts Monday night, downplayed his interception in the fourth quarter.
"It was a lucky play on my part, basically. I was just trying to get a jam on him. I got a good hand on him and he tried to re-direct, and I don't know if it was a called slant, but that's what the quarterback threw," Newman said. "So while he was trying to go out I got another hand on him and I looked inside and I just saw the ball coming. It was just a lucky play on my part. I think anybody over there probably would have got that."
After back-to-back home games, the Cowboys won't be back home for four weeks. They return to the road for two weeks before taking their bye week. They travel to Denver (3-0) and then Kansas City (0-3).
"Well, we all know how tough it is to win on the road," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. "But before we can get there, we have to see that it was tough to win at home too in the new stadium, and we needed to get that done. It was an important win for us."
The Cowboys are 1-0 on the road this season, having opened the year with a victory at Tampa Bay.
Rookie linebacker Victor Butler earned a chance for more playing time, if not the starting job. He had two sacks and a forced fumble. It's exactly what linebackers coach Reggie Herring said the Cowboys had been looking for opposite DeMarcus Ware.
"It's just great to get in there and help the team when you need it," Butler said. "It's clutch time, and they get in their two-minute drill and you rehearse that stuff all week in practice, and to get in there behind Anthony Spencer and DeMarcus Ware and be productive feels great."
Spencer had three tackles and a pass breakup. In less playing time, Butler had two tackles, including one for a loss, two sacks for 12 yards in losses and a forced fumble.
I guess there are a few ways of looking at this game... the Cowboys' defense played better, especially in the second half. Terence Newman, who had a lot of folks shaking their heads last week, came up with the big interception/touchdown at the end.
The Cowboys' offense? The rushing game was solid, with Tashard Choice picking up the slack when Felix Jones went down (he is going to be, by the way, re-evaluated). Tony Romo was turnover-free. Always good.
Still, there's something kind of puzzling about this whole game. Sorry, devil's advocate coming out here: This was a late victory against a not-so-good team. Simply put.
Sitting in the post-game presser, and someone asked Tony Romo about criticism received after last week's performance:
"Criticism is meaningless to me," he said. "If I threw four touchdowns last week everyone thinks you're amazing. That's the same as if they tell you you're no good. It doesn't matter. It's about improving and doing it on the football field. I know what I hope to achieve as an individual, collectively as a group. I get frustrated when I don't play up to the level. My focus this week was to understand why I did certain things, improve and help this football team win."
Still, considering the criticism, Romo will enjoy this week more.
"This week will be better than last," he said. "I think that's a fair assessment."