Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 9/6/12

Dallas Cowboys 24, New York Giants 17.

I couldn’t have been more wrong on my prediction for this game, and boy am I glad for that! I had picked a 27-24 Giants win as I figured it was too steep of a mountain for Dallas to climb to win this game. But it turns out, these aren’t your 2011 Cowboys. And thank goodness for that. The 2011 version of the Cowboys, which had problems closing out games, have been exorcised, as the 2012 Cowboys closed out the opener in convincing fashion.

But it wasn’t all roses for the Cowboys at the start. After both teams got off to a rough first quarter where it was clear that both teams were shaking off the rust, the scoring finally got going in the second quarter. Tony Romo saw pressure and hurried a pass, throwing it to Michael Boley, who took the pick the other way for a first and goal. When I saw Romo throw the interception, I honestly thought it was going to be one of those nights. Yet the Cowboys defense surprised me, coming up with a huge goal line stand to hold the Giants to a field goal.

Later in the quarter, Jason Garrett really opened up the playbook, calling for a deep ball to Dez Bryant, which was caught for a 38 yard gain. That would lead to a TD pass from Romo to Kevin Ogletree to give the Cowboys a 7-3 lead, a lead they’d take into the half.

For as good as Romo and the offense played, it was really DeMarcus Ware and the defense that flexed their muscles against Eli Manning and the Giants on Wednesday night.

Coming into the third quarter, the Cowboys started with the football. Another deep ball from Romo to Ogletree would yield a 40-yd TD on the opening possession of the second half. It was at this point that I knew things would be different with this Cowboys team. I would get further confirmation of that, as the Cowboys of old would have folded under the weight of penalties that turned a 1st and 10 into a 1st and 30. Yet Romo stayed poised, and connected on a ridiculous pass to Miles Austin that converted a 1st and 30 into not just a first down, but a TD, turning a 17-10 Cowboys lead into 24-10.

Yet despite all that, the Cowboys made it interesting. Being penalized a total of 13 times for 86 yards, the Cowboys were sputtering to the finish. They allowed a late 4th quarter TD by the Giants to cut the deficit to 24-17. Then the penalties started piling up again for the Cowboys. Yet no penalty was bigger than the hold by Witten on a 3rd and 2 that turned a game clinching first down into a 3rd and 12.

That was when I began telling myself that the collapse would finally follow. Not this time. Romo would hit his safety valve, Kevin Ogletree, for a 15-yd reception to clinch the first down and the win. Ogletree finished with 8 catches, 114 yards, and 2 TDs. Definitely player of the game.

Romo also played well, throwing for 307 yards, and 3 TDs, on 22/29 passing. Yet it was probably the things that didn’t show up on the stat sheet that made this performance even better for Romo. All night long, he was evading the pass rush, and he was mainly doing it himself. Every time the offensive line would break down and it would appear Romo would go down, somehow a white uniform with a blue #9 on it would find a way to stay upright and deliver with his legs or his arm. Romo was sacked in this game, but only twice, a huge upgrade from 9 times in 2 games last year.

Yet for all of the outstanding play by Romo, there was one player, or rather unit, that played better than I thought they would. For those who may not have watched the game or haven’t heard, the Cowboys finally have a defense. Sean Lee forced an early fumble on David Wilson, creating a turnover and stopping any momentum the Giants were trying to build in that first half. Also, the secondary held up, really only getting beaten on one play, and I counted three near interceptions that probably should have happened: Sensabaugh dropped a pick in the endzone during the goal line stand by the Boys; Barry Church nearly had an INT in the third quarter, and Brandon Carr mistimed a pass in the second half, otherwise he would have had a pick.

But most importantly, the cowboys defense held the vaunted Eli offense to 269 yards. That’s right. That first number is a 2, not a 3. They held the Giants to 187 passing yards, and 82 rushing yards for the entire game. The Cowboys had more rushing yards in the second half (115), than the Giants got all game.

This win gives the Cowboys a 6-0 record all-time in openers against the Giants, and the Cowboys also improved to 6-0 when DeMarco Murray carries the ball at least 20 times. Also, DeMarcus Ware got sack #100 last night in the victory, becoming the second quickest player to get there (in 113 games).

Really, this was as complete a game as you could get. The offense looked solid, the defense is stout, and the Cowboys are finally closing games. This performance gives me confidence that the Cowboys are poised to have a monster year. And with a couple of cupcake teams coming up (@ Seattle in Week 2, vs Tampa Bay in Week 3), the Cowboys could potentially start 3-0, something I never figured to be possible.

Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Ezekiel Elliott hung out with Jim Brown

Rickie Fowler taunted by fans over his ex-girlfriend

Roger Goodell speaks about future of Pro Bowl in annual address

Mike Krzyzewski provides an update on his health

Sacramento Kings seriously considering firing George Karl

Rick Pitino says school should be penalized, 'but not this team'


Mavericks owner Mark Cuban defends hack-a-player strategy

Jameis Winston awarded Pepsi NFL rookie of the Year

Trade Rumors: Clippers ‘reluctant’ to deal injured Blake Griffin

Bright future for Minnesota Timberwolves

Eli and Archie Manning say Peyton won’t likely leave Denver if he plays in 2016

NCAA mulls changes to graduate transfer and targeting rules

Bruins prospect hit in throat with puck, taken to hospital

WATCH: Mavs rookie laughed at for trash talking Spurs bench

Norris Cole has No. 30 retired with LeBron James, New Orleans Pelicans in attendance

Three keys to victory for the Broncos in Super Bowl 50

Torrey Smith: ‘This is probably the best offense’ for Kaepernick

Byron Scott thought D’Angelo Russell would be further along

Under-the-radar Super Bowl 50 matchups

Is Tim Lincecum's run with the San Francisco Giants done?

$40,000 in Super Bowl tickets stolen from San Francisco hotel

Rams fan makes Super Bowl commercial ripping Stan Kroenke

Panthers LB wants 'clown' Rodney Harrison off the air

Jason Reid: Tom Brady will play at least three more years

Kirk Cousins says he has ‘very good relationship’ with RG3

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

The top six matchups that could decide Super Bowl 50

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

10 underrated performances in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in playoff hunt

QUIZ: Name the Super Bowl halftime performers since 1991

Manziel's father fears for QB's life

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker