The Dallas Cowboys walked into MetLife Stadium as underdogs. The adversity the Cowboys faced last night was not an easy task. It was a road game against a division rival, who just happened to be celebrating their Super Bowl victory for the first time at home. Not only was this a rivalry game, it was a game against a division foe who has basically owned the Cowboys for the past few years.
There weren't too many people who predicted or expected the Cowboys to come away with a win, but they did. While it wasn't pretty, the Cowboys left East Rutherford a winner and took the season opener against a tough New York Giants football team.
While we shouldn't downplay the significance of the team effort, there are some individual performances that stood out. I ran a recurring FanPost last season handing out game balls, and now I am fortunate to do this on the front page. I look forward to bringing you this post all season long, so sit back and enjoy the ride.
The Cowboys won as a team last night, but I saw some issues that need to get resolved. The offensive line is still a work in progress, and Romo was forced to pick this team up and carry them on his shoulders. The defense is going to be much improved compared to last year, but there is still some fine tuning to be done before we see this defense become a dominant unit.
Romo didn't start off the game sharp. He faced consistent pressure from the Giants' defensive line, especially up the middle. His interception in the second quarter was a bad throw that resulted from the pressure in front of Romo, but the Cowboys were fortunate that play didn't come back to haunt them.
When I did a film session during the pre-season, I began to notice just how good Romo has become at adjusting to what the defense is giving him before the snap. Romo was flawless last night in deciphering the Giants' defense. His changes at the line ultimately led to a lot of the big plays we saw from the Cowboys' wide receivers last night.
The Cowboys needed Tony Romo to grind out a win for them last night and that's exactly what he did. He didn't make a single mistake in the fourth quarter, completing all six of his passes for 107 yards and a touchdown. Romo continues to grow as a quarterback, and he had one of the best performances of his career.
Kudos to those of you that predicted Kevin Ogletree would lead the Cowboys in receiving and play one of the biggest roles in a win against the Super Bowl champs. I saw the improvement in Ogletree during the pre-season, but there was no way I could envision him playing the role he did against the Giants.
Ogletree was very smooth running his routes last night. He was crisp and confident on nearly every play, and he was clutch. He didn't take two steps forward, only to take a step backwards and drop a pass later on. There was none of that last night and you have to be proud of what Ogletree did. Not only did he score his first touchdown of his career, he added a second to his resume and sealed the game with a clutch grab on third down late into the fourth quarter.
The Cowboys have to be extremely pleased because they may have found the next Laurent Robinson.
It's only one game, albeit a great one, but Ogletree needs to continue to play at a high level. If he does, then we may have another weapon that can be a matchup breaker who can take advantage of the third cornerbacks he will see.
DeMarcus Ware may be one of the best pass rushers in the game, but it's starting to become Sean Lee's defense in Dallas. Lee filled up the stat sheet with 12 tackles (10 solo) and one forced fumble. Lee was in mid-season form last night, flying around the field and making tackle after tackle
He set the tone early when he blasted rookie running back David Wilson. On Wilson's second career carry in the NFL, he displayed his fumbling issues that plagued him while at Virginia Tech. The fumble was a play that began to tilt the game into the Cowboys' favor
The play shows what Sean Lee can bring to the defense. He is simply a flat out playmaker who can change the game at any given moment. He was a key player in shutting down the running game, but he can also make plays when he drops into coverage. After another memorable performance, Lee continues to grow into one of the best linebackers in the NFL.
Entering this game, an area that concerned me against the Giants was our running game. We basically have a new offensive line that hasn't spent a lot of time with each other. With all of the new pieces on the line, I was concerned that they wouldn't come together and open up holes for DeMarco Murray.
Early in the game, my concerns came true. Murray had absolutely no holes to run into and it looked like Tony Romo was going to have to take it to the air to win the game. But when the Cowboys needed them most, the offensive line finally came together late in the game.
Murray displayed his Adrian Peterson like ability on a 48-yard run late in the third quarter.
The Cowboys are now 6-0 when Murray runs the football 20 or more times, so we are beginning to see a pattern develop there. Murray looks like a franchise running back who can close out games, but he just needs to stay healthy.