One streak ends, one streak continues. The Cowboys entered their 2013 season opener against the New York Giants 6-0 in season openers against their division foes. The Giants entered their 2013 season opener on the road in a stadium where they held a 4-0 record. Something had to give and it was the Giants lease on their so-called "vacation home". The Cowboys rode the back of six forced turnovers to come away with the 36-31 victory in their season opener at the newly named AT&T Stadium.
The Cowboys entered the 2013 season with two main themes: how much improvement would the offensive line show and how good could a defense led by new coordinator Monte Kiffin be?
The early returns were positive on both counts, even if the game was a bit strange and disjointed. Despite some testy moments by both sides, the Cowboys have to come away plenty satisfied with their effort.
The defense, which was only able to create an abysmal 16 turnovers for the entire 2012 season, broke out with three on the Giants first three possessions that kept Dallas ahead when the offense wasn't quite clicking. The first came on the first play of the game, an interception by DeMarcus Ware on an underneath dumpoff attempt by Eli. The fourth was a beauty, as the Cowboys stripped David Wilson for the second time in the game and Barry Church scooped and scored to open up a 10 point lead. The last was a pick six by Brandon Carr on a deflected pass after the two-minute warning.
Cowboys fans everywhere held their breath for about 15 minutes as quarterback Tony Romo took a vicious hit to the midsection from both sides late in the second quarter. He'd come out of the game for the last two plays of the drive before the Giants ran out the clock in the half. The concern was a rib injury, but during halftime we were informed that it was just the wind knocked out, and Romo would return for the second half. However when fans saw Romo grimacing while warming up, questions arose again whether or not he really sustained an injury or not. He would however finish the game after looking more and more comfortable as the second half rolled forward.
The Cowboys also seem to have survived injury scares to Morris Claiborne's shoulder and Dez Bryant's ankle. Both players returned to the game soon after.
Romo would finish the game 36 for 49 for 263 yards, two scores and an interception. The two scores were both to Jason Witten, including one in the end zone. It was the first time the two have connected for two scores in a game in their storied friendship. The interception came on an ugly play where Terrance Williams ran the wrong route. The ball was picked off by the Ryan Munday, who was chased down after a 91 yard return by DeMarco Murray at the 1. The Cowboys defense would put forth a beautiful goal line stand to force a field goal that tied the game at 3.
Murray would tote the rock 20 times for 82 yards and pull in 8 catches for 39 yards.
The story of the game though would be the defense, which was led by it's depleted line. They didn't always get pressure, but the turnovers were a pleasant surprise and indicative of what had been emphasized over and over again through the offseason. George Selvie acquitted himself very well filling in for Anthony Spencer. Bruce Carter was everywhere and Jason Hatcher came through with frequent pressure, including a key third-down sack in the fourth quarter.
The team now moves forward, 1-0, to the Kansas City Chiefs next week.
We'll be back with more coverage, here and in future posts. Reload frequently!
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