Time for the film review, and just like last week, it’s mostly all good. Let’s get right to it.
QB – This is getting boring. Tony Romo is playing at a very high level right now but you didn’t need me to tell you that. Sure, he makes the crazy decision sometimes and turns the ball over, but when he’s giving you back 4 TD’s for the game, one might be accused of barking at the moon to harp on the turnover. So I won’t howl this week but just tell you that everything he’s been doing all year, he did again against the Giants.
RB – Julius Jones is in the middle of a very good stretch of games and he was running hard against the Giants. He had two strong runs on the first drive and ended up with 4.4 ypc average. Marion Barber was less effective in this game than in almost any game this year. He did break a tackle on a huge 3rd and 1 play that extended the drive and led to T.O.’s 50-yard TD on the next play. The run blocking hasn’t gelled like the pass blocking has, but you have to give credit to the Giants front four and linebackers who were very active. But I’d like to point out the pass protection JJ and MB3 provided on this night. Both backs were very good in picking up the blitz and deserve credit in giving Romo time to deliver his passes.
WR – Terrell Owens is simply on fire over the last few weeks and he was brutal on the Giants. They tried to single him up and jam him at the line, he ran past that. They tried to double him over the top and he split the defenders. They hand-checked with him and got physical and they still lost the battle. The best thing about T.O. is that he’s catching almost anything thrown near him now and very rarely bobbles it. He’s in a zone. Patrick Crayton also had a very good game. Besides breaking a tackle and scoring a TD he converted to 3rd and long plays on one of the TD drives. Sam Hurd made an appearance with a couple of catches and is still contributing on special teams.
TE – Jason Witten was statistically insignificant during the game but his contributions to the win were many. He’s an excellent blocker on the line or coming out of the backfield and he helped spring a couple of JJ’s runs and he was used in pass protection when the Giants started to bring more guys. His single biggest contribution in the passing game may have been on T.O.’s long TD. Witten’s presence in the middle of the field drew the safety up leaving no one behind Gibril Wilson and T.O. ran right by him. Anthony Fasasno also had some excellent blocks in the game and had one nice catch on a dangerous throw by Romo, but he also dropped one. Tony Curtis had one catch and naturally it was for a TD. I should bring up that sometimes in the run game, the TE's missed blocks leading to dead plays, so it's not always the offensive line at fault. I saw Witten miss two blocks in the run game, but for the most part he does an outstanding job.
FB – Oliver Hoyte’s return to action was fairly successful. I got him down for three nice blocks that helped JJ gain yards. He did whiff on a run blitz that blew up a play in the backfield but for the most part he didn’t look that rusty and he was delivering his blocks with power. It didn’t look like the injury had slowed him down too much.
OL – The pass blocking was phenomenal. The Giants tried just about everything to generate a pass rush in the game, they tried with their 4-man rush, then they tried to blitz, but the Cowboys were ready for it all. I discussed the contributions of the running backs and the tight ends in pass protection but in the end the offensive line has to do the heavy lifting. The Giants did have some moments when the pass rush got to Romo, but Romo was able to avoid it for the most part and it was never a jailbreak situation. Guys were not running through clean on a regular basis.
Marc Colombo had a few struggles on the evening including two false starts and he was involved in the breakdown that led to the one Romo sack. He also gave up pressure that blew up the timing of a screen. Leonard Davis, Andre Gurode and Flozell Adams had dominating games pass blocking. Kyle Kosier gave up a QB pressure and was also part of the Romo sack. That’s not a lot of mistakes by a crew that was going up against one of the best pass rushes in the league. Romo was only sacked once – the other was a busted play – and on many occasions he had time to stand in the pocket and find a receiver. They did struggle in clearing holes for the running backs but the Giants were very good about hitting the gaps and they were very physical up front. The lack of a running game to grind out the clock at the end was a little bit of a concern.
Special Teams – I’m not sure if Anthony Spencer took over Cricket Anderson’s special teams role, but he was particularly active on kick coverage during the game. Miles Austin looked OK running back kicks, his first one of the game was nice. Keith Davis forced the holding call that brought back the Giants long kickoff return but he also got a personal foul penalty on another kick coverage. And kudos to Jacques Reeves who flashed some speed in tracking down the Giant’s kick returner on that long return, catching him at the 2-yard line.