If the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants game had been played at a different time, under different circumstances, the choices for Game Ball of the Week would have been plentiful. It seems like almost every week Dez Bryant is in consideration. He was on his game again this week with multiple circus catches including an unbelievable grab for a touchdown. This kid just exudes star power.
Other candidates jumped into the spotlight this week. Felix Jones was a producer at running back, doing a fine job in the running game. But it was his brilliant 71-yard screen pass for a touchdown that really stood out. Big play potential finally realized from Felix. You also can't forget about the guy who threw the pass. Jon Kitna finished the day going 13 for 22, for 327 yards and three touchdowns, against only one pick. He was accurate, efficient and made very smart decisions about when to throw the ball and when to tuck it and run. And how about the way the offensive line played against the Giants feared defense? Stellar.
On defense, perhaps the biggest play of the game was made by unheralded practice squad call-up Bryan McCann. He turned a potential Giants touchdown that would have given the home team a 10-9 lead into a Cowboys touchdown that put them up 16-9. His interception changed everything about the way the game went. The Cowboys run defense also deserves recognition, they managed to hold the Giants running game in check. Inside linebacker Keith Brooking had 10 tackles and his sidekick Bradie James had 13 tackles to lead the team. One of James' tackles was huge when he stuffed a fourth and one try.
All worthy candidates. But, really, just like the Cowboys team did after the game, the game ball has to go to Jason Garrett.
The Redheaded Genius was worthy of his nickname. Garrett preached all week that he was getting the Dallas Cowboys prepared to take on the New York Giants, and he wasn't bluffing. The Cowboys finally came out and looked like a team with desire, with heart for the game. They also executed the plays with precision. Everything came together, and that was a testament to Garrett's work all week long.
Culture Change was the buzzword when Garrett was hired. He took that to heart, and set his tone right away. One game doesn't a season make, and one win doesn't mean this team is a winner. They have a long way to go on that front. As long as they remember that, and focus on the job at hand, maybe there's a chance this will all work out. For one week, it did.
For more good analysis on Garrett, check out this recommended reading from BTB. How Garrett's press conferences lend insight to his process. How Garrett brought out what the team already had in them. How Garrett's demeanor during the game is similar to some other prominent coaches.