The Dallas Cowboys missed the playoffs last year because they could not beat the Giants. In December, Tony Romo and Miles Austin missed on a third down connection that could have sealed the victory.
Last night in the 2012 opener, Romo hit the key third down pass to the breakout star of the game, Kevin Ogletree (remember how many touchdowns Laurent Robinson had last year? I think we can put Romo in the category of quarterbacks that elevate whoever lines up with them). That completion came on 3rd and 12, right after a holding call negated a third down run by DeMarco Murray and right before the two minute warning with New York out of timeouts.
The Giants struggled in the secondary, as they were down not only Prince Amukamara, but also his replacement Michael Coe, who left the game in the second quarter. Once Coe left, the flood gates opened, as Romo found Ogletree twice for open touchdowns.
Romo finished the game 22 of 29 for 307 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. DeMarco Murray was also bottled up early, but had a big second half and finished with 131 rushing yards, including this run where he bounced out of multiple tackles.
Neither team played well on the offensive line early. Romo showed how having a top quarterback can cover some offensive line issues, but other than Jason Pierre-Paul, the Giants pass rush was not effective. If the Giants hope to recreate last year’s run, they are going to have to get healthy in the secondary, and have the rest of the defense step up again. Offensively, it wouldn’t hurt if Victor Cruz held on to the ball (he had three drops).
Meanwhile, the Dallas defense was impressive and active. Rookie Morris Claiborne held Hakeem Nicks to three catches and 38 yards. It took multiple fourth down conversions for the Giants to score on their final drive, and it wasn’t easy all night long. If Dallas holds good offenses to fewer than three touchdowns, they will be dangerous all year.
[photo via US Presswire]