On a night where the Giants honored and celebrated each of their Super Bowl championships, the Dallas Cowboys left Metlife Stadium smiling as they topped the Super Bowl Champs, 24-17. Tony Romo made clutch throw after clutch throw, compiling 300 passing yards and three touchdown strikes. Third-receiver, Kevin Ogletree, hauled in eight passes for 114 yards and two touchdowns. Touchdowns aside, Ogletree made the biggest play of the night on a 3rd-and-12 just before the two minute warning. Ogletree’s reception preserved Dallas’ lead and kept Eli Manning on the sidelines.
Defensively, it was the tale of two secondaries. During the off-season, the Cowboys revamped their secondary by signing corner, Brandon Carr and drafting corner, Morris Claiborne in the first round. On the other hand, the Giants allowed Aaron Ross to walk away and must overcome another season without Terrell Thomas and a temporary absence of Prince Awukamara. The team’s best corner, Corey Webster, didn’t look too great when Ogletree burned by him for a 40-yard TD strike. In addition, fourth corner, Justin Tyron was badly, badly beat by Miles Austin on Romo’s third touchdown pass. The Cowboys were able to slow down the explosive Giant passing attack while the Giant secondary was exposed play after play. The Giants had major issues defending the pass last season; those issues may be even bigger this year.
Offensively, the Giant receivers had a tough time getting seperation against the Dallas secondary. Even though Victor Cruz caught six passes for 58 yards, his three drops will weight heavily on the minds of fans. Coming off his injury, Hakeem Nicks looked a little out of sync while tight end, Martellus Bennett scored the Giants only TD on a nifty grab. Ahmad Bradshaw rumbled for 70 yards and a touchdown while rookie, David Wilson was benched after a first quarter fumble.
Outside of the secondary, the Giant defense had a respectable evening. Jason Pierre-Paul terrorized Tyron Smith and was always in the Dallas backfield. Pierre-Paul’s penetration allowed his team mates to pick up sacks. Linebacker, Keith Rivers looked really good until leaving with a foot injury. Justin Tuck and Osi were a bit quiet, so expect to hear their names more often next weekend.
Overall, it was a disappointing night for Giants fans. Dallas did a nice job of sustaining drives and keeping Eli Manning off the field. Giant fans haven’t watched a bad performance since Week 15 (against the Redskins), so it definitely came as a bit of a surprise. Dallas’ victory symbolizes their validity in the race for the NFC East crown. The Giants will host the Tampa Bay Bucs next weekend, a game they must win.
One last point: Jason Witten, who is just three weeks removed from a lacerated spleen injury, played tonight. I’m all for the senimental ‘tough guy’ story, but Witten didn’t help his team tonight. Witten’s run blocking was putrid and his pass blocking was even worse. I can think of one play where JPP just threw Witten to the ground and put pressure on Romo. Witten had a few catches, but he just doesn’t look right. I’m not a doctor, but spleens don’t hear overnight. I’d keep him off the field until he could give me a ‘normal’ Jason Witten performance.