Grading the Cowboys vs the Giants
PASSING OFFENSE: A – Tony Romo was at his best Romoliscious best. He not only completed 22 of 29 passes for 307 yards and three touchdowns to seven different receivers. But he made plays and extended plays with his feet to avoid sacks and make the offense line look better than it played. Kevin Ogletree answered any concerns about the third receiver with career bests with eight catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns.
RUSHING OFFENSE: A - I remember talking to offensive coach Bill Callahan in training camp about his philosophy of sticking with the run. He said the longer, bigger runs usually come in the second half. So no matter the results in the first half, you have to keep running the ball. Well, that’s what we saw in game one. DeMarco Murray had just 20 yards and little room to run during the first two quarters. He had 111 after halftime, giving him 20 carries for 131 yards in the game. He got better as the game went on. The Cowboys were able to close out the game on the ground.
PASS DEFENSE: A – Eli Manning tossed five touchdown passes in two victories against the Cowboys last season, as the Giants scored more than 30 points both times. Fast forward to Tuesday night, the Cowboys gave up just two plays longer than 15 yards and no touchdowns, while notching three sacks. Yes the moves they made at cornerback worked.
RUSH DEFENSE: A – Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw rushed 17 times for 78 yards. He had 4.6 yards per carry average. But don’t get fooled by the numbers. They were skewed by one run for 33 yards. Bradshaw gained just 45 yards on his other 16 carries the Cowboys held him and the Giants ground game in check for much of the night, putting Eli Manning in many third and long situations.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- Chris Jones averaged 51.5 yards on two punts to more than pass his first test as the replacement for former Pro Bowler Mat McBriar. Dan Bailey was perfect in his only attempt. The Cowboys didn’t get much from returners Dez Bryant and Felix Jones, who still lacks the burst of past year. But coverage teams were solid on kicks and punts.
COACHING: A - Coach Jason Garrett got the game ball for the Giants victory. He did a great job managing the injuries in training camp and getting the Cowboys ready to play in the season opener. The defense looked like it was more comfortable in Rob Ryan’s system. Overall the Cowboys looked mentally tough, in shape and were able to finish a game with a win _ a year after losing so many in the same situation.