The Cowboys won last night 24-17 in a game they dominated more than the final score shows. As the clock was ticking down and I was finally convinced that the Cowboys were going to pull it off I began to think about the enormity of the win. Sure, it was just one game. But let's take a look at how big one game can be.
It was a win against the defending Super Bowl champions. It was a win on the road. It was a division win. It was an NFC victory which comes into play in tiebreaker situations. It was a statement game that will make people realize that this season is not going to be a repeat of 2011. This was a big win.
Obviously the Cowboys didn't play a perfect game. But that is part of what makes this win so exciting. The Cowboys were sloppy on offense committing penalty after penalty. But even with all of the self-inflicted wounds the offense still managed to practically move at will in the second half of the game. It is exciting to think how good the Cowboys might be if they can clean up the penalties.
The defense was clearly improved over last season. There weren't receivers running free in the middle of the field and the Giants had almost no running game outside of one big run. There was pressure on Eli Manning both from edges and up the middle in his face. Demarcus Ware had two sacks but that is what we expect out of him. Sean Lee had 12 tackles and a forced fumble and almost no one is talking about him. This is a much improved defense that could develop into a dominating unit as the new starters get more comfortable in their roles.
Jason Witten was inspirational and proved, once again, why he is my favorite Dallas Cowboy of all time. How can you not pull for a guy that is willing to put it all on the line for his team? How can any player sit out of a game with a minor injury after seeing him do everything in his power to get on the field?
Kevin Ogletree proved a lot of people wrong including me. I really thought he was a lost cause this offseason. Last night he looked like a perfect replacement for the production that everyone thought was lost when Laurent Robinson left for Jacksonville. If Ogletree can consistently play like that the Cowboys will be tough to stop.
The offensive line had a lot of struggles but they did enough to allow Tony Romo to throw for over 300 yards and 3 TD's. And Demarco Murry ran for well over 100 yards once the line settled down after some early game struggles. I'm not saying the line made Romo's night easy because Romo had to pull his usual escape acts to extend several plays and Murray made a highlight reel run that was almost all him.
My MVP for the game is Tony Romo. I hope he can continue to put up games like that in big situations so that his critics will finally stop trying to tell us he is terrible. I honestly believe the Cowboys would have lost the game last night without Tony Romo. I can't imagine that Kyle Orton could have pulled off several of the scrambles and throws for touchdowns that Romo did.
It is only one game and we all have to remember that. But I'm going to enjoy this one for a few days after hearing about the Giants all offseason. This game doesn't erase the pain from what happened to end the season last year but it sure hurts a lot less now.
Quick afterthought: Are the Giants really complaining about the officiating? It sounds like they think the officiating was skewed against them. Seriously? There were 13 penalties against the Cowboys and only 4 against the Giants. The Cowboys were called for offensive holding twice. The Giants were called for holding a grand total of zero times. I saw Ware, Hatcher and Spencer all get held during the game. Maybe the better team just won the game.