The Dallas Cowboys opened their new stadium to a record crowd of 105,121 people in attendance. Not bad for a stadium that costs more than some countries’ gross national product.
On a night where Tony Romo played like a backup and the Cowboys’ defense leaked worse than the levee’s in New Orleans, the Cowboys inconsistency killed them in a close 33-31 loss to the Giants.
The loss drops the Cowboys to 1-1 and a tie for second in the division as the Giants improve to 2-0 and command over the NFC East.
The battle between these two rivals went back and forth all night. The Cowboys racked up over 240 yards rushing and Eli Manning looked just fine without Plaxico Burress, as Manning passed for 330 yards.
But the story in this one has to be the amount of turnovers, not to mention the offensive play calling by the Cowboys, along with the breakdown in coverage by the secondary late in the game.
Romo played bad enough to warrant a benching, as he sailed a pass 10 yards over Sam Hurd’s head for a pick, had an interception kicked into Giants’ cornerback Kenny Phillips hands, and another pick returned for a touchdown.
Combine that with a 44 percent completion rating with only one touchdown and that usually doesn’t spell victory.
To Romo’s credit, overall, the team didn’t play well enough to win. Maybe that is a testament to the play calling or just an overall lack of discipline from the team as a whole.
A bright spot for the team was its running game. All summer we heard about the Cowboys and the two tight end set and how they would utilize Tashard Choice, Marion Barber, and Felix Jones.
Tonight we saw each running back in action and they looked pretty good. Barber banged out 124 yards on only 18 carries and Felix Jones added 96 yards and both players scored key touchdowns in the loss.
But the win goes to the Giants, not the Cowboys.
Throughout the first half, Dallas was able to stop the Giants, but the G-Men scored 24 points off of Cowboys turnovers.
Even without Burress, the Giants’ receivers made big plays throughout the game, especially in the second half.
The Cowboys’ secondary had no answers for Steve Smith and Mario Manningham, who combined for 20 catches and 280 yards receiving. That’s a stat line the Giants hope to see throughout the season from its young corp of receivers.
Perhaps the most telling defensive stat of the night is this: The Cowboys had zero sacks against the Giants, that’s zero for the entire season after leading the league with 59 last year.
As with the 2007 Super Bowl, though not quite as big, Manning drove the Giants down the field and set the team up for a winning field goal from kicker Lawrence Tynes.
The Cowboys try to bounce back next week on Monday Night Football against the Carolina Panthers, while the Giants face off against the 0-2 Buccaneers down in Tampa Bay.
Injury report: Cowboys running back Marion Barber suffered a left-quad strain after breaking for a 35-yard run, he did not return. Some reports state that Cowboys’ defensive end/linebacker DeMarcus Ware was injured toward the end of Sunday’s game, no word on the type of injury or if it’s serious.
Giants’ defensive lineman Justin Tuck injured his left shoulder after being tripped up by Cowboys’ offensive lineman Flozell Adams. He left early in the first half and did not return.