After much consternation over the Cowboys having a shorter training camp than the rest of the league, they were able to go into New York, or New Jersey actually, and pull off an unexpected win. You need look no further than the pre-game stories on this website to see that many expected them to play a close game, but eventually lose.
In our column before the game that included predictions from the writers for this site, this is what I had to say. “The offensive line will struggle, but Tony Romo will be able to scramble and buy time to get the ball to wide open receivers. DeMarco Murray runs the ball well. The Cowboys’ defense will pressure Eli Manning and cause a lot of incomplete passes and an interception. Cowboys win 24-14.”
The offensive line did indeed struggle. Center Phil Costa left the game early with a recurring back issue and was replaced by recently signed offensive lineman Ryan Cook. The line looked better after Cook came in, but did continue to struggle the rest of the game with numerous false starts, holding penalties and missed blocks.
So on to my next point. Despite issues with the line, as I predicted, Romo was able to scramble and spin his way into to the open and complete passes to sometimes wide open receivers. He did throw an interception, at least partly caused by a lineman being pushed backwards into him and not allowing him to step into the throw.
Next point, DeMarco Murray did run the ball well. The first half was not much to write home about, but due to Jason Garret’s commitment to the run, Murray was able to take off in the second half, including one long run for the highlight reel.
The Cowboys were able to overcome the absence of Jay Ratliff on defense and played quite well on that side of the ball. They did pressure Eli Manning enough to cause some incompletions, although there were several drops the Cowboys had nothing to do with.
I predicted a score of 24-14. It ended up being 24-17, the difference being the interception thrown by Romo leading to 3 points for the Giants. Manning did not throw the interception I predicted but, all in all, my prediction was very close.
Other thoughts and observations: It appears to me that the Cowboys would be better off going forward with Ryan Cook as the center. When someone can come into a game for a new team, after a couple of practices, and outplay the starter, that says a lot.
Kevin Ogletree appears to have solidified his hold on the third receiver spot in a big way. I don’t think anyone expected that kind of performance from him. And it looks like missing most of training camp didn’t hurt Miles Austin any. The same is true with Dez Bryant missing the last half of camp.
Weeks ago I predicted a big season from middle linebacker Bruce Carter. He started the game and did not disappoint. His speed is such an asset.
Around the NFC East: The Eagles struggled to beat the Cleveland Browns, even after being thrown three picks by Brandon Weeden. Are the Washington Redskins that good? Better than they were I suspect, but I thought the New Orlean Saints would struggle due to all of the offseason turmoil, and it certainly appears they did.
Bulletin board material-an urban legend: Much has been said about Jerry Jones needing to keep his mouth shut rather than providing bulletin board material for the opposing team, in this case the Giants.
If you missed it, during a “pep rally” celebrating the opening of training camp, Jerry said the Cowboys were going to “kick the Giants’ asses”. The theory is, oh you can’t say that, it will end up on the opposing team’s bulletin board and be used for an incentive. OK, if that is true what does it mean?
The Cowboys did win, but the game was close enough that it would not necessarily be considered and “ass-kicking”. So, does that mean if Jerry didn’t say it, the Giants would have had less incentive, would not have played as hard and the Cowboys would have “kicked their asses”?
Therein lies the problem with that whole train of thought. Yeah, you might rile the other team up with such statements, but they are all professionals paid to put it all on the line every time they line up and, if they are doing that, how much more can they give just because someone said something that made them mad? If such statements really do have an effect, then maybe it compelled the Cowboys’ players to do what it took to back up Jerry’s words, but I doubt it.
They certainly don’t feel the need to back up what I say, but here it goes anyway, the Cowboys will kick the Seahawks asses on Sunday, September 16!