As I continue my look at how the Dallas Cowboys faired against their NFC East rivals in 2012 and how they might match up in 2013, next is the New York Giants. The Cowboys two-game swing against the G-Men in 2012 could be aptly named: From the Penthouse to the Outhouse.
When Dallas traveled to MetLife Stadium to start the 2012 gridiron campaign, not many outside Cowboys Nation gave them much of a chance to leave with a “W.” The Giants were coming off the second Super Bowl in Eli Manning’s tenure and were no doubt looking to add insult to the injury they had inflicted on the ‘Boys when they met to decide the NFC East crown in the 2011 regular season finale.
Much to the delight of those who bleed blue, though, the Cowboys handed the then-defending Super Bowl champs a whippin’ that was much worse than the 24-17 final score indicated. As a result, the rowdy masses that had come to celebrate their Giants’ success trudged home wondering what that silver and blue streak was that had just hit them. In that game Dallas QB Tony Romo threw for three TDs and accumulated 307 passing yards. DeMarco Murray added 129 yards rushing and wideout Kevin Ogletree scored two touchdowns and quickly became the toast of Big D.
It looked like the Cowboys were ready for the successful season their fans had been waiting for….but not so fast, my friends.
When the October 28 rematch with the Giants rolled around, the Cowboys looked like a team in total disarray as they fell behind 23-0. Tony Romo threw a disappointing four interceptions before finally waking up to lead Dallas back to what was almost a miraculous comeback that would have created the first true big-game moment in Cowboys Stadium. It was not to be, though, as the Giants survived Dallas’ late game surge. Cowboys Nation experienced the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat almost within the same breath. First it appeared that Dez Bryant had nabbed the game winning touchdown with 10 seconds left on the clock, but on further review it was determined that Bryant’s hand had hit out-of-bounds as he reeled in the pass from Romo. For the Cowboys and their fans, total deflation ensued.
When the 2012 regular season ended, the Giants, like Dallas would find themselves home for the winter. Their 9-7 record fell short of earning them a post-season berth. As for Dallas… we all know how that played out on FedEx Field…
The good news for Dallas heading into 2013 is that if they can find a way to put pressure on Eli Manning, positive things will happen. In that opening season loss at home, Manning was sacked three times and hurried almost constantly. As a result, Dallas was able to secure a win. The Giants’ offensive line showed signs of not being as formidable as it has been known for in past seasons. The bad news for the Cowboys is that they haven’t done as much as many of us had hoped to improve their own offensive line struggles. Mr. Jones’ decision to trade down in the draft and then select Travis Frederick, who many in the know projected as no higher than a third rounder, was a headscratcher. Free agency has found nothing but crickets coming out of The Ranch for the most part.
The Cowboys have to hope that the injury bug that plagued them in 2012 doesn’t strike again, especially in the cases of DeMarco Murray and the defensive secondary. They also will have to wait and see how the defense gels under the tutelage of new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin.
The Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants square off in a Sunday Night Football matchup at Cowboys Stadium on September 8 and again at MetLife Stadium on November 24.