Week One in the NFL is traditionally a time of wild overreaction as we extrapolate far-reaching implications from a tiny mouthful of data. Having sampled an appetizer, it’s far too early to pass judgment on the entire four-course meal. One-fourth of one-fourth of the 2013 season is in the books. Some grounded observations on the Cowboys win:
Sep 8, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys cheerleader Katie Marie performs during a timeout form the game against the New York Giants at AT
-On Demarcus Ware’s first ever NFL snap as a hand-on-the-ground, get-up-the-field, pass-rushing defensive end, he intercepts a pass. He finished the game with 0 sacks and one QB hit.
-Tony Romo’s new Peyton Manning role in the offense looked like too much of a good thing at times. Anyone else feel like some of the pre-snap adjustments took far too long and accomplished alarmingly little?
-As a general rule in the NFL, when the better team wins the turnover battle 6-1, the result is a three-score blow out. The Cowboys won this game by five points. Back in the 2009 stadium opener, the Giants won the turnover battle 4-0 and won the game by two points on a last-second field goal. So we’re even. The universe is back in balance, but don’t kid yourself – this Cowboys team has serious holes, and the Giants are better than we may have thought.
-How about DeMarco Murray’s hustle play to prevent a pick-6 in the first quarter? Ryan Mundy intercepted Romo at the 8-yard-line but only managed to return it 91 yards. The Cowboys defense stopped the Giants cold on three plays from the 1-yard-line; Murray’s hustle was worth four points. Hustle wins ballgames.
-The offensive line had its best game in three years. Romo, having spent the past 40 or so games running for his life at every snap, seemed not to know what to do with the time when he got it. We’ve spent years wondering what Romo could accomplish if given adequate time in the pocket. The answer: 5 yards per attempt.
Sep 8, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; A general view of the United States flag during the national anthem prior to the game with the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants at AT
-Probably the luckiest break in a win filled with them was Dez Bryant walking off the field after rolling his ankle. Replay showed his foot bent at an unnaturally queasy angle – you could hear the tendons popping from your living room. No rhyme or reason as to why he’s not going to be out four to six weeks – just lucky.
-Romo’s rib injury looked just as bad. How about his reaction after the game: “There’s no excuses for anybody. No one really cares. That’s the truth for people who are banged up in football.” Romo cracked a rib in the first half of last year’s Week 17 loss to the Redskins, and despite a gutty effort to keep the game close, it slipped away with a pick late in the fourth quarter. Romo spent the entire offseason getting crucified for it. What lessons do you suppose he learned from the experience?
-So did Billy Bates come out of retirement, grow Predator locks, and don the number 17 for a special teams corps deemed suspect following a horrid preseason? Or was that forgotten man Dwayne Harris, making an impact with every opportunity Jason Garrett gives him?
-The Dallas defense gave up just 50 rushing yards. Was it because their front seven is that good, the Giants rushing attack is that inept, or the fact that the Giants played from behind from start to finish?
-Terrance Williams looked like a talented rookie with a looooong way to go yet. Made his quarterback look like an idiot on that first quarter pick and dropped a couple of balls later in the game, but made some plays, too, including a 23-yard catch over the middle on 3-and-10 that sustained a touchdown drive. Playmaking promise is there, but his development is going to hurt the team at times.
-In a game where the defense scored twice, picked off Manning three times, and stripped two ball carriers, Sean Lee’s four solo tackles didn’t exactly jump off the screen. NBC named him their defensive star of the game – what exactly did I miss?