Totally Biased NFL Recap: 10 Observations From The Cowboys Big Win Over Big Blue

Our resident NFL writer Travis Rand takes an in-depth look at a big Cowboys victory over the Giants in the NFL’s opening game of the 2012 season.

Last night, fans around the world rejoiced as NFL action was once again being transmitted into our living rooms. The defending champion New York Giants hosted the Dallas Cowboys to kick off the 2012 season, and now, Totally Biased is here to give a recap of 10 observations of what would become a victory for “America’s Team”, who edged out the G-Men by a score of 24-17.

I am hoping to make this a staple on the website, and hopefully one of my colleagues wouldn’t mind putting something together for all you Pat fans out there. Don’t forget to rate and comment as well.

Enjoy.

10. Dallas Cowboys Penalties… Apparently mean nothing.

Three false start penalties didn’t help, but Tyron Smith hustling down field to tackle Michael Boley before finding the endzone certainly made up for it.

I can confidently say that this will be the last time the Dallas Cowboys win a game, while  committing more than three times the amount of penalties as their opponents. The Cowboys ended the contest with 13 penalties for 86 yards, while the Giants only had the whistle blown four times, racking up 33 penalty yards in the process.

The offensive line was shaky for Dallas, moving before the snap five times, three of which were on Tyron Smith. Which, is somewhat excusable, because Jason Pierre-Paul manhandled him for most of the night, though with nothing to show for it, and that’s because…

9. Tony Romo owned the pocket

For years, Big Blue has made getting to the quarterback a staple of their defense. Pierre-Paul, Osi Umenyiora, and Justin Tuck have been harassing opposing signal callers like crazy, and usually come away with 3-4 sacks a game, and often times in key situations. 

Although they still notched two sacks [Linval Joseph and Rocky Bernard], the Giants front four couldn’t get to Romo enough, though coming within arms reach a frustrating amount. With every quarterback except Eli in the NFC East being able to move well, the Giants pass rush needs to figure it out quickly if they still want the respect that they so very much deserve.

8. Giants secondary suffers yet another injury

Prince Amukamara was slated to be the Giants number two corner behind Corey Webster, but sprained his ankle in the third preseason game against the Chicago Bears. Terrell Thomas, returning from an ACL tear last season, after a dominant 2010, tore his ACL yet again in practice. Jayron Hosely, the Giants 3rd round pick out of Virginia Tech suffered a turf toe injury and is only now getting back to full strength. 

So, naturally, as only Giants cornerbacks can do, Michael Coe, entering the season as the 5th cornerback, and starter for Wednesday nights fiasco, also pulled his hamstring. Dallas immediately targeted Justin Tryon the first chance they got. 

The result? A 30 yard strike to Miles Austin that all but sealed the game. That, ladies and gentleman, is what happens when a teams sixth best cornerback is asked to cover a stud like Austin.

7. David Wilson’s fumble proves costly

Wilson set very lofty goals for his rookie campaign with the Giants, highlighted by what he called the most important, not losing a fumble all year. That lasted for all of two carries. It could not have come at a worse time, with the Giants knocking at the door for the first points of the game on the Dallas 29 yard line. Coughlin rewarded Wilson by him not touching the ball again. Give this guy the Tiki Treatment. High and tight, Wilson… High and tight.

6. DeMarco Murray runs wild

Murray absolutely dazzled in his rookie campaign last season, and playing in his first game since breaking his leg last year, he once again proved he could be a star in the making. Finishing with 20 carries for 131 yards, the Oklahoma product also gave us the play of the night, with a 48 yard run that you’d have to see to believe.

5. Tomo Romo’s best game ever?

I’m absolutely sick and tired of hearing how Romo isn’t the answer for in Big D. The one and only thing that he lacks is the clutch factor, which I still believe will come in due time. You absolutely NEED a good QB to win in this league, and Romo is planted firmly in the top 10. Last night was no different. As for Romo vs Big Blue? Well, here are his last three games against the Giants.

Romo played out of his mind last night, with his only mistake coming on Michael Boley’s interception. He worked the pocket like a wizard, and called more audibles at the line than I have ever seen him call before. Could be in line for a career year.

4. Did the Giants need this wake-up call?

The Giants play much better when everyone is telling them that it just isn’t the cards this year. Almost every analyst I watched on television, or heard on the radio, said that the Giants would pull this one out. We lacked any type of energy, focus, or drive. If the Giants want to compete in this cutthroat division, they need to play much better football than they did last night. When Coughlin was asked how he addressed the team before his presser, he responded, “take a bite out of the humble pie.”

3. The emergence of Kevin Ogletree

Kevin Ogletree made all the difference for Big D on Wednesday night, finding pay dirt twice.

After the Jaguars signed Laurent Robinson to a massive contract after a breakout season with the Cowboys in 2011, the third wide receiver slot behind Miles Austin and Dez Bryant was up for grabs. Well… that ended abruptly.

Apparently, Tony Romo pushed hard for Ogletree to win the job, and more often than not, the quarterback is spot on with an assessment of a wide out. Ogletree was fantastic with his double moves, and his slant routes, making Corey Webster look like a school yard rookie on his 40 yard touchdown reception. Finishing with 8 receptions for 114 yards and two scores, Ogletree could very well play a big role in the success of the Cowboys this season.

2. Victor Cruz lacks concentration, drops three balls

Victor Cruz is coming off of what many experts are calling a career year, and furthermore, hinting that it may have been a little “lucky.” Cruz did absolutely nothing to quiet the critics last night, dropping three very catchable balls, one of which on the Giants first third down of the year. The Salsa Machines has never had more than one drop in a game, so last night may have been a one time deal… or so we hope.

Although he still finished with respectable numbers [6 catches, 58 yards] Cruz is absolutely vital to the success of Big Blue this year, and will need to lock it down against Tampa Bay next Sunday.

1. Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne play exceptionally well

It was no secret last year that the Cowboys couldn’t handle Victor Cruz or Hakeem Nicks in either of their match-ups last year. “Couldn’t handle” may have even been the most generous thing I’ve ever typed.

(Giants win: 34-31, December 11th, 2011)

(Giants win: 31-14, January 1st, 2012)

With those two beat downs, Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz became the first pair of teammates in NFL history to both eclipse 150 yards against the Cowboys. Jerry Jones and Rob Ryan answered the Giants air attack by signing free agent cornerback Brandon Carr to a five year deal with 50.1 million, with a large 26 mil guaranteed.

They weren’t done there though.

With the 6th pick in the NFL draft [thanks to a trade involving the Cowboys-Rams-Redskins], the Cowboys selected Morris Claiborne, believed to be the top defensive back by a large margin. Though not the smartest.

Their impact has been felt immediately.

If DeMarcus Ware can keep harassing quarterbacks, and forcing quick throws, the Dallas defense could become a total force. No questions asked, this secondary, along with Tony Romo, deserves a large portion of credit for last nights victory.

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Travis Rand is a Senior at the University of Southern Maine, and has a fantasy sports, and New York Giants/Yankees obsession. Is favorite sports moment is David Tyree’s helmet catch. He predicts Kevin Ogletree will be owned in 95% of leagues come week two. Be sure to check back here at Totally Biased for extensive coverage of the NFL Season.

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