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Cowboys Fall To Giants At Home Opener, 33-31.

Giants Cowboys FootballIn front of the largest NFL crowd ever and a huge media spectacle at their new Cowboys Stadium premier last night, the Cowboys fell 33-31 to the New York Giants, thanks to a last-second 37-yard field goal by K Lawrence Tynes.  Anyone who watched the game knows that the stadium and its video board was a huge hit among the 110,000 or so fans in attendance.  Such luminaries as Roger Staubach, Emmitt Smith and Troy Aikman were also on hand for the grand opening.

But what happened to the Cowboys, you might ask.  The most obvious answer would be the four turnovers which directly lead to 24 of the Giants’ 33-points.  But the truth of the matter is they had a 1-point lead, 31-30, after a 8-yard Felix Jones rushing touchdown with just under 4-minutes left in the game, so the offense more than made up for its errors.  The defense was the problem in this one.  Yes, they defended against the run extremely well holding RB Brandon Jacobs to just 58-yards rushing, most of which came in the second half.   However, they allowed Eli Manning all kinds of time to throw, and throw he did, completing 25-of-38 for 303-yards and two touchdowns.   

For the second straight game, Wade Phillips’ vaunted defensive schemes failed to record a single sack or get a turnover/takeaway.  Even one of any of these things at a well-timed moment of the game would have resulted in a Cowboys’ victory instead of a loss.  And would someone please explain to me why an All-Pro Nose Tackle would be required to fall into pass coverage at anytime during a crucial football game?  Although Jay Ratliff made a splendid play on the pass, it still befuddles me any kind of defensive scheme that would use such a tactic!  He should be rushing the passer and possibly getting that key sack needed to pin the Giants deep in their own territory.  Nevertheless, on that last critical possession, the Cowboys chose to go into some type of “Prevent” Zone defense and not rush the QB, which as everyone knows, only prevents you from winning.  Manning proceeded to shred the zone down the field to get his team within the necessary field goal try. 

Another thing that should be mentioned is the extreme luck that the Giants encountered on Sunday night!  There were at least three incidents where the ball bounced just perfectly for them.  The first was the interception by Kenny Phillips in the third quarter when the pass bounced from TE Jason Witten’s hand, down to his foot and right into Phillips’ stomach.  Then, the pass from Manning to WR Mario Manningham when he deflected the ball into the air and it then fell right into his arms as he laid on the ground in the endzone.  But possibly the best bounce was late in the fourth quarter on the last drive facing a third-and-four from Dallas’ 35-yard line, Manning’s pass was deflected at the line of scrimmage but was still caught by the Giants’  receiver for the first down.   If the Giants would have been stopped here, or at any of the other three third-down plays on the drive, it would have been a much longer field goal try and might possibly have been missed by Tynes who missed an earlier 29-yarder.

While most people, including the NBC commentators, felt the Cowboys outplayed the Giants, they still came away with a loss.  The Giants were pathetic in the Red Zone and only managed to kick field goals whenever they were inside the 20-yard line, but the bottom line is they get the “W”, so let’s just hope the ball bounces our way next time we play them.

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