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Defending Super Bowl champions, the New York Giants, welcomed one of their division rivals, the Dallas Cowboys, to MetLife Stadium to kickoff the 2012 NFL season.
Unfortunately, the Giants did not look as good as they did last time they faced the Cowboys in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
In an early defensive gridlock, the Giants took the lead in the 2nd quarter thanks to a Lawrence Tynes 22 yard field goal. Their lead did not last long: two drives later, from their own 22 yard line, the Dallas Cowboys marched right down the field. On 2nd and 5, at the Giants 10 yard line, Cowboy quarterback Tony Romo found wide receiver Kevin Ogletree for a 10 yard touchdown to help retake the lead 7-3.
Dallas started the 2nd half right where they left off. On their first drive, once again Romo connected with Ogletree for a 40 yard touchdown to put the Cowboys up 14-3. Eli Manning and the New York Giants jumped right back into it on their first possession. Manning drove from his own 11 yard line to the Cowboys 10, where Ahmad Bradshaw punched in a 10 yard touchdown to cut the deficit to 4 points. Dallas extended their lead back to 7, toward the end of the 3rd quarter with a Dan Bailey 33 yard field goal.
Dallas extended the lead even further after the Giants failed to drive down the field and were forced to punt. Starting at their own 18, running back DeMarco Murray started picking apart the Giants defense with his quick and explosive runs. At the Giants own 34 yard line, Romo was quick to realize the defensive mismatch, and connected with wideout Miles Austin for a touchdown.
With little time left, and down by 14, the Giants converted two key 4th down attempts to stay in the game. At the Cowboys own 9 yard line, Manning dropped back and connected with ex Cowboy Martellus Bennet. However, it just was not enough after Dallas converted on 3rd and 10. Romo kneeled the Cowboys to a 24-17 victory.
Romo finished the game with 307 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception, and a quarterback rating of 129.5. In what is going to be a pressure-filled season for Romo, he certainly did not let it effect him week 1. As for Dallas’ run game, Murray averaged 6.6 yards per carry and rushed for 131 yards. Ogletree led all receivers with 8 receptions for 114 yards and 2 touchdowns. It was evident that Romo took advantage of the Giants banged up secondary.
Defensively for the Cowboys, linebacker Sean Lee stole the show and had 12 tackles as well as one forced fumble. In addition, defensive menace DeMarcus Ware hit the 100 sack milestone and is the 28th player in NFL history to do so after his 5 tackles and two sacks against the Giants.
As for the Giants, Manning finished the game off with 213 yards and one touchdown. Bradshaw led the giants in rushing, compiling 78 yards on the ground and on touchdown. As for their receiving core, Victor Cruz led all Giants receivers with 6 receptions and 58 yards. Cruz could have easily bumped his stat sheet but dropped a few passes.
The Giants have some serious concern regarding their secondary. An already injured battered secondary became worse after: Michael Coe got injured in the 2nd half. Coe was already replacing injured corner Prince Amukamara. The Giants had no choice but to put in 5th year defensive back Justin Tryon. If the Giants do not get healthy quickly, many teams will pick them apart via passing game.
Both the Cowboys and the Giants will be back in action Sunday, September 16. The Cowboys will be on the road against the Seattle Seahawks. As for the Giants, they are hoping to bounce back next week when they welcome the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to MetLife Stadium.
Image Courtesy of New York Giants