10. He had as many penalties as catches (2) and more penalty yards (15) than receiving yards (10), but Jason Witten absolutely changed the game with his dramatic recovery from a lacerated spleen. He wore extra padding around his mid-section, sat out only 1 series in playing 49 snaps and furthered his legend of toughness alongside Emmitt Smith’s shoulder. Taped to Witten’s locker at MetLife Stadium was an inspirational message he heard during the Cowboys’ visit with Navy SEALs during training camp:
I will never quit. I persevere and thrive on adversity. My team expects me to be physically harder and mentally stronger than our competition. If knocked down, I will get back up every time. I will draw on every remaining source of strength to help my team and to accomplish our goal. I am never out of the FIGHT.
And to think, this team used to listen Keith Brooking’s pre-game garbage.
9. Tony Romo was at his vintage best, extending plays and making something out of nothing. He also made history. With his 22 completions, Romo has now completed more passes as a Cowboys’ quarterback than Roger Staubach. Gulp. With 77 more completions he’ll pass Danny White and be No. 2 all-time behind only Troy Aikman.
8. It’s good to be king. Jerry Jones’ franchise is worth $2.1 billion, his team is 1-0 and he has his own personal eyeglasses wiper in son-in-law Shy Anderson.
7. Romo connected on 3 total touchdown passes to Kevin Ogletree and Miles Austin. All were undrafted free agents.
6. DeMarco Murray’s 48-yard run in the 3rd simply isn’t coachable. On a sweep right, Doug Free got manhandled by Mathias Kiwanuka and Murray had to break a tackle in the backfield. Reversing his field, he then broke another tackle – this one a good 4 yards behind the line of scrimmage – by Justin Tuck before bouncing off his own fullback, Lawrence Vickers. After that he went back to the right and down the sideline. The end of the run wasn’t so heady. Despite Dez Bryant clearing a path to the end zone by blocking Kenny Phillips, Murray inexplicably cut from the sideline back into traffic and was tackled. He keeps running straight and Murray has one of the best 73-yard touchdown runs in franchise history. He’ll take the 48.
5. Compliment to the replacement referees, led by head official Jim Core, a guy who was reffing NAIA games a year ago. He once called an illegal block in the back “clipping” and his crew missed Orlando Scandrick holding Victor Cruz in the end zone, but today the refs are not a part of the story. And that’s a story in itself.
4. We’d seen this movie before. And in 2011 it never ended well. Cowboys with a double-digit lead in the 4th quarter and … Against the Giants last December in Arlington the Cowboys tried to put the game away with a Romo pass to Miles Austin, but misfired by inches in a 37-34 loss. Last night in Jersey, same situation. Up 14 with 5:57 remaining, Dallas’ lead was down to 7. They had the ball and needed a first down to win. A holding call on Witten forced a 3rd-and-10 from their 26. Go conservative and punt and who knows? Instead, Jason Garrett stayed aggressive, Romo hit Ogletree for 13 yards on a slant. And already this season feels different than last season.
3. Tyron Smith had a nightmare game trying to block the beast that is Jason Pierre-Paul. But his hustle on Romo’s interception was gutsy, and important. Smith tracked down Michael Boley at the 2 with a horse-collar, but the defense held New York to only a field goal. Credit Smith with a 4-point play.
2. Last time the Cowboys opened the season with a road win against the Giants (1995), they went on to win their last Super Bowl (XXX).
1. Wonder how many Fantasy Football owners began their day by putting in a free-agent bid on Ogletree?
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