IRVING (AP) – The Dallas Cowboys got a little extra time to savor their season-opening victory.
There was plenty to enjoy, even though coach Jason Garrett wasn’t sure that the Cowboys had proved “that much” by beating the New York Giants eight months after ending their season with a loss in the same place.
“We went up there and we needed to win a ballgame against a division opponent at their place and it was a great challenge for us,” Garrett said Thursday. “But it is one game out of 16 and I thought our team did a good job of handling the different adversities throughout the ballgame, and that was a real positive sign for us.”
After their midweek opener that created an extended gap between the first and second games, and the redeye flight home, players weren’t required to be at Valley Ranch on Thursday.
They will gather as a team Friday for what Garrett said will be a critical look at the film from the Giants game that he did call a good win. Players will then have the weekend off before finally getting into a more routine schedule.
“We’re going to find a lot of stuff that we like. We’re going to find a ton of stuff that we don’t like. It’s easy to list those things as well,” Garrett said, without elaborating on specifics. “So we’ve got to make sure we clean that stuff up. We’ve got to put this game behind us and get back to work for Seattle.”
Dallas’ next game is Sept. 16 at the Seahawks.
One thing Garrett wouldn’t do a day after the victory was get into comparisons about what last year’s team failed to do against the Giants, as opposed to what this team did.
“It’s a different team. I know what happened last night,” he said. “I felt like we handled the situation well. Felt like we were in really good condition first and foremost throughout our team and got stronger through the ballgame in all three phases of our team. And similarly, I thought we handled the situations well.”
For example, when the Cowboys were threatened late — a spot they often have folded in against the Giants — Tony Romo hit Kevin Ogletree for 15 yards on third down to clinch it.
Ogletree finished with eight catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns. He grabbed the role as the No. 3 receiver during training camp. The extra time he got with Romo when Miles Austin and Dez Bryant were limited by injuries in the preseason was very evident.
“I think Kevin and Tony played a lot together in the preseason, throughout training camp,” Garrett said. “There’s a comfort level that Tony has with Kevin. Kevin’s a very good route runner. … And he’s taken advantage of the opportunities he’s gotten.”
That New Year’s Day loss at MetLife Stadium last season left the Cowboys with an 8-8 record. The Giants clinched the NFC East title, earned the league’s last playoff spot and then went on to win their second Super Bowl in five seasons.
Dallas, which was left with a long offseason, has already moved past that damaging loss with a good start to 2012.
“We have a chance to have good things happen every week. But the teams we play are good, too,” Garrett said. “I thought each of the guys understood what we tried to get across. And they just went out and did their job, over and over again. When it didn’t go well, they came back and tried to do their job on the next play. When we had some success, they did the same thing.”
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