The Dallas Cowboys came out of the bye week hoping that quarterback Tony Romo was back to full strength, as they faced off with the NFC East division rival New York Giants on Sunday Night Football and needed to come out with the win because next up is a match with the Philadelphia Eagles for first place in the division. The Cowboys won with a last minute come-from-behind win, 31-28. Here is a look at the Cowboys’ team grades.
The Dallas Cowboys offense started off slowly, but really picked things up in the second quarter and then dominated the second half. The big moment came at the end, with Dallas losing by four points, needing a touchdown with under two minutes left in the game. Tony Romo proved that is still the most important man on this offense but the offensive line was the reason that Dallas won.
On two different plays on that final drive, the offensive line held off the pass rushers for over seven seconds, including the final touchdown pass from Romo to Dez Bryant. Overall, Romo was 18 of 26 for 275 yards and four touchdown passes. Bryant ended up with seven receptions for 86 yards and two touchdowns. The other two touchdown passes were to Cole Beasley and Jason Witten, and Romo spread the ball around to seven different receivers.
DeMarco Murray, meanwhile, continued his amazing play this season. Much like Dallas has for the entire season, they continued to run Murray even when they fell behind. Last year, when losing, they would just give up on the run, but this year they aren’t and are winning. Murray finished with 24 carries for 121 yards and two receptions for 22 yards.
The Dallas Cowboys defense struggled hard when it came to defending the pass against rookie Giants’ wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. It seemed like the Cowboys could do nothing to stop the exciting young receiver, who actually had the greatest catch in NFL history, a diving backward one-handed catch for a touchdown. Beckham finished the game with 10 receptions for 146 yards and two touchdowns.
Eli Manning finished the game with three touchdown passes, but it was the Cowboys secondary who redeemed themselves at the end of the game. With Manning heading into the red zone, Barry Church intercepted a pass to stop the drive and kept Dallas in the game. It was a huge play, and was one play that really helped make up for a poor night for the secondary.
The Dallas defense also struggled to stop the run, but still only gave up 89 rushing yards, although they did give up a touchdown to Andre Williams. Jeremy Mincey and George Selvie each recorded a sack on Manning, as the defensive line continues to improve. Rolando McClain made his return to the lineup after missing two game with injuries and led the team with 11 tackles.
The special teams’ importance was almost non-existent in this game. Chris Jones had four punts, putting two of them inside the 20. Dwayne Harris returned only one kickoff for 22 yards and averaged 17 yards per punt return. Dallas should be commended for only allowing Beckham to return one punt, and dropped him for a loss. Dan Bailey only took one field goal attempts and made a 38 yarder.
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Shawn S. Lealos is a freelance writer who graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2000 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. He writes for a variety of national publications and has over 15 years of sports journalism experience. Follow Shawn on Twitter @sslealos. Examiner.com.