Miles Austin and Dez Bryant showed that they were healthy. Running and jumping with no hesitation or problems. That was what I was looking at with them coming off of injuries. They looked good. Dez Bryant and Miles Austin made some great catches. And when their secondary lost a player, it was lunch time. When they were double teamed, Romo found Olgetree, dumped it off or tried to get Witten involved. I was pleased with how they played. They a game like this. Ease into the season and show what they can do.
DeMarco Murray is a good running backs. He and Tony Romo made our offensive line look a lot better. There were times where he made something out of nothing. Times were he created a hole and made some positive yards and salvaged the play. He could have broke for a touchdown but cut back in instead of following Dez. Dez was set to lead him all the way. I hope his cardio is in tip-top shape and was just a bad judgement on his part. Against this Defense, he was a big part of what we wanted to do on offense and did more than his share. He was cutting off of both feet, breaking tackles, trucking defenders and showed a great burst in speed getting around the corner. On the play where we got called for holding late in the fourth quarter, he slid down to try to keep the game clock rolling. Things like this is what is going to make him a great running back. Presence of mind and doing what we need him to do. DeMarco finished with 20 carries, 131 yards rushing for 6.5 yards a carry. When he runs like this, we are a much better team. He has to find the end zone though. In 14 total games, he has only scored a touchdown twice. When he is running for over 100 yards a game it is a small thing, but something I want him to do.
The Linebacking Corps is the back bone of our Defense. Out of the first 10 tackles they had eight of them. One of those was the forced fumble by Sean Lee. He and Bruce Carter played a great game. They were fast, quick, in good position and made plays. They fly all over the field and has to be accounted for. Anthony Spencer was in good position to get a couple of sacks on Eli, but he did a good job getting the ball out. The one thing that was noticed by Spencer was his coverage skills and assistance in the running game. The play of the game was the Horse Collar that Tyron Smith had on Boley to save a touchdown. A couple of plays later, Anthony Spencer did his best Gandoff impersonation telling Bradshaw that “You shall not Pass.” This proved to be a crucial play because the game was once again decided by one possession. And DeMarcus Ware was a beast. He took out the Tight ends in the first quarter of the game by having them always in to help block. When the Giants released them, Ware put pressure on the line and had two sacks during the game.
The Defense overall did a good job of not only stopping the run but limiting the big plays in the game. Dominique Hixon had a 39 yard reception when Sensabaugh was on the sideline. The second time they ran the pick play, both times accounted for their longest gains in the game (Victor Cruz had a 26 yarder). Great job by the defensive backs. Barry Church was close to having an interception. Brandon Carr played the wide-outs physical and had some nice pass deflections. He backed up his comments concerning Victor Cruz and there was no Salsa Dancing. Victor Cruz had some uncharacteristic drops that could point to the coverage he was facing. The secondary looks a lot better. This paved way for the Jason Hatcher sack. All these players are to be commended for learning this system and showing enough awareness to make plays. They should only get stronger as the season goes along.
Two areas of concern would be the alarming number of mental mistakes that we had and the offensive line play. We had 13 penalties for 86 yards. Most of these were false starts and other small mental errors such as delay of game. concentration and communication will eliminate these. There is no reason to have our drives slowed down or to have our possession killed because we can’t get on the same page. On defense, we need to do a better job when the opposing team goes to their “No Huddle” offense. Communication and preparation can fix these as well. With concerns to our offensive line, they were manhandled at times by the Giants defensive line. This also added to our false start problem. And having our Center out of the game early in the game didn’t help. I thought Ryan Cook played though. To come in and play for the Cowboys against the New York Giants with less than a week of preparation is nothing to sneeze with. He had two bad snaps and one play that he looked lost, but other than that, he played admirably. Tyron Smith had his baptism at Left Tackle by the Reverend Jason Pierre-Paul. He along with every other members of our line needs to get better. They did have some nice plays, but the play overall was lacking. They survived, but I want to have the type of offensive line that dominates not just gets by.
Side notes: Jason Witten is a warrior. An injured warrior. There is not too many guys that love the game and this team like he does, but he should not have been out there. Even injured he had two catches and was serviceable in blocking. But he had a drop and was just a shell of himself out there. Here is to hoping that he gets healthy real soon.
Morris Claiborne got his first taste of NFL play. In his rookie debut, he was picked on from the beginning of the game. But he didn’t get too low on himself. He kept playing and got better as the game went on. He will take a huge amount of confidence from this game. He is going to learn and watch film to see those rookie mistakes and get become a better player.