week 1 - Superbowl hangover: giants lose as romo shines

Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants, Met Life Stadium, 5th September 2012
Its back, and back with a bang! Exactly seven months after the New York Giants won their 4th Superbowl title in Indianapolis against the New England Patriots, Tom Coughlin’s team opened up the defence of their title against rivals the Dallas Cowboys in a highly anticipated opening clash.
Eli-te QB: Manning was Superbowl 46 MVP
The Cowboys, who in December last season faced the Giants in the final game for both teams had the game in the palm of their hands and were looking to beat the Giants for a place in the play offs. However, a pass from Tony Romo to Miles Austin had an easy catch written all over it only for the wide receiver to drop it. New York then took the game to Dallas and managed to pull off the victory and seal their wild card place. 

Giants would then beat the Falcons comfortably at home, followed by the conquering of the favourites the Packers and then a nail biting clash against the 49ers in San Francisco to travel to Lucas Oil Stadium for the Superbowl – and the rest they say is history.

Dallas therefore were looking for retribution to the disappointing end to what was a disappointing season for ‘America’s Team’. New York had rode their luck at times last year but want to prove they are the real deal.

Pressure Is On: Romo knows his time to win a Super Bowl is running out
The game started shaky, with both Eli Manning and Romo looking rather rusty. Manning had proved the previous season he was an elite QB but Romo had everything to prove with the sands of time of his career quickly beginning to run low. Another poor season for the Cowboys superstar QB could spell the end of his time at the starter by the time next year’s Pre-season begins; however judging by the performance that would ensue this could be finally his year.

An interception although almost led to the opening touchdown for the Giants only for a penalty grab of the neck by Tony Smith prevented a pick six of Romo. Coughlin, the oldest coach in the NFL and to win a Superbowl could only watch his team fail to make it into the end zone on short yardage and would settle for a Lawrence Tynes field goal to make it 3-0.

100 Club: Ware is now amongst great Reggie White

The first half was definitely being dominated by both team defences and Cowboy legend DaMarcus Ware reached a very special total. A sack on Manning made it his 100th of his career and in doing so, became the second fastest to reach a century only behind Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles legend Reggie White.

But then the Cowboys offense sprung into life with wide receivers Miles Austin, Kevin Ogletree and Dez Bryant looking dangerous again especially after all his pre-season dramas. With running-back DeMarco Murray rushing for 131 yards on 20 carries at the Met Life Stadium, Romo also has a great player behind him on offence.

The Cowboys then sprung the surprise before half time with fourth year Ogletree on the end of Romo’s lofted pass after breaking out of the pocket putting the Cowboys into a surprising yet deserved half time lead.

The second half began the way in which the first half ended – Romo in complete control. The Cowboys QB was coming into his own and highlighting the fact that you should never write him off. Another breakaway TD run from Ogletree was found by Romo as Dallas made it a 2-score lead.

The Giants however did not look panicked and remained calm under the guidance of Superbowl MVP Eli Manning. This wasn’t the brushed up display we expected from Eli but he managed to drive his team forward enough to give a hand off for Bradshaw who stiff-armed his way home to make it 14-10.

With the third quarter coming to a conclusion, another good drive from Dallas ended with a field goal from Dan Bailey to put the Cowboys a touchdown ahead. However, the following quarter is what Eli calls home and still the Giants remained favourites.

4th and Not Out: Manning turns it on when the game comes close to the end
Manning was incredible last year in the 4th quarter, staging many final breath comebacks and with 15 TD’s in the final quarter last year, that made it the most in NFL history. But Romo remained composed and calm, avoiding the pash rushing of Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul. With Ogletree having the break out game of his career, the game was becoming more of the Cowboys’ to lose than the Giants to win.

And it seemed certain they would take the win back to State of Texas when Romo threw his third touchdown of the night to Miles Austin to make it 24-10 with six minutes ramining. But, as expected, Manning threw a small spanner in the works and threatened to become Mr 4th Quarter again.

Manning found Bennett who jumped high and kept his feet just in bound to score against his old team with over two minutes left on the clock. But a steady drive to the 2 minute warning, finishing with a finalk connection between Romo and Ogletree meant that the Cowboys could waste time on the clock until getting the win.

Austin’s touchdown was the difference, but the performances of Romo and Ogletree are the highlights of Week 1 for Dallas. If this connection works season long, then the Cowboys could be in for a successful year. For the Giants, its back to the drawing board and will quickly realise its tough to reach the top, but even tougher to defend their crown. 

With it only week 1 its not enough to worry the G-Men just yet, but with the desperate dream team in the same division in the shape of the Philadelphia Eagles and RG3 ready to start his life in the NFL with the Washington Redskins, it could be a long difficult road back to the play offs for the Champs.

FINAL: Dallas Cowboys 24-17 New York Giants

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