Frank Heinz, NBC DFW
It took six takeaways, the majority of which were the result of pure luck, for Dallas to hang on to take down the Giants in Week 1. Eli Manning threw three poor interceptions, David Wilson fumbled twice, and a Chris Jones punt took a fortuitous bounce for Dallas, but the ‘Boys will take the win. Here are a few of my thoughts on the Cowboys’ offense.
- I absolutely love that we saw the Pistol from Dallas on Sunday night. Not only that, but we saw it multiple times. The Pistol can allow for Tony Romo to be in Shotgun while also giving the Cowboys the freedom to run any play. DeMarco Murray doesn’t need to delay before taking a handoff, so the Cowboys can have the best of both worlds.
- I need to break down the film, but it was obvious that Dallas didn’t have much play-action success. It was still good to see them using it, though. Last year, Romo compiled a 109.1 passer rating on play-action. It can really be an effective tool in their offensive arsenal, whether the running game is working or not. They’re starting to realize that.
- I was really impressed with the Giants’ game plan. They did what we expected, playing a whole lot of Cover 2 Man-Under to negate the impact of Dez Bryant. One of the things that I thought was really smart was playing off of Bryant, though. Instead of playing from a press-man position, the cornerbacks were five yards off on most snaps. That stopped Dallas from running back-shoulder throws to Bryant on the outside—the only chance they had to “force” passes to Bryant even with double coverage. Kudos to the Giants on a heck of a plan.
- Romo totaled only 263 yards on 49 attempts—5.4 YPA. He also threw for only 3.9 adjusted YPA, which is really poor. The Giants were content with allowing Romo the underneath stuff, so Romo’s longest throw on the night was a 23-yarder to Terrance Williams. The Cowboys need to figure out a way to beat this coverage the next time the teams meet.
- It was awesome to see DeMarco Murray receive 20 of the 21 carries from running backs. I’d be a proponent of a running back by committee system on most teams, but not this one. Murray is so clearly the best back that he needs to be on the field on almost every snap.
- Miles Austin had 10 catches, but I actually thought he played a mediocre game. His receptions were the obvious result of attention on Bryant, and Austin turned them into only 72 yards. I was most displeased with his run-after-catch ability; he just didn’t make anyone miss.