Just how bad must Wade Phillips have felt Sunday? The wily old coach was presumably sitting at home watching the team that folded on his watch stand up and take it to the previously red-hot New York Giants.
Perhaps he went out for a quiet dinner instead and missed it.
The Cowboys were able to control the game, and even managed to keep their nerve through delays imposed by a generator at New Meadowlands stadium packing up half way through the game, taking banks of floodlights with it.
Let’s take a look at who made the win possible.
Cowboys: Three performances of note
We haven’t been as quick to praise Dez Bryant as some so far this season, but he had an excellent game against the Giants (+3.0). Bryant caught three of the five balls thrown his way (and was inches from another one deep down the sideline), for 104 yards and a touchdown. Bryant showed an awesome ability to go up and elevate over a defensive back to make a play when called upon.
He had some help around him, but it’s worth talking about the performance of Jon Kitna (+2.6). His play was even better than his overall grade suggests, as he took a hit on a false start penalty late in the first half. He was impressive with the ball in his hands and aggressive in going after the Giants. Kitna’s QB rating for his aimed passes (i.e. minus spikes, intentional thrown away. etc.) was an impressive 128.8.
It says something about the day of CB Bryan McCann that he can record a grade of -1.9 despite returning a pick for a touchdown. That ball was the only pass thrown into his coverage that wasn’t complete, and it owed a lot to Hakeem Nicks giving up on the route. McCann struggled with Mario Manningham in particular, allowing three passes for 59 yards to the speedy wideout.
Giants: Three performances of note
The Giants may have been second-best in this game, but it wasn’t because of the play of Eli Manning (+7.7). Manning made some extremely impressive throws, and when blitzed he had a 130.2 QB rating. He was also able to make a play that will remind many of the Super Bowl miracle throw to David Tyree, escaping from the clutches of Jay Ratliff to keep the chains moving on third down.
The Giants’ D, which has been in such form of late, was handled by the Dallas offense. Michael Boley was as poor as anybody (-2.2) from his outside linebacker spot. Boley scored negatively across the board, getting driven out of holes by Dallas’ linemen and making just a single stop on the day.
Kevin Boss (-1.9) didn’t have a good day, with a particularly costly drop that cost the Giants four points. On a perfectly thrown Manning pass, Boss allowed it straight through his hands to rattle off his facemask before the safety got in to break the pass up. Those are plays Boss has to make, and was making last season.
Dallas linebacker Sean Lee only saw eight snaps in this game, and failed to make an impact. … New York top pick Jason Pierre-Paul was one of the few defenders to acquit himself well on the Giants’ side of the ball, batting a pass and recording a stop in the game. … Punter Matt Dodge returned to having a bad case of the shanks in this game, rattling multiple balls off the side of his foot shorter than 40 yards.
Kudos to Roy Williams, who ran step-for-step with Felix Jones for the length of Jones’ 71-yard score to keep would-be tacklers away from him. Williams takes a lot of bad press, but that’s an effort play that doesn’t show up in any stats.