"Romo, oh Romo, where art thou?" Cried the Meadowlands, as it eagerly awaited the return of a man it had subjected to such misfortune last season. First there were a succession of injudicious decisions that snatched defeat from the jaws of victory on opening night against the Jets. This was followed later in week seventeen by a chastening experience at the hands of the Giants much vaunted pass rush quartet of Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre - Paul, Mathias Kiwanuka, and Osi Umenyiora, who proceeded to sack Romo six times, bringing no shortage of pain, and the customary finger pointing.
Though last night did little to banish the nightmare that took place on New Years Day, and silence Romo's many detractors amongst fans and pundits alike, the Cowboys produced a competent overall, if not spectacular, performance to beat a team that, up until last night, had had a considerable hold over them. Gone were the spate of confused plays, the powerful stench of ill - discipline, that for a time under the current Garrett regime, threatened to create a permanent carry over from the last days of Wade Phillips, and no major controversies to speak of.
So, as a raucous 82, 287 poured into MetLife Stadium with a great sense of anticipation for what they hoped would be another titanic clash between these much storied teams, the nation held it's collective breath, but at least 80, 000 hoped to witness another comprehensive decimation of 'America's team' at the hands of their 'G - Men'. Instead they were subjected to a strangulation that left Eli Manning Manning and his offense, including a Victor Cruz, who in 2011, lead the league in receptions with an outstanding 1,536 yards and 9 touchdowns, a picture of frustration with 58 yards, 6 receptions, and 3 sacks respectively. One of which inflicted by the venerable DeMarcus Ware, who emphatically declared in the aftermath of the contest - "We let them know where we are as defense" and how. Ware now has 102 1- 2 for his career.
Dallas, despite not offering much by way of pass protection, an eventuality that could well have seen a repeat of the hammering Romo took during that fateful winner takes all contest last January, we're pretty impressive from an offensive standpoint, due in no small part to the aforementioned Romo, who's 307 passing yards created three scores, two of which were converted by no.3 receiver Kevin Ogletree, a man who in all probability, were it not for the departure of Laurent Robinson to Jacksonville, would not have been on the field (something Giants Cornerback Corey Webster will no doubt look at with a large degree of rueful lamenture) , and therefore in no position to amass 8 receptions of 114 yards, and subsequent acquaintances with the end-zone.
The Cowboys offensive superiority wasn't confined to the aerial game, as Runningback DeMarco Murray, free from the despair inflicted by that horrendous ankle injury sustained in week fourteen of last season, interestingly against last nights opponents, proved a more than able foil for messieurs Austin, Ogletree, Witten, (despite sustaining a lacerated spleen, a mere 23 days before the start of the season), and of course, the enigmatic Dez Bryant, by chipping in with a valuable 129 yards on the ground.
However, despite the inevitable euphoria so often associated with victory in a divisional rival and current Superbowl champions back yard, a sense of prospective is needed, as with the season in it's infancy, this game should in no way be looked upon as season definer for either team, as owing to truly unpredictable nature of this game, and the many players who make it so. None more so than Romo, who may see this as one in the eye for his many critics, and rightly so, as he provided conclusive evidence that he can handle the big occasion, but there are many occasions that have to be overcome before he can fully complete the road to redemption. As for the Giants, they will look upon this result as a a stark reminder that in an ever competitive league, they can ill - afford the levels that culminated in that magnificent triumph in Indianapolis to drop, a notion fully embraced by coach Tom Caughlin - "Take a bite out of humble pie, that's basically what it is. "It brings you right down to earth"
image: © ddyates