Kevin Ogletree catches his first of two TD passes.
Now that the dust has settled from the Dallas Cowboys 24-17 upset win over the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants, let’s take a look at some of the heroes and goats from the Cowboys' Week 1 win.
After the game was over, most everyone was talking about how Dallas’ victory was powered by some unexpected names and the ability to overcome their own mistakes.
Following are some of the players, plays and issues that have earned this week's good, bad and ugly awards.
Kevin Ogletree scores his second TD against the Giants.
Nobody could have predicted that the Cowboys best wide receiver in the season opener would be the relatively unknown No. 3 receiver, Kevin Ogletree.
One of the big questions this offseason for the Cowboys centered around who would wind up as the team’s third receiver. Ogletree answered that question Wednesday night by posting career single-game bests in yards (114), receptions (eight) and touchdowns (two) which included a 40-yard bomb on a play where Ogletree used a perfect double move on the Giants Corey Webster to get wide open.
His performance will bring the Cowboys great comfort in their decision to allow last season’s No. 3 receiver, Laurent Robinson, to leave via free agency.
DeMarco Murray runs away from the Giants defense.
The Cowboys have been waiting for a full-time running back since Emmitt Smith hung up his cleats. In the season opener, DeMarco Murray showed that he can be depended upon to pick up the tough hard yards. They ran him early and often and although it was a rough start for him in the first half, his banging into defenders and finishing off runs paid off in the second half.
Murray finished the night with 131 yards on 20 carries and added another nine yards on two receptions. Late in the third quarter, Murray broke two tackles in the back field before getting to the outside and sprinting downfield for a 48-yard gain. He averaged an impressive 6.6 yards per carry, but even without the huge run, Murray would have averaged 4.4 yards per rush attempt.
Tony Romo scrambles out of the pocket.
Doug Free playing right tackle this season.
You can look at the offensive line play in one of two ways. Either they performed good enough to get the job done or they were just plain awful.
The offensive line had protection problems for most of the night and were penalized seven times as a unit. Often quarterback Tony Romo had to bail them out with his elusive scrambling ability. Even though they only allowed two sacks of Romo, Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul was constantly in the back field, hurried Romo on six occasions and dropped running back DeMarco Murray for a three-yard loss in the second quarter.
This unit is young and they lack cohesion. It was the first game all five players lined up together. To make matters worse, center Phil Costa left the game early in the first quarter with a back injury forcing the Cowboys to insert Ryan Cook into the game. Cook had only been on the roster for five days, after he was acquired via trade with the Miami Dolphins, but outside of a couple errant snaps, he performed well under the circumstances.
This unit will have to gel quickly if the Cowboys are to have a successful offense this season.
Replacement officials discuss call during Cowboys vs Giants game.
Replacement officials or not, the Cowboys are still committing way too many penalties. Over the past several season, the Cowboys have been one of the most penalized teams in the NFL; in the season opener, that stat was no different. The team was penalized thirteen times for 86 yards.
The offensive line was called for five false start penalties, two offensive holding calls and quarterback Tony Romo was flagged for delay of game, not once but twice. These penalties stalled several offensive drives and kept the Giants in the game.
The Cowboys were able to overcome these mental errors to win the game. Still it got a little uncertain near the end. On the game’s final drive, Jason Witten was called for offensive holding, nullifying a DeMarco Murray two-yard first-down run.
Fortunately, on the ensuing 3rd-and-ten play, Romo was able to complete a 13-yard pass to Kevin Ogletree to pick up the first down and the Cowboys were able to run out the clock.
If Dallas wants to make this a successful season and be there at the end, they will have to clean up these costly penalties.