Giants Crash Cowboys' Party: Win Ruins Home Opener in Dallas

Hot Stove New YorkSenior Writer ISeptember 21, 2009

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 20:  Wide receiver Steve Smith #12 of the New York Giants dives for a touchdown against Gerald Sensabaugh #43 of the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on September 20, 2009 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Jerry Jones threw a $1.15 billion party last night, and everybody was there—John Madden, Pat Summerall, LeBron James, one Hall of Fame Cowboy after another, as well as former President George W. Bush—but unfortunately for Dallas, so were the Giants.

Jones’ modern-day Roman Coliseum landed from outer space just in time for the game, giant scoreboard and all (and from the view from space, it’s shaped exactly like Jones’ ego), and the Cowboys probably want a do-over (the biggest disappointment of the night was nobody hitting the three-mile-long JumboTron).

An impressive 105,121 fans showed up for the game, and they were loud. But they’re still not as loud as my daughter when she throws one of her tantrums. The most tremendous feat of the evening: Fitting Madden and that scoreboard into one building.

For the Giants, the game was beginning to look like last week’s season opener—red zone problems, rushing problems, a defensive touchdown, fancy footwork by Mario Manningham and another receiver leaving the game due to injury (Domenik Hixon).

But this one was an entertaining, if not well-played, game that went back and forth until the last second. Tony Romo did everything he could to hand the game to the Giants, while the Giants rushing defense did the same for the Cowboys. “Here, you guys win the game.” “No, after you. We insist.”

Who would have thought that Manningham and Steve Smith would be Big Blue’s biggest offensive forces, while Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw struggle? Manningham had the game of his life (10 catches, 150 yards, one touchdown), while Smith continues to impress (10 catches, 134 yards, one touchdown). It looks like the Giants may have found the game-changing receivers they were looking for.

Manningham was avoiding tackles all night long, and hauled in a touchdown reception right before halftime and Smith completely fooled his man to get wide open on his touchdown.

The most glaring difference between the Cowboys and Giants was at the quarterback position.

Romo was flat-out terrible with the bright lights of the stadium-opening spectacle shining on him, while Eli Manning came through in the clutch, and did his usual Mr. Unflappable routine the last two minutes of the game. He was 25-for-38, throwing for 330 yards, with two TD’s and no picks.

The only stats that matter for Romo are the three interceptions he threw, all of which led to Giants touchdowns. And, once again, the Giants needed Manning to come through, because Jacobs and Bradshaw had subpar games again. What’s going on there?

The Giants have been through everything the last few years, so last-minute scoring drives, last-second field goals or playing in hostile environments won’t rattle them at all.

They’re now 2-0 (with both wins coming against division rivals), but the injuries are piling up (Flozell Adams did a nice Karate Kid impression on Justin Tuck), the red zone issues are going to come back to haunt them if they don’t fix that problem, the ground game is surprisingly ineffective so far this year, the defense let up 900 rushing yards last night and didn’t have any sacks, so the team has a lot to work on.

But it’s better to have to work on those issues when you’re 2-0 than 0-2.