Tuesday Morning Running Back, Week Two: Cowboys Christen New Home

Dan PieroniCorrespondent ISeptember 22, 2009

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 20:  An American flag on the field before a game between the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on September 20, 2009 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

$1.15 billion can sure build a state-of-the-art football facility.

Proof of that was on display on Sunday evening when the Cowboys opened their brand new football haven with a regular season game for the ages.

Even before the game one couldn't help but get caught up in the sheer grandeur of Cowboys Stadium.

Massive doesn't even begin to describe the facility. It can seat 75,000 people comfortably, with room for another 30,000 to view the game from a standing room section.

It is packed with enough video boards and electronics to make a Sony executive blush.

Best of all, it's home to America's team, and perhaps it would inspire them to finally return to the glory days of Cowboys football.

After night one, the team is still a work in progress.

The flashy Dallas offensive unit sputtered as QB Tony Romo threw three interceptions and compiled a passer rating of 29.6. And the Giants' offense, led by wideouts Mario Manningham and Steve Smith, spoiled opening night with a 33-31 victory.

However, the final score is not as misleading as one would think, given the poor play of the Dallas offense. There were eight lead changes in the game, and no team was ahead by more than six points at any time.

It also went right down to the wire, as Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes calmly nailed a 37-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Giants to the win after his first attempt was nullified by a late timeout call from Cowboys coach Wade Phillips.

All in all, it was a fine debut for a billion-dollar stadium, and a game that should be remembered for years to come.

Elsewhere in week two:

• The Chiefs/Raiders was ugly all-around. An ugly debut for Matt Cassel, and an ugly 7-for-24 completion rate by JaMarcus Russell. But hey, at least Darren McFaddens' power running got the Raiders a win!

• If you were lucky enough to draft the Titans Chris Johnson, give yourself a pat on the back. He gained 284 all-purpose yards despite the fact his team lost to the Texans.

• If there's any consolation for the Rams, at least they broke their streak of 15 possessions without a touchdown. At least the Cardinals are still playing for something meaningful at the moment.

• An extra pat on the back for you fantasy owners that were stupid enough to pick the Bengals as your No. 1 defense. They recorded seven sacks, including five solo by Antwan Odom, in a win versus the Packers. At least I won't be sneering at you this week.

• Hypothetical question of the week: The Packers celebrated their 90th anniversary on Sunday. If he were retired, do you think Brett Favre would have been invited to the festivities?

• Just when you thought Kurt Warner would spend his days reminiscing about his glory days in the NFL and gabbing about God, he completes 92 percent of his passes in the Cardinals win at Jacksonville. 

• Brett Favre told the media after the Vikings victory over the Lions that his experience with the team thus far as "been fun." It should be fun when you play with a running back as gifted as Adrian Peterson.

• The Saints scored another 48 points on Sunday. Dare I compare them to the 2007 Patriots in terms of production?

• The Falcons are now 9-1 at home under Mike Smith. This is very surprising considering not much was expected of them at this time a year ago.

• The Jets didn't embarrass the Patriots like Kerry Rhodes said they would, but the Patriots embarrassed themselves in that game. Sloppy passes by Tom Brady as well as numerous penalties and a lack of consistent rhythm on offense cost the Pats the game.

Rex Ryan deserves to be complimented on his defensive schemes. The constant stream of blitzes confused the Patriots and helped to quell any sort of momentum they got.

• I'm not surprised that Phillip Rivers had a career day against the Ravens. After all, LaDainian Tomlinson was out, and the Chargers have a mediocre running attack without him.

What does surprise me however is Rivers' inability to run the two-minute offense in the waning stages of the game. That's why they lost. 

• Niners running back Frank Gore rushed for 207 yards against the Seahawks. Surprisingly, that's not his career high. The team against which he achieved his career best mark was also the Seahawks. That leads me to wonder how good he'd be if he played Seattle in every game?

• Speaking of surprises, the Broncos have only given up 13 points on defense through two games. And you thought their offense was going to be their selling point.

• While it's true that Jay Cutler didn't throw a pick, and may have found a new favorite target in Johnny Knox, Bears fans should really thank Steelers kicker Jeff Reed who missed two clutch field goals and gave Chicago the victory.

• For all the glitz the Dolphins had last night in rolling out the red carpet to introduce the new owner and several celebrity minority owners, you'd think they'd play well.

Ball control wasn't a problem, but their lack of delivering the knockout punch gave Peyton Manning a chance to win. Predictably, Manning's late touchdown pass to Pierre Garcon sealed the fish's fate.

• Have a great rest of the week, and I'll talk to you next Tuesday.