Were you surprised how aggressive Jason Garrett and Bill Callahan were on final drive?
I believe this is what coaching is all about. There have been opportunities in the past where Garrett might have mismanaged this game with the playing-calling, but he stuck with his playmakers when he needed them the most, and they were able to deliver. Good or bad, throwing the ball in Dez Bryant's direction gives you the best chance to make plays.
I felt going into this game that if the Cowboys could protect up front – and on that last drive they were able to do so – that working against the Giants cornerbacks would prove worthwhile. Give the coaches credit, especially the head coach, for knowing the situation that his offense was in and constructing a drive that not only chewed up the clock, but also got the game-winning points. Not sitting on the ball that final drive won them this game.
How bad did the defense miss Sean Lee in handling the Giants running game?
During the Giants' four-game winning streak, running the ball and protecting Eli Manning from mistakes was the key to their success. Coming into this game without Sean Lee, I knew that this Cowboys defense was going to have its hands full, and it was no surprise that they struggled playing the run without him.
What Lee gives you that Ernie Sims doesn't is that stout point-of-attack player. The Giants were not interested in running the ball on the outside, but right inside the tackles, and when they are able to lock their men up, their backs are physical enough to make you have to get tackles 4 and 5 yards down the field.
I am sure there will be plenty of times when studying the game tape on the way home where I'll see Sims and Bruce Carter stuck on blocks, along with some of the defensive linemen. Those 10- to 15-yard runs that the Giants had are held to 4- and 5-yard gains with Lee in the lineup. You just don't replace that type of player, one who has the ability to make plays right now.
How do you think the matchup between Tyron Smith and Jason Pierre-Paul went? [embedded_ad]
The Scout's Eye is really looking forward to seeing how that matchup looked on tape, but from my seat in the press box, I thought that Smith was outstanding. I knew that Cullen Jenkins was going to be a nightmare inside, but I really worried about the middle of the pocket getting pushed by Pierre-Paul off the edge.
I heard nothing but excuses about how in the first meeting that Pierre-Paul was not in shape after missing all of training camp, and Smith dominated him then. I believe when we go through this game, we will see that both in the running game and when the Cowboys had to throw the ball that Smith was up to the challenge.
I did see where there were times when the ball was being run, and it was to Smith's side, Pierre-Paul was nowhere to be found. The only real knock on Smith was on the final drive with the false-start penalty when they faced a third-and-2, but the offense was able to overcome that and work the ball into field-goal range. It's games like these that get you noticed as an offensive tackle when you can take out an elite pass-rusher, and that's exactly what Smith did.