Some observations from the film room at Valley Ranch.
Romo outplays ManningThe stat line from the game for Tony Romo read 22 completions and 29 attempts for 307 yards and three touchdowns. What that line didn't tell you was his ability to change plays, avoid the rush and give his team hope when there appeared to be none. When the ball is in Romo's hand, you always have a chance for a play, ask Kevin Ogletree who was targeted 11 times and coming away with two touchdowns.
Where Romo is different than most quarterbacks is his ability to keep his eye level down the field while all things around him are breaking down. Most quarterbacks struggle with their ability to feel the rush but see what is going on down field. Both touchdown passes to Ogletree, Romo had to avoid the rush to make those throws. The quarterback on the other side of the field let the rush get to him and saw what we call in the scouting business as "ghosts". You feel things that are not there and the decisions you make are affected by them. One handled it well and the other didn't.
KO stepping up
I have been critical of Kevin Ogletree when asked of my views but I am not here to make this about me. I want to make this about Kevin Ogletree, who still does things that drives much nuts like we saw in the Miami preseason game but for the most part these last four weeks he has shown toughness and a play making ability that I was sure did not exist.
On Wednesday night at MetLife Stadium, Ogletree lived up to the promise that others held for him. You might think that his finest play was the catch on third down that sealed the game which was huge that the coach and quarterback called his number and he was able to deliver. But to me his first touchdown when he read zone coverage, sat down on the route between the linebackers, saw that Romo was in trouble and broke up the field to find space to try, extend the play and get in the end zone.
What that play showed me is that Ogletree was totally aware of his assignment to sit down in the zone but more importantly get open when his quarterback was in trouble. For three years this front office has been willing to be more patient than I was. Kevin Ogletree has fifteen more opportunities to prove he was worth the wait.
Collected effort on defense
When I studied the defensive side of the ball, it was really difficult for me to single out one player to write about here because of the collective effort of the unit was outstanding. I do want to focus on one group and that is the linebackers. In this Rob Ryan scheme if the defensive line is doing their jobs, these linebackers can make a ton of tackles.
This happened to be the case Wednesday night with four of the top five tacklers on the defense were the linebackers. Sean Lee and DeMarcus Ware were all over the field causing a fumble and getting sacks. Anthony Spencer couldn't have played better technique on the goal line stand that held the Giants to a field goal which brings me to Bruce Carter.
I believed that going into this training camp that there were some serious questions about whether Carter could win this job over veteran Dan Connor but he was steady throughout camp. I had questions about Carter's ability to read the scheme quickly enough than react and when you play next to Lee, it's really noticeable but Carter did a really nice job of reading his keys, avoiding blocks and getting to the ball. The Giants offensive line really struggled with the speed of both Lee and Carter and it reflected in the final outcome.