EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Any concern about a lack of a third wide receiver after Laurent Robinson's departure might have been answered in one game.
Despite the returns of Miles Austin and Dez Bryant and the game-time decision to play a battered Jason Witten, Kevin Ogletree served as Tony Romo's prime target in Wednesday's opener, emerging from a pack of third wide receiver candidates in a competition that lasted all preseason.
Ogletree led all receivers with eight catches for 114 yards, grabbing the first two touchdowns of the Cowboys' season. He had never scored a touchdown or recorded more than 50 yards in a game in his previous three years in Dallas.
Ogletree's presence wasn't only felt on his improvised 10-yard touchdown grab or his 40-yard scoring bomb. When Romo needed a clutch grab or a third-down reception, Ogletree was his target.
After the Giants scored to cut the lead to 24-17, the Cowboys faced a crucial third-and-10 with 2:11 remaining. Rather than looking immediately toward Bryant or Austin, Romo saw the matchup he craved on a slant to Ogletree, whose 13-yard reception sealed the win.
"Just doing what we practice," Ogletree said. "Trying every down, every opportunity I get, to be reliable, be accountable, be where I'm supposed to be, and make that play for my team.
Ogletree's first touchdown occurred in the red zone, as Romo rolled to his right and bought enough time for Ogletree to change his route toward the back of the end zone.
"No one's better in the world at keeping plays alive than Tony, so you've got to do that, especially down there in the red zone," Ogletree said.
Romo said most of his passes and targets were based off of what the Giants defense gave him. Ogletree's matchup tended to be the one Romo desired, including on Ogletree's second touchdown grab, getting behind the defense on the Cowboys' first drive of the second half.
The first touchdown was more creative than a pre-snap recognition, as Ogletree had to figure out where to go as the play developed. It looked like the type of connection Romo and Robinson had all last year.
"I could sense where he was going, and he made a great kind of play just to kind of sense where they were at," Romo said.
Ogletree didn't want to overstate his performance after the game, but he said he hopes the passes keep coming his way.
"Trust doesn't come with one game, or one play, but we're going to continue to work and hopefully that relationship continues," Ogletree said.