halftime, Witten had five catches for 78 yards and a beauty of a 12-yard touchdown catch.
"Jason did a great job of calling the plays," Witten said.
But when you ask Garrett, the first-year offensive coordinator said the offensive line gave Romo time to find his second receiver most of the time and that Romo has this knack for finding his tight end.
So trailing 17-16 at halftime, the Giants decided they couldn't just let Witten run free. So they tried another tactic. They rolled a safety his way. They also started playing five guys on the line of scrimmage, hoping the pressure would thwart the Cowboys' passing attack. And they started bringing the safety into the box. Ha! Six plays and 78 yards later, Romo had Owens in the end zone with a 22-yard reception against the Giants' single-safety coverage.
So much for that.
"We have some explosive players, no question," said Garrett, as usual deflecting any credit. "Our job is to give them opportunities. Guys made a lot of big plays for us."
Well, it's a darn good thing, too, because the debut of the Phillips 3-4 was frightening. The Cowboys were nicked for 35 points. Only New Orleans (42) scored more than that last year against the Cowboys. The Giants gained 438 total yards. Only the Saints (536) gained more against the Cowboys last year.
Want to continue?
The Giants threw for 314 yards. Only New Orleans (377) and Philadelphia (331) threw for more last year. Eli Manning, the Giants quarterback everyone seems to dog, threw for 312 yards, the fourth-highest total in his career and his four touchdown passes tying his career high. And if all that were not enough, the Giants rushed for more than 100 yards (124) a third consecutive time against the Cowboys.
A blip on the radar screen? Or a dark sign of things to come?
Well, Newman's absence does create a void, although his replacement, Jacques Reeves did have his moments, breaking up a potential touchdown throw to Plaxico Burress in the end zone and then picking off a Manning pass when Burress slipped to the ground coming out of a cut.
But the Giants exploited the Cowboys' secondary, just as many teams did last year, figuring out how to get the safeties in coverage no matter how hard Phillips tried to hide that deficiency. Guarantee you the Cowboys will see a steady diet of three-receivers sets, and heaven help them if another opponent has a tight end as versatile as Jeremy Shockey, who can line up in the slot to form a three-receiver set.
That causes the Cowboys to either go to their dime defense, which they really don't want to since the threat of the run still exists, or have to use a safety in single coverage, which leaves the other guy (Roy Williams) having to play single-safety over the top. Not good. In fact, still not good, no matter Ken Hamlin's presence.
Funny thing is, and you might remember this from earlier in the summer, but the edict stills stands:
No matter how unfair this might be, this Cowboys team, if the first game verifies this earlier thought, will be a good as Tony Romo is this season.
For starters, Romo was darn good, and maybe never better, throwing for four touchdowns and running for one himself. Problem is, he will be hard-pressed to play at this level over 16 games.
Trouble is, the Cowboys will be hard-pressed to score 40 points every week, which if you remember was the problem down the stretch last year when opponents averaged 30.4 points in the final five games. So if you add these 35 points to that total, that means in the past six regular-season games the Cowboys have given up an average of 32.1 points a game.
Yeah, just score baby.