Giants 33, Cowboys 31

Well, that kept me up way past bedtime– my 9:15 lecture is going to be fantastic— but at least my Giants pulled out the win at the end. I couldn’t think of a better way to open the Cowboys’ new stadium…

And really, there’s no better metaphor for the Cowboys in the Jerry Jones era than that gigantic video screen: hugely flashy, ridiculously expensive, and liable to interfere with the playing of the game at any moment. If Jerry was setting out to build a scale model of his own ego, he nailed it.

While the end result was good, from the perspective of a Giants fan, this still left plenty to be desired. Five times they drove the ball inside the 20, and ended up with four field goals and a missed FG attempt. That’s not good. Had Tony Romo not gone colorblind, the Giants would’ve lost this by a big margin. That has to improve.

On the other hand, though, they moved the ball pretty well in the passing game. The Cowboys made a huge effort to stop up the running game, and force Eli Manning and the largely unknown receiving corps beat them, and they came up big. I was never convinced that the lack of a well know prima donna wide receiver was a fatal weakness, despite the best efforts of every NFL analyst in the world, and the big games from Steve Smith and Mario Manningham will hopefully quiet that talk down a bit.

Of course, as good as Manningham and Smith were, they pretty much had to be, as every other receiver on the Giants seems to be hurt. Domenik Hixon went down early in this one, joining Hakeem Nicks. Not to mention the numerous injuries on the defense– the Cowboys were about one Flozell Adams leg-whip away from playing 11-on-10 when they had the ball. I really hope they get some of these guys back soon.

The running game did basically nothing in this one– 97 yards on 26 carries– and Eli Manning was pretty clutch. I don’t believe he was sacked at all, and he had a couple of wild scrambles to get out of trouble. On the game-winning drive, he looked like he was completely in control, and moved them right down the field to set up the winning kick. Nice to see him playing well.

As for the broadcast: I don’t really care how old John Madden is, he has to be better than Cris Collinsworth. He’s another of these guys who wildly oversells every routine play, and blasts guys for failing to do spectacular things. My personal favorite was a second-half drive where he lambasted Eli Manning for failing to see that a collision in the defensive secondary had sprung two receivers wide open. The collision happened a full second after Manning had dumped the ball off short to avoid the rush. Ace analysis, there– Manning’s precognitive senses are clearly underdeveloped.

Next time the Giants get a Sunday game, I’m muting the sound and listening to the radio call.

Anyway, as ugly as it was at times, the Giants move to 2-0, with both wins over divisional opponents. That’s a good start to any season. Their next few games are against teams they really ought to beat– Tampa Bay, the Chiefs, and the Raiders– but they’re pretty banged up. After that, they get the Saints, who thus far look like the 2007 Patriots, hanging 48 on the Eagles yesterday.