The Dallas Cowboys opened the NFL season with a win over the New York Giants last night and despite what the stats say, Jason Witten lead the team to the victory. I know the defense played well and Tony Romo was very good, minus the one awful throw, but it was Witten who propelled the Cowboys with his toughness.
In the off-season it was Jason Witten saying the time for talk is over; the Cowboys needed to show it on the field. Yesterday, Witten backed up his words by just going out there and playing.
We all know how tough Witten is, we’ve seen him running around without a helmet and playing through a broken jaw but he showed how much of a leader he was by suiting up and catching two passes for 10 yards. It isn’t about the stats though, Witten set the tone for the entire night by playing with a painful spleen injury after being cleared by doctors earlier in the day. We all figured if he was going to be cleared, he was going to play and that’s exactly what happened.
Witten and the Cowboys seemed to play with more toughness and grit last night than we have seen in recent years. Tony Romo threw a bad interception but came right back to touchdowns on two of the next three possessions. Left tackle Tyron Smith hustled down field to make a touchdown saving tackle on the interception and the Cowboys defense held the Giants to a field goal.
The Cowboys overcame the emotion of opening night against the Super Bowl champions, a team they have struggled to beat in the past few years. They fought back against a failed fourth and 1, losing their starting center after their first possession and being down 3-0.
They fought back and kept believing in their running game which looked average in the first half but the Cowboys and DeMarco Murray kept battling and finally got loose for a big 48-yard gain when it appeared he had nowhere to run.
We have been fighting over who the Cowboys third receiver was going to be? Kevin Ogletree fought hard to be that guy in training camp and he looked every bit like a legitimate receiver last night with 114 yards and two touchdowns.
All of these things really don’t seem like much, but little issues like these have done the Cowboys in recently. Not last night. The team wouldn’t allow it. How could they when Jason Witten set the tone for all of them by playing.
These Cowboys had both physical and mental toughness last night, which has not been one of their strengths lately. Jason Garrett has said many times how he wants a smart, physical football team. He’s been striving for that over the past year and a half.
Last night we saw what Jason Garrett has been building. Yes it was only one game, but you have to start somewhere. We needed to see some toughness from the Cowboys and that’s what we got last night.
And it started with Jason Witten.
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