Prior to the game, however, the talk was bout how the Cowboys new-look defense would perform against the former 2-time Super Bowl champions. Boy did the defense perform.
All preseason the Cowboys defensive staff, headed by defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and Rod Marinelli, preached that they needed to force turnovers, and turnovers they forced. In fact, on just the first play of the game defensive end DeMarcus Ware intercepted Manning’s first pass.
It didn’t take long after that for the Cowboys to get turnover No.2. On just the sixth play from scrimmage for the Giants, Dallas safety Barry Church came up and stripped the ball away from David Wilson leading to a recovery by George Selvie, who also later registered a sack of Manning.
On the Giants third series, Manning was intercepted again by the Cowboys new-look defense. Then on the Giants’ first series in the second half Wilson coughed the ball up again thanks to Nick Hayden stripping the ball out; the fumble was recovered and returned for a touchdown by Church. The Cowboys then sealed the deal, in the fourth quarter, with a pick-6 by cornerback Brandon Carr.
While the defense did give up four touchdowns to Manning, they played much better than anyone could have expected. The defense finished the day with three sacks, three tackles for loss, six passes deflected, five quarterback hits and two defensive touchdowns.
That is why I’m awarding my Week 1 Game Ball to the Cowboys defense.