Halftime adjustments: Cowboys 7, Giants 3

September, 5, 2012
9/05/12
9:13
PM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- After one half, the Cowboys lead 7-3.

We give you thoughts and first-half adjustments:

* The Cowboys were slow in getting their playmakers the ball in the first half. Kevin Ogletree led the passing attack with five receptions for 47 yards and the only touchdown. But when the Cowboys were able to involve their two main playmakers, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten, things went well. Witten, who is recovering from a spleen injury, had just one catch for 3 yards, but it was for a first down. Bryant played well, beating press coverage on several plays. He finished with three catches for 69 yards including a nifty 38-yard reception. When pressed, Bryant can push off a defender, which was the case on Corey Webster when he made the longest reception of the half.

* Pressure must continue. DeMarcus Ware has two sacks. Anthony Spencer, Gerald Sensabaugh and Jason Hatcher all have one quarterback pressure. Eli Manning likes to get rid of the ball quickly, normally after three steps, but he's held it longer tonight thanks to the tight coverage by the linebackers, who are backing up deeper, and the corners who are maintaining close coverage to the receivers. When Manning has to wait, he gets hit -- twice by Ware. But other times he's been hurt by dropped passes. Martellus Bennett and Victor Cruz had wide-open drops. If the Cowboys are going to maintain their lead, pressure on Manning should help, especially when there's a safety blitz.

* Stop the penalties. Tackles Doug Free and Tyron Smith were called for three false start penalties in the first half. The Cowboys played with three new offensive linemen when center Phil Costa went out and weren't penalized once. In a close game, the Cowboys can't afford first-and-long or second-and-long because of mistakes on the offensive line. It's one thing to have a physical mistake when someone fails to hold off a defender, but it's another when you mess up the snap count.
Calvin Watkins covers the Houston Rockets and the NBA for ESPN.com. He joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers as well as colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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