Thursday, September 6, 2012
Dallas D responds to adversity, stuffs Giants on goal line
By Tim MacMahon
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Dallas defense didn't let bad get worse, making the statement that the Cowboys can't be bullied this year.
A touchdown seemed like a sure thing after New York linebacker Michael Boley intercepted Tony Romo and was a Tyron Smith horse-collar tackle away from scoring early in the second quarter. The Giants got the ball at the 1-yard line -- and ended up going backwards.
Cowboys LB Sean Lee on the defense building consistency, the goal-line stand in the first half, Jason Witten's toughness and more.
The Dallas defense saw opportunity with the worst possible field position. It gave them a chance to show a kind of resolve that had been missing in the last couple of seasons.
"What are you going to do in this adverse time?" outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware said. "We just picked it up on defense. They only got three points instead of getting a touchdown."
Outside linebacker Anthony Spencer started the series by dropping Ahmad Bradshaw for a 2-yard loss. Bradshaw was one-on-one against Spencer in space on the run off the right end, but Spencer didn't let him turn the corner.
Defensive end Marcus Spears, nose tackle Josh Brent and inside linebacker Sean Lee each got great penetration on second down, stuffing Bradshaw for a 1-yard loss on a run off left tackle.
On third-and-goal from the 4, quarterback Eli Manning tried to hit receiver Victor Cruz on a crossing route at the goal line. Nickel corner Orlando Scandrick blanketed Cruz, breaking up the pass. Fans at MetLife Stadium howled for a pass interference call, but no flags flew.
"The goal-line stand was huge for us," Lee said. "That’s that whole demeanor that coach (Jason) Garrett is talking about. No matter what the situation is, we’re going to go out, we’re going to play hard and leave our chips out there. That’s what we did tonight and we had success because of it."