Win Over Giants Showed These Are Not Your 2011 Cowboys.

The 2012 Dallas Cowboys may have some familiar names and faces on the team as last year. Even the same head coach but if you watched the win against the Giants Wednesday night, you know this team is different. At times during the game, I couldn’t help but think “here we go again” and “same old Cowboys” however the 2012 Cowboys didn’t fall into the same pitfalls as last year’s team.

In 3 key moments of the game, the 2012 Cowboys showed they are not the same old Cowboys as last year.

1. Goal Line Stand: In the 2nd quarter Tony Romo threw an interception that was returned down to the Cowboys 1 yard line. The 2011 Cowboys defense would have come on the field with their heads down and an attitude of “here we go again” and then allowed a TD with not so much as laying a hand on the RB. VIDEO (Giants game last year Dallas defense allowing easy TD.) But not this year and not this night.

The 2012 Cowboys defense held the Giants for three downs forcing them to settle for a FG. It was a great goal line stand that kept momentum from getting away from them. The defense played with determination and defended their goal line like it was their house!

21st and 30: After a series of ridiculous offensive line penalties on Dallas, they faced an impossible 1st and 30. Romo threw a 34 yard TD pass to Miles Austin who made a nice catch and took it in for a score.

The Cowboys had too many penalties on their offensive line last year as well, but what was different this time is I saw a team that didn’t get their heads down, point fingers, and feel sorry for themselves. This team put the mistakes behind them quickly and got a TD.

The penalties need to get cleaned up for sure but I was impressed with how the 2012 Cowboys are quick to move on to the next play. It’s best in football and in life to not dwell on the last play and just move on to the next one.  It showed maturity and character.

3. Offense gets 1st down late in the game: With a little more than 2 minutes left in the game, the Cowboys had the ball with a 7 point lead over the Giants. After a nice run by Murray, Dallas got yet another penalty and faced a third and long. Romo made a nice throw to hit Ogletree on a slant getting a first down to seal the deal and a Cowboys win.

If there is one thing the 2011 Cowboys did too often, it was blow a 4th quarter lead. If you watched the Cowboys last year, you know how it played out like a bad movie. They wouldn’t have gotten that first down and then would have punt the ball to the Giants offering Eli Manning another opportunity to guide his team in for a winning score. And you just know last year’s defense would not likely have stopped Eli either. This is where the 2011 team folds up like a cheap lawn chair.

But the 2012 Cowboys didn’t put their defense in that tough spot. They took care of business and ran the clock out.

After a disappointing finish to the 2011 season, Coach Jason Garrett spoke of character and finishing games the right way. Personnel changes were made and a demanding off season followed by a tough preseason were put in place. In the Giants victory the Cowboys displayed a fight and character that I think was absent last year.