Upon Further Review: Cowboys Week 1

ARLINGTON, Texas -- An review of four hot issues from the Cowboys’ 36-31 win over the Giants:

Big hustle play: In last year’s season-opening win against the Giants, Tyron Smith made a touchdown-saving tackle after an interception, and then the defense held Eli Manning and his offense to a field goal. On Sunday, DeMarco Murray tracked down safety Ryan Mundy after an interception at the Dallas 1, and once again the defense held New York to a field goal.

On first down, David Wilson was stopped for no gain. On second down George Selvie sacked Manning for a 10-yard loss. On third down Brandon Myers was tackled at the 2, setting up the field goal.

“Defense did a great job but that doesn’t happen if DeMarco doesn’t make that hustle play,” coach Jason Garrett said. “We talk about the team, the team, the team all the time. That was a team play.”

Dirty work: Dwayne Harris made his name late last season as a punt returner and valuable backup receiver. On Sunday he had two catches for 12 yards and averaged 9.5 yards on two punt returns, but it was his work on the coverage teams that stood out most. He had three special-teams tackles, stopping Giants returner Rueben Randle cold. Last year Harris had five solo special-teams tackles the entire season.

Playing from ahead: How strange was Sunday’s game? The Cowboys did not trail the entire game. They could not say that at all last year. And by at all, we mean at all. They trailed at some point in every game in 2012. The last time they did not trail in a game came on Dec. 17, 2011, at Tampa Bay when they beat the Buccaneers 31-15.

Lineup changes coming? Brian Waters was inactive, but the Cowboys want to work him in as quickly as possible. The question is where? Mackenzy Bernadeau started at right guard and left guard Ronald Leary made the first start of his career. For Waters, a Week 2 start at Kansas City, where he spent the first 11 years of his career, would seem fitting.

“We’ll see how he fits into the mix, gets himself acclimated to our system and get him ready to play again,” Garrett said. “But I thought our guys fought well tonight. We’ll talk about how the roster evolves, how the starting lineup evolves over the next couple of weeks.”