In a new segment we call Three up and Three down, we take a look at who played well and who didn't following the Cowboys' 36-31 victory over the New York Giants on Sunday night.
Monte Kiffin. His new Tampa 2 defense created six turnovers, two sacks and all sorts of problems for quarterback Eli Manning. Kiffin didn't blitz much, instead going with four pass-rushers most of the night until the late stages of the game where he decided to send more defenders at Manning. Kiffin mixed and matched personnel along the line, moving newly signed defensive lineman Jerome Long to tackle and end. At times, Kiffin used three safeties on the field and rotated Will Allen and Barry Church in the box.
Bruce Carter. A solid night for the outside linebacker who picked up a team-high nine tackles, a sack, a tackle for loss and a quarterback hurry. While many talk about the amazing plays of middle linebacker Sean Lee, Carter is someone who can make plays sideline to sideline in the passing and the running games. Carter was a physical presence the entire night.
Jason Witten. The veteran tight end caught two touchdown passes for the first time since Dec. 12, 2010, at Philadelphia. He was 2-for-2 in the red zone and last season he was targeted just one time. With the Giants' defense designed to slow down Dez Bryant, Witten caught eight passes for 70 yards and was solid in the run game with his blocks.
The running game. The Cowboys averaged just 3.8 yards per carry. And while DeMarco Murray got 20 carries, he was given a break and Phillip Tanner fumbled the ball in the fourth quarter. The Cowboys also tried to close the game out by running the ball but couldn't seal it and were forced to punt, giving the Giants a chance to win the game at the end.
Terrance Williams. He ran the wrong route, leading to a Tony Romo interception, dropped a wide-open pass and failed to bring in a diving but tough catch over the middle. It was a difficult debut, but Williams will get better. He did have a 23-yard reception, so there's a knowledge he can make plays.
Secondary. The good news is Allen and Brandon Carr had interceptions. The bad news is Manning threw for 450 yards and three receivers, Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Rueben Randle, each had more than 100 receiving yards. The Cowboys gave up too many big plays: A 70-yard touchdown, 57-yard reception and two more plays over 20 yards. Morris Claiborne doesn't look 100 percent healthy and there appeared to be communication issues on the touchdown pass to Cruz.