Opening Night Studs and Duds

by | September 5, 2012 at 11:58 PM | NFL, Sports

By Jordan Raanan, Xfinity Sports NFL Columnist

It was almost a unanimous Twitter vote. Aside from a few votes for Tony Romo and Giants rookie running back David Wilson, wide receivers Kevin Olgetree and Victor Cruz stole the show … for good and bad.

The People’s Stud
Kevin Ogletree – The Cowboys have Dez Bryant, Miles Austin and Jason Witten. Yet it was Ogletree, the former undrafted wide receiver out of Virginia, who was Romo’s favorite target in Dallas’ 24-17 season-opening win at the Meadowlands. Ogletree was targeted 11 times, more than double any other Dallas receiver. He caught eight passes for 114 yards and 2 TDs. But his biggest play may have been on 3rd-and-10 when he caught a slant for a first down with just over two minutes remaining that put the game away. No doubt it was a career day for Ogletree, who scored two more touchdowns on Wednesday night than he did in his first three seasons in the NFL.

Raanan’s Stud
Rob Ryan – The Cowboys defense coordinator mixed his coverages perfectly, dropping eight in coverage on some occasions and bringing the house on others. Dallas allowed just 269 total net yards in the contest. Their defense, with DeMarcus Ware (two sacks) and strong cornerback play, looked greatly improved.

The People’s Dud
Victor Cruz - It was a dreadful night for the Giants wide receiver. Just dreadful. As bad as I’ve seen a wide receiver play in years. Three drops, two penalties and a key missed block late in the game on a bubble screen. Cruz finished with six catches on 11 targets for 58 yards, and would have put up huge numbers if not for the drops. Maybe, just maybe, he was anointed the next superstar a bit too soon after one incredible season? The jury is still out.

Raanan’s Dud
Giants Offensive Line – It was the double whammy for the Giants’ big boys. New York couldn’t run the ball most of the game and Eli Manning was under constant pressure. Not what the Giants wanted to see after finishing last in the NFL in rushing in 2011. New York had 82 yards rushing in the opener, with 33 coming on an Ahmad Bradshaw carry late in the fourth quarter with Dallas protecting against the pass. That means on the Giants’ other 18 carries, they rushed for 49 yards. That’s a paltry 2.7 yards per carry. Yuck. Manning was also sacked three times and constantly under heavy pressure.

Jordan Raanan has covered the NFL since 2005. Follow him on Twitter @JordanRaanan, Facebook or email him at

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.