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Tony Romo's great night defined by three plays

Many of Tony Romo's best plays on opening night were improvised, like the first touchdown toss of the night to Kevin Ogletree. That's what Romo does.

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What set Romo apart -- and gave the Dallas Cowboys a huge 24-17 road victory -- were the plays he made that reminded us of the New York Giants' Eli Manning. On a night where Romo received so-so pass protection, he made the teammates around him better. He made plays before the snap.

Not exactly known for the mental part of his game, Romo showed great maturity. Let's start with a 16-yard pickup to Dez Bryant early in the third quarter. Romo saw the blitz coming, changed the play at the line of scrimmage, and got rid of the ball. He didn't have much time to throw it. He didn't need to.

Two players later, Romo saw the Giants coming again. He changed the play. Giants cornerback Corey Webster knew pressure was coming and saw Romo check the play, so Webster expected a quick throw. He bit hard on a double move by Kevin Ogletree, who got wide open for a 40-yard touchdown.

It was a great play that combined Romo's smarts and movement skills. Osi Umenyiora got to Romo quickly on the play; it was one of the few times Umenyiora showed up on tape all night. Romo quickly shifted outside to open up a throwing lane and delivered the ball after Umenyiora changed directions and pushed him. The throw was right on the money.

Romo threw a nasty interception early in the game, but the Giants didn't stop Dallas once in the last 35 minutes. The dagger Wednesday night was a 34-yard touchdown to Miles Austin. Once again, Romo changed the play and let Austin know what he wanted at the line of scrimmage via hand signals. Austin did not seem to be at 100 percent but Romo was smart to go to him when he was covered by Justin Tryon. Romo mercilessly picked on Tryon after the Giants secondary was injured past its breaking point.

Picking on an opponent's flaw: Yet another veteran move. It was only one game, but Mr. Hanzus is feeling pretty good about his MVP pick.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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