Jason Witten's streak of seven straight Pro Bowls came to an end last night when rosters were announced. While the Cowboys tight end doesn't need any extra motivation given what's at stake on Sunday night, he will again be a major focus of the Giants defense.
Witten, who is 127 yards shy of 1,000 for the season, was held to three catches for just 12 yards during the first meeting of the division rivals. The Giants found success by mixing it up on the eight-year vet.
"You have to do that," said safety Deon Grant, a 12-year veteran himself. "He's a great tight end. He's not a good one, he's a great tight end. So you have to try and do your best as far as keeping him off balance. I don't want to give it away so he can prepare, you've just got to do a great job as far as keeping him off balance – zone him sometimes, play man with him, be physical with him sometimes, sometimes finesse him to set him up. You just really have to switch it up."
"He's a smart player," said Michael Boley, who had five tackles in the first Dallas game. "He knows how to get open. He'll find the holes in the defense in the zone, different things that he does when facing man to man coverage, he's pretty good at finding those holes."
Despite taking away a large chunk of the Cowboys' offense, Tony Romo went elsewhere that night as he threw for 321 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Linebacker Jacquian Williams, making his second career start at the time, keyed on Witten at certain times. The rookie was also aggressive in the run game and was second on the team (behind Jason Pierre-Paul) with seven tackles in Dallas.
However, his low point came on an illegal contact penalty that led to Laurent Robinson's go-ahead touchdown reception in the second quarter.
"I think personally I started off well," Williams said. "I think I made some good plays, but there were some things I could work on. [Watching the film] reminds me of some of the things I need to work on better this week, like my instinct. I see a lot of things, but I don't let my instinct take over. I'm starting to get to that. Hopefully that will be something that changes."
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