Romo outplayed Manning. The defense held. They converted the third down that kept the fourth-quarter drive alive and Manning on the sideline. Smith, beaten up all night by Jason Pierre-Paul and those false-start whistles, made the game’s critical goal-line tackle. They found a way. All of the things the Cowboys couldn’t do in last year’s two critical late-season games against the Giants, they did Wednesday night. And while that doesn’t mean they’re in the clear or that the Giants are toast or that the division race is decided, what it does mean is that maybe the 2012 Cowboys are going to be a little tougher to knock out than the 2011 Cowboys were. And if their first game did anything to prove that — especially to themselves — then it was a very important victory indeed.