The Dallas Cowboys had a date with a bitter divisional foe in the New York Giants on Sunday. Let’s see what we learned from this hard-hitting matchup.
The Dallas Cowboys were able to put on a show at AT&T stadium as they took care of business at home. Eli Manning’s face ended up as a meme and the New York Giants ended up taking a loss.
The Giants were a tough matchup on paper and after a lackluster Week One performance, there were a lot of questions surrounding the play calling on the Cowboys sideline. Needless to say, winning cures all and that is exactly what Dallas did on Sunday.
Offense identity finally found?
The game was your typical Cowboys-Giants matchup, but the way that Dallas won stood out tremendously. The first plays of the game were explosive and fairly unusual in terms of the Cowboys typical play calling.
A fake handoff to Ezekiel Elliott followed by a slant pass to Allen Hurns showed that the Cowboys learned quite a bit from their Week One encounter with the Carolina Panthers, specifically to stay ahead of the chains.
Dak Prescott connected with a deep ball to Tavon Austin reminiscent of a Patrick Mahomes deep pass to Tyreek Hill and kicked things off with a bang. Austin (whose speed has been talked about all summer) finally got showcase the traits that make him special as the Dallas Cowboys might have just found the perfect role for him.
That 64-yard touchdown set the tone for where this Cowboys offense may be heading. Another thing we saw more of this week was Prescott actually running the football which gave the Giants defense all sorts of problems.
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One issue that did arise, was the fact that Prescott did miss a few open receivers and that did leave some points on the board. He has to get better but seems to be learning from his mistakes. Interestingly enough this is the second week Elliott has not really been the focal point of the offense, however, he has continued to make a big impact.
The Dallas Cowboys also were particularly efficient on defense as they looked to confuse and fluster the Giants early and often. The Cowboys also did not buy into keeping a specific cornerback on Giants star wide receiver, Odell Beckham, instead they just kept their cornerbacks in favorable situations.
Rod Marinelli and Kris Richard knew that Odell was not going to be shut down completely but if they could limit his ability to make game-breaking plays, then they could put their offense in favorable situations. The Cowboys recorded six sacks in this bitter divisional contest which is quite possibly one of the most exciting aspects of this football team.
The Giants offensive line was as ineffective as ever and that played directly into the hands of the Cowboys. The Giants line at times was triple teaming DeMarcus Lawrence which helped the Cowboys other pass rushers succeed at getting to Eli Manning.
The Cowboys were using a linebacker stunt that the Giants offensive line simply could not handle especially after New York’s starting center, Jon Halapio, went down with a season-ending injury.
It is weirdly poetic in a way that the Giants starting center would get injured against the only other NFC East team to lose their starting center (Travis Frederick) for an undermined amount of time. Ereck Flowers continued to struggle especially against Lawrence who kept the pressure on Manning all game long.
Taco Charlton recorded a sack and two tackles for a loss in what was another stellar performance from what could be the Cowboys next emerging star along the defensive line. Jaylon Smith shut down Saquon Barkley consistently putting his hands on the Giants star running back prior to the line of scrimmage.
It was one thing to see Smith just being able to contribute to this football team, now it appears that he is one of the best players on the roster and is only getting better. The Cowboys secondary also showed how productive they can be when playing behind a productive pass rush.
Chidobe Awuzie and the safety combination of Jeff Heath and Kavon Frazier basically shut down the Giants passing attack. For a team that needed a ton of help at the safety position, the Cowboys certainly didn’t play like it.
When you remember that Xavier Woods will likely be returning in Week Three, this secondary should only get better. The Dallas pass rush generated six sacks from six different players on Sunday and that should be pretty scary to the rest of the teams on the schedule.
The Dallas Cowboys ability to stop the run, generate pressure, and cover effectively were all on display against the Giants as the defense continues to trend upward.
Hats off to the coaching staff for finally taking some risks and utilizing the strengths of their offensive weapons.
- Published on 09/17/2018 at 23:46 PM
- Last updated at 09/17/2018 at 23:46 PM