Takeaways From Cowboys’ 23-16 Win Over The Giants

September 27, 2022
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After a miserable season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Dallas Cowboys have bounced back nicely led by their backup quarterback Cooper Rush. Another late fourth quarter conducted by Rush helped Dallas defeat the New York Giants on the road 23-16 Monday night.

It was a mixed bag of good and bad that came from the game, but the most important thing was the Cowboys winning their second straight game to improve their record to 2-1. The win by Dallas gave the Giants their first loss of the season and knocked them from first place in the NFC East which is now owned by the Philadelphia Eagles.

Takeaway 1: Penalties Almost Cost Dallas The Game

It’s been a problem under the Mike McCarthy era and that held up again Monday night. Penalties continue to hurt the Cowboys and while it didn’t cost them a win against the Giants, it made their life harder. They finished with eight penalties for 70 yards while the Giants had eight penalties for 57 yards.

The Cowboys once again showed they are not consistently disciplined which will not cut it against good teams, especially with the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles on their calendar in the next three weeks. If they hope to compete against the best teams in the NFL, they will need to cut the penalties down.

Takeaway 2: Defense Rules The Day

Tackling the negative with the defense off the bat, the Giants did have an easy time running on the Dallas defense. Barkley had a solid night nearly rushing for over 100 yards while recording over 100 yards of total offense in the game. Giants quarterback Daniel Jones gave the Cowboys problems on the ground as he ran for 75 yards.

Now that the negative is covered, the defense did plenty of good things, especially when providing pressure on the quarterback. Jones was sacked five times and hit 12 times throughout the contest. DeMarcus Lawrence had one of the best games of his NFL career tying a career-high three sacks. Lawrence also recorded six tackles, three tackles for loss, and three quarterback hits.

The cowboys’ secondary showed up when they needed to as the front seven commanded the attention of the football media. It was the ball hawk cornerback Trevon Diggs who picked up from his stellar performance last season recording an interception late in the fourth quarter to seal the win for the Dallas Cowboys.

Not to mention Donovan Wilson was huge with 11 tackles, one sack, one tackle for loss, one pass deflection, and two quarterback hits.

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Takeaway 3: Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliot Rushed The Giants

Most Cowboy fans knew how special the backfield was for Dallas. Many had regarded them as one of the best one-two duos in the league. Monday night, they displayed it in a big way. Tony Pollard was the leader in the pack with 105 yards rushing while Ezekiel Elliot ran for 73 yards and a score.

As soon as Dak Prescott was hurt, many expected the offense to flow through the running backs and carry the load. They have stepped up in a big way to relieve the pressure off Rush. Even though they didn’t make much of an impact in the passing game, Elliot’s blocking/power and Pollard’s big play potential were needed to beat New York and they got it.

Huge credit needs to go to the offensive line for their performance. Tyler Smith once again had a great night at left tackle. Major praise has to go to Jason Peters who made his debut for the Cowboys where on his first play in the game at left guard led a nice block that got Pollard a 46-yard gain. That type of run blocking will help Dallas all season as they are starting to look like the top five offensive lines they were two years ago.

Takeaway 4: Cooper Rush Proves He’s A Winner

Cooper Rush isn’t going to blow you away with his stats, but when he needs to make a big play for your team in the fourth quarter, he can deliver. Rush finished 21 of 31 for 215 yards and a key fourth-quarter touchdown pass to CeeDee Lamb. He made good decisions for the most part and once again didn’t turn the ball over protecting the offensive from turnovers.

The poise of this inexperienced backup quarterback has given hope to Dallas fans that they can survive without Prescott at quarterback. Not only survive but thrive off the confidence of Rush. Dallas has proven with Rush that they won’t win many pretty games, but with the help of a strong running game and a top-notch defense, as long as Rush protects the football, they will succeed.

Takeaway 5: CeeDee Lamb Made Waves For Dallas

With many questions hovering around CeeDee Lamb and whether he can handle being the number one receiver, those questions were answered Monday night. From the first quarter until the end, Lamb proved to be the best receiver on the field. On 12 targets, he caught eight passes for 87 yards and a touchdown.

Yes, he did have a big drop in the game that could have led to a big play or a potential score, but redemption only exists when the opportunity presents itself. The one-handed goal line touchdown catch in the fourth quarter was the defining play of the game and could be of Lamb’s career.

While Monday night won’t silence the doubters, Lamb shed some light on how he can step up to a bigger role and will only improve from here.