A dominating defensive effort powered the Dallas Cowboys to a 19-3 season opening win against their bitter rivals, the New York Giants.
The game started promising for the Cowboys offense as they picked up a couple of first downs getting to midfield before the drive stalled. Following a Cowboys stop thanks in part because of a Demarcus Lawrence sack, the Cowboys would drive down the field and put three points on the board mid first as Dan Bailey chipped in a 21-yard field goal. The Cowboys would finish the first quarter with a 3-0 lead holding the Giants offense to six plays and zero first downs.
Early in the second quarter Jason Witten set the Cowboys career record for receiving yards passing Hall of Famer Michael Irving on a drive that resulted in a 48-yard Bailey field goal that extended the Cowboys lead to six. Late in the first half, the Cowboys finally put the ball in the end zone as Dak Prescott hit Witten for a 12-yard touchdown to put the Cowboys up 13-0. Bailey would follow that up with a 42-yard field goal with seven seconds left to give the Cowboys a 16-0 half time lead.
Witten’s touchdown catch gave him 150 career catches against the Giants making him the third player in NFL history with 150+ catches against one team joining Jerry Rice and Larry Fitzgerald. The Giants offense finished the first half with just two first downs and 49 total yards of offense compared to the Cowboys 16 first downs and 265 total yard of offense. The Cowboys offense also ran a staggering 47 plays in the first half as well which was the most by a team since 2007.
The Giants would come out strong in the second half taking the opening drive 68-yards chewing up almost 10 minutes but was only able to put up three points after a Charles Tapper sack put them behind the chains resulting in a third and long that they could not convert.
Middle of the fourth quarter with the Giants still trailing by 13 cornerback Anthony Brown picked off Eli Manning giving the Cowboys their first turnover of the season. Browns interception would not be in vain as the Cowboys were able to run off 2:49 and tack on a 36-yard Bailey field goal to put them up 19-3 with 1:48 to secure the season opening win.
The Cowboys played outstanding defensively holding the Giants to just 224 total yards of offense and 13 first downs. The defensive line showed great improvement providing a solid pass rush all game and holding the Giants to just 35 rushing yards.
Offensively the Cowboys rolled up 392 total yards of offense with Prescott throwing for 268 yards with one touchdown and running back Ezekiel Elliot rushing for 104 yards on 24 carries. Wide receiver Terrance Williams led with six catches for 68 yards and Witten finished with 59. Dez Bryant was held to just 43 yards on two catches.
As the Cowboys travel to Denver next week the offense has to find a way to put the ball in the end-zone instead of settling for field goals down in the red-zone.