Despite a slow start the Dallas Cowboys managed to pull out a road win against the New York Giants 37-18 to improve to 5-3 on the season and remain undefeated in the division. Here are the four biggest takeaways from tonight’s game.
1. Ezekiel Elliott
For the Cowboys, life is good when Zeke is good as was the case tonight. Early on with quarterback Dak Prescott struggling Elliott took control proving why he is the best running back in the league. Although he failed to find the end zone he still had a huge day rushing for 139 yards on 23 carries. His production helped the offense move the ball and buy time for Prescott to get going. For the Cowboys to take the next step Elliott will need more games like this.
2. Dak Prescott
After battling back from an interception on the first play of the game and an overall slow start he finished strong down the stretch and made some clutch plays. On the night he finished with 257 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. He should’ve had four touchdowns but overthrew wide receiver Amari Cooper who ended up making his presence felt on a huge 45-yard touchdown. Tight end Jason Witten was Prescott’s favorite target hauling in eight passes. Performances in key moments like tonight will go a long way for the rest of the season.
3. Defense, Defense, Defense
If it was not for this unit the Cowboys would not have won this game. They were solid on many fronts. The first thing that jumps at you is the fact that they held Giants running back Saquan Barkley to 28 yards rushing on 14 carries. The second thing is the turnovers and most notably the play of safety Xavier Woods who not only forced a fumble but also notched an interception. End Dorrance Armstrong would add insult to injury for the Giants stripping quarterback Daniel Jones, his second fumble on the night, allowing corner Jourdan Lewis to run it back for a touchdown with six seconds left in the game. Finally, the pass rush was top notch. In his Cowboys, debut end Michael Bennett made an impact notching three tackles including two for loss and one sack already proving the Cowboys got a steal in the trade that brought him to Dallas. On the day the unit would notch six tackles for loss and five sacks. With the line providing this type of pressure the sky is the limit for this unit.
Four personal foul penalties just can’t happen especially when one is called on team captain end Demarcus Lawrence. Aside from the penalties, there was sloppiness from the start as running back Tony Pollard fielded the opening kickoff that was going out of bounds at the 12-yard line while landing out of bounds himself. Then on the following Prescott tossed an interception. It’s starts like that simply can’t happen. Add in the fact they settled for four field goals and you have a lot of points and plays left on the field. Can’t happen moving forward.