Last season, the New York Giants swept the Dallas Cowboys. This year, the Cowboys returned the favor. Granted, it’s not as satisfying as this Giants team is struggling immensely this season and the Cowboys are still fighting and clawing to stay in the playoff race. But anytime you can sweep a divisional foe, it’s a good day and that’s what the Cowboys did today. For the first three-quarters, it was downright frustrating. The offense really struggled moving the ball. But then, all of a sudden, the floodgates opened. The Cowboys would score three touchdowns within five minutes and turn a nail-biter into a rout. It was hours of sheer boredom filled with moments of exhilaration.
Here are 10 quick thoughts on today’s game:
1. Loving the new uni’s
I’m not gonna lie, the navy blue jersey with the Color Rush white pants looked sharp. The white jerseys with the “silverblue” are still a classic favorite, but I wouldn’t mind seeing them wear this combo more often.
I can already see that this jersey combo is going to end up being my new favorite. pic.twitter.com/qMbHJPWuuB— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) December 10, 2017
The Cowboy have never lost when wearing this uniform combination. Just something to think about.
2. Hot Rod
The Cowboys running game struggled in this game, but it wasn’t from a lack of trying. They would run the ball 31 times for 122 yards for a lackluster 3.9 yards per carry. Alfred Morris’ best run of the day was negated by a holding penalty. When the Cowboys had the lead, Morris couldn’t even stay in bounds to burn some clock. It wasn’t what you’d hope to see against a defense that was worst in the league defending the run.
But luckily Rod Smith would save the day. He made a key play on the opening drive when he caught a deflected pass. Instead of punt, the drive continued and lead to a field goal. But his biggest play would come on a third down late in the fourth quarter when he caught an 81-yard touchdown pass over the middle of the field. It put the Cowboys in complete control of the game.
And he didn’t stop there. On the next possession, he would take a pitch 15 yards for another touchdown. All in all, he would finish with 160 yards for scrimmage.
Tyron Smith— Cowboys Nation (@CowboysNation) December 10, 2017
All Aboard The Train To Sixville pic.twitter.com/iiCyWMSgty
The broadcaster asked how many Smith’s are allowed to be on the field at the same time. The correct answer is 22, but that would be a remarkable coincidence.
3. Hey, Sean Lee’s back
In his first game after missing time due to a hamstring injury, Sean Lee reminded everyone why he’s so important to the team. He would finish with 18 tackles and that doesn’t even include the fact that he would spend some time on the bench to keep himself rested. Well, that was a great strategy because the team got a great all around performance from Lee. He had a great tackle for a loss on an end around play and would pick off a pass after Chidobe Awuzie deflected it into the air.
Welcome back, Sean.
And just because Lee was back didn’t mean Anthony Hitchens disappeared. After his 15 tackle performance last week, he had 14 more against the Giants. New York would run the ball 29 times and constantly throw short dump of passes and the linebacker duo of Lee and Hitchens was cleaning things up.
4. What is wrong with Dan Bailey?
When he doinked 53-yard field goal off the right goal post I didn’t think much of it. Of course any miss could cause him to relinquish the title of “most accurate kicker ever” to Justin Tucker as those two are always neck-and-neck. And when he shanked a 50-yarder on his next try, that seemed a little odd. It’s rare that Bailey would miss two field goals in a game.
But when he missed an extra point for the first time in his career, it was clear that Bailey was just not himself. It’s as if his body was taken over by Roberto Aguayo or Enrico Pallazzo... whichever one played for the Buccaneers.
5. Drop it like it’s hot?
The Cowboys receivers struggled to catch the ball in the first half today. Terrance Williams let one go right through his hands. Dez Bryant dropped two passes, one of which could have been a touchdown. Even the ever-reliable Cole Beasley couldn’t haul in a pass that hit him right in the hands. The offense struggled early on and these drops certainly didn’t help.
Here’s the 2 Dez drops & 1 Beasley drop from earlier in the game. pic.twitter.com/LwzPv7MsQl— Cowboys Nation (@CowboysNation) December 10, 2017
6. Yards after the catch
The Cowboys offense spun it’s wheels for most of the day and it would have been a very inept performance had it not been for a few big plays. When the Cowboys receivers did manage to catch the ball, they sure made them count. Prescott would have a career high, 332 yards passing and a great majority of that was yards after the catch. Bryant, Beasley, and Hot Rod would all have 50+ yard catches where they did most of the damage with their legs.
Cowboys receivers after the catch...
7. What’s up with all the offside penalties?
The Cowboys entered the game as the third least penalized team in the league, but for some reason they struggled staying on their side of the line of scrimmage. The defense would jump offsides four times against the Giants. Maybe they were chomping at the bit to get to the quarterback. Maybe the concentration wasn’t there. Whatever the reason, these penalties helped the Giants keep the chains moving early.
8. The absence of Irving
The Cowboys defense played great in this game even though the Giants offense were missing a lot of key players. It was surprising that the Cowboys could not get to Eli Manning. The defense would not record a sack on this day.
Defensive tackle, David Irving was inactive for this game as he was coming off a concussion suffered against the Washington Redskins. And while his disruptiveness was missed, the play of his replacement, Datone Jones, was costly at times. Jones would get called for two penalties, defensive holding and illegal hands to the face, which helped the Giants extend drives.
9. Cowboys defense came out hitting
On the first drive of the game for the Giants offense, the Cowboys defense would knock the ball out three times. Of those instances, twice the Giants were able to jump on the ball. And the one time the Cowboys recovered it, the player was ruled down by contact.
While they didn’t get any turnovers early, they would come away with two takeways in the fourth quarter. The Cowboys defense kept attacking the ball, whether it was the ball carrier or closing on the receiver. For the second-straight game, Awuzie would have a nice pass break up as he got his hands in there right as the receiver was trying to haul in the pass, causing it to be incomplete. And later in the game, he would be rewarded for his great coverage with the deflection that led to the Lee pick.
Chidobe Awuzie makes a play on the ball, setting up Sean Lee for the INT and ending the game. pic.twitter.com/lDpQ6nqCXf— Cowboys Nation (@CowboysNation) December 10, 2017
10. No help from other games
Drew Brees messed up our Thursday night chances by throwing a pick late in the game to lose to the Atlanta Falcons. Then, the red-hot Minnesota Vikings couldn’t beat the Carolina Panthers. Even the Cleveland Browns toyed with beating the Green Bay Packers before they collapsed in overtime.
Those are my observations. What about you?