The Dallas Cowboys notched a big win on Sunday, as Dallas went into enemy territory and came out with a 20-point divisional win. The victory gave the Cowboys a clean sweep over the Giants for the 2017 season, and — most importantly — kept the Cowboys’ playoff hopes alive for at least another week.
The game started out slow. It was an offensive struggle for much of the first half, as the teams went into the break tied at 10. There were many drops and missed opportunities, but Dez Bryant’s 50-yard score gave the Cowboys fans in MetLife Stadium a big reason to cheer. It looked as if it was only a matter of time before the offense started clicking to eventually pull away from the struggling Giants on the road.
It finally happened in the second half.
The Cowboys are one of the five best teams in the first half, but their -48 point differential in the second half was 28th in the league entering Sunday’s action, however, the staff and the players were able to make the needed adjustments at half time to be able execute at the level expected. Dak was firing on all cylinders, Rod Smith and Alfred Morris were able to run the ball, and the defense really stepped up after giving up two scores in the first 30 minutes of play.
While the first half was a drag, the second half saw the Cowboys outscore their rival by 20 points on the Giants’ home turf.
So who deserves this week’s game ball? We’re splitting it between Dak Prescott and Rod Smith.
After multiple weeks of struggling, 24-year old Pro Bowl signal-caller Prescott finally found his groove. He was showing off his accuracy, although Dez Bryant dropped a perfectly thrown pass that would have been six and Cole Beasley dropped a ball on the very next play that would have moved the chains; still, though, number 4 finally looked like himself on Sunday. Does it help that he played a defense that has struggled this season? Sure. But, you cannot deny how refreshing it was to see our quarterback making plays again.
Dak hit on 20 of his 30 passes for a career-high 332 yards and an impressive three touchdowns. The yards after the catch certainly helped that stat line, but each of his touchdown passes were perfectly thrown balls — allowing Dez and Rod to run in stride towards the end zone. Dak was playing with an enthusiasm and confidence that we have not seen much during this rough stretch of games. If that is not encouraging, I don’t know what is.
More importantly, Dak Prescott had a much more effective game than he has had in over a month. He was 20 of 30 for 332 yards, three touchdowns, and a 137.1 passer rating. And he should have had more completions and yardage after some very catchable balls were mishandled by his receivers. This game should go a long way to quieting the worries about his worrisome performance the past few weeks, and that means so much going forward for the Cowboys.
Prescott ended the game with a 137.1 passer rating, played his best game since Zeke’s suspension was enforced, and has the Cowboys still fighting for an opportunity at the playoffs.
But the day belonged to the team’s third-string running back and former undrafted free agent.
Rod Smith came to play on Sunday. For weeks, we have heard about the Cowboys planning on using him in different ways to get him the football, but it’s mostly been the Alf-show during Ezekiel Elliott’s absence. That changed on Sunday, though.
Smith left his mark on this game. He was running the football with a purpose, protected Dak well when Prescott dropped back to pass, and showed just how dangerous he can be when lined up out wide against a linebacker. It was the perfect performance for a guy that has worked tirelessly to get where he is at. Our own Dave Halprin named him one of the six winners from the victory.
Rod Smith steals the show. The little-used running back got a few opportunities and capitalized. He scored a rushing touchdown and had 47 yards on six carries, for a 7.8 ypc. Not bad. But it was his 81-yard touchdown catch that was truly memorable. He had 113 yards receiving on five catches. He also caught a tipped pass on the first dive that he ran for a first down, converting a third down, that extended the drive and got Dallas their first three points.
Smith finished the game with 160 total yards and two touchdowns — both of which were in the game’s final quarter.
Tyron Smith— Cowboys Nation (@CowboysNation) December 10, 2017
All Aboard The Train To Sixville pic.twitter.com/iiCyWMSgty
Zeke was hyped:
BOOBIE !— Ezekiel Elliott (@EzekielElliott) December 10, 2017
LET HIM SPINNNN!— Ezekiel Elliott (@EzekielElliott) December 10, 2017
Who gets your game ball, BTB?