The Dallas Cowboys opened up their 2017 season with an outstanding performance on offense, defense, special teams and coaching. While the New York Giants were without Odell Beckham Jr., the Cowboys outplayed the Giants in each aspect of the game. Let’s take a closer look at The Good, The Bad and The Ugly after a Week One victory against Big Blue.
Thank God for Rod Marinelli. The guy keeps on doing it. His defensive line, which has been a weakness for the Cowboys for a few years, stepped up at critical points throughout the game. DeMarcus Lawrence had a third down sack on the Giants opening drive which forced New York into a quick three and out and provided the Cowboys excellent field position to start their second drive. This opening series sack matched Tank’s sack total from last season. Can Lawrence step up as the primary sack artist and quarterback rusher the Cowboys have? The Cowboys would be thrilled if their former second-round pick shows up consistently this season.
The defense as a whole played lights out throughout each quarter. They limited Manning to less than 200 yards and limited the Giants rushing attack to only 35 yards. Sacks came at a premium last season but Dallas relied on a another key sack to halt a third quarter drive which forced a field goal attempt instead of a potential touchdown. Regardless of the absence of OBJ, the New York Giants have offensive weapons in Eli Manning, Sterling Shepard, Brandon Marshall and Evan Engram. None of this mattered as Sean Lee, Jaylon Smith and Anthony Brown made the big plays when it mattered most.
In a 19-3 victory to open up the season against a division rival, there is not much that went poorly. That being said, the Dallas Cowboys absolutely dominated the Giants throughout the first quarter and a half but were unable to punch it in for a touchdown. For reasons that remain unclear, when the Cowboys found themselves at the 3- yard line with a first and goal, they chose to pass it to Dez Bryant three times in a row. While having balance and deception is important, history suggests that utilizing Ezekiel Elliott and the offensive line in the red zone is more effective. As the season progresses and Dallas faces teams at full strength, the Cowboys must be able to punch it into the end zone.
Throughout the game, the Cowboys outplayed the Giants and made the right plays when it mattered most. They recorded almost 400 yards on offense and completed more than half of their third down conversions against one of the best defensive units in the National Football League. Since there was not much in the way of Ugly, we’ll say an injury to Orlando Scandrick is the Ugly as he broke his hand.
But let’s remind ourselves of the absolutely beautiful Cole Beasley circus catch. What cannot be ignored is how important that catch was as it extended a fourth quarter drive and allowed Dallas to bleed away more time while holding a comfortable lead. Can Beasley lead the team in receptions and yards again this year?
The game balls ultimately went to Dak Prescott, Jason Witten and Jaylon Smith, all of whom are deserving candidates in this season opening victory. Moving forward, look for the Dallas Cowboys to dissect this victory and clean up the mistakes in the red zone in order to build on this winning streak.