It’s week three in the NFL, the Cowboys have played two very different games. There was the 16-8 sloppy loss to the Panthers and a 20-13 domination win over the Giants. So, what are the talking heads saying about these Dallas Cowboys? Whether it’s the mainstream media, local media, or the next opponent’s media, we’ll cover it. We’ll take a look in every which way as we review what everyone is saying about this team.
Giants.com sideline staff: “Cowboys’ secondary plays excellent” in shutting down Giants weapons
Fans might wonder why the Giants didn’t go down the field much in this game. They only had one play of 20 yards or more, a perfect pass down the right sideline to Cody Latimer. The truth is the Cowboys secondary played an excellent game, and did not allow the Giants receivers to get behind them much at all. There were a few plays in the second quarter where there were a couple of chances to get the ball down the field, but pressure got to Manning before the play could develop. On different plays, Sterling Shepard and Odell Beckham Jr. would have been open on deep routes towards the sideline. On another play similar to the one the Bucs used to get O.J. Howard open against the Giants last year, Rhett Ellison would have been open going down the field, but Manning did not have time. It happened a lot in the game. The scheme got players open, but the execution wasn’t good enough to complete the pass. From my eye, there weren’t more than a few plays where Manning looked off open receivers, or felt a rush when it wasn’t there. He had defenders flying at him all game.
The stats are not pretty for the Giants offense, 32 plays and 79 yards in the first half. They ran 37 plays for 164 yards in the second-half but it was too little and far too late. Of five drives in the second-half, the Giants ended two of them for a combined -10 yards and a turnover. The Cowboys defense played about as well as you could imagine. This was the receiving chart for the Giants’ playmakers:
|Odell Beckham Jr.||9||4||51||0|
The Cowboys will take that stat line every week, they pretty much had their way with these receivers but that will happen when you put six sacks on the quarterback.
Rick Gosselin of Sportsday DFW: Other NFL quarterbacks may pad the stats but Dak Prescott protects the football
Prescott doesn’t beat himself. Ball security was a premium with him in college, and it remains a premium now in the NFL. Sunday night was the 19th time in 34 career NFL starts that he did not commit a turnover. The Cowboys are 18-1 in those games.
When Prescott doesn’t beat himself with turnovers, the Cowboys as a team are difficult to beat. And that’s exactly what this defense needs -- a quarterback who won’t put them in bad field positions with interceptions and fumbles. The Cowboys have the second-youngest starting lineup in the NFL and can be offensively challenged at times. But they have the potential to be dominant on defense in 2018 -- especially if Prescott doesn’t give them any short fields to defend.
That’s a pretty good point to make but it reminds me of our friend Landon McCool, on his Locked On Cowboys show from Monday. See, he says that we have to stop comparing Prescott to prolific passers that he’s not. Stop talking about how he’s not Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, or even Carson Wentz. Dak’s game is different and though 16 of 25 for 160 yards and a touchdown are quite pedestrian in this league, how can anyone say he had a bad game? Prescott and the offense did have a lull in the middle of the game. Yet, they came back with a 14-play, 82-yard drive that took eight and a half minutes off the clock and scored a touchdown. It put the Giants to bed and won the football game.
Cowboys Twitter: Is this now a great defensive team where the offense just does enough to win?
After 2 games -- granted, tiny sample size -- D is clearly the identity— Ben Rogers (@BenRogers) September 17, 2018
Cowboys Defense: 4th in avg yds allowed per gm, 3rd in avg pts allowed
Cowboys Offense: 30th in avg total yards, 29th in points per game
Out of the eight real offensive possessions the Cowboys had, four of them ended with points. The Cowboys offense had a hot start, scoring 10 points on their first two drives, but then they iced themselves down with three minutes to go in the first quarter. They didn’t get going again until the third quarter and there best drive was in the aforementioned 14-play drive in the fourth quarter. You look at the Cowboys offensive numbers and you feel like this can’t be their identity all season long.
Cowboys offense has certainly looked better tonight, but they still have a ways to go in order to contend this season. They're fortunate that their defense carried them throughout this game, but this formula won't work this way enough times as necessary.— RJ Ochoa (@rjochoa) September 17, 2018
The Cowboys offense is still very much a “work-in-progress” but it’s getting better. The coaches now must make sure they don’t revert and keep using their offensive weapons to the best of their abilities and much more consistently too.
Mike Vorel of Seattle Times: Seahawks line will be tested because Cowboys defense is really good led by DeMarcus Lawrence
How good, exactly? In their first two games, a loss to the Panthers and a win over the Giants, the Cowboys ranked second in the NFL in sacks (9), third in scoring defense, fourth in total defense and fifth in passing defense. They held Carolina quarterback Cam Newton to 161 passing yards and zero passing touchdowns in week one, then muzzled Giants rookie running back Saquon Barkley to the tune of 28 rushing yards on 11 carries last week.
DeMarcus Lawrence: The 6-foot-3, 265-pound defensive end proved that last season, when he broke out with 58 tackles, 14.5 sacks and four forced fumbles in 16 games. Through two games in 2018, the Boise State alum has nine tackles and two sacks to his name.
Now, consider that the Seahawks have surrendered a league-worst 12 sacks in the first two weeks of the season, victimized by the Broncos’ Von Miller and the Bears’ Khalil Mack. Germain Ifedi and the rest of the Seattle offensive line will face another formidable challenge on Sunday.
The Cowboys defense has faced two sub-par offensive lines in each of the last two weeks and now they get a third one. Whether it’s injuries or just poor play, every team in the NFL is looking for better offensive linemen because there isn’t a surplus of them. The Seahawks have a tough time protecting Russell Wilson and it was evident against the Bears on Monday Night Football.
As good as the Cowboys pass rush is, they still have to contain Wilson because he’s just so great at buying time in the pocket. These two teams are very comparable on offense in terms of skill position talent. Both the Seahawks and Cowboys aren’t sure what they have at receiver just yet but Seattle’s dealing with injuries to Doug Baldwin. It will be tough to beat these Seahawks at home but the Cowboys have the defense to do it.