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Ten thoughts on the Cowboys 37-18 win over the Giants

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There were some good things, and there were some even better things.

Dallas Cowboys v New York Giants Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

One of my favorite parts of the season is downstream of the bye week as it means every week for the duration of the season will contain a Cowboys football game. And the post-bye activities were kicked off with the final meeting with the New York Giants as the Cowboys completed the sweep with a 37-18 win. The team now rides a two-game winning streak, and it’s also their second straight game where they’ve scored 37 points. It wasn’t pretty early on, but things got a lot better as the game progressed.

Here are ten thoughts on the Cowboys win over the Giants on Monday night.

1. Could it have started any worse?

I like the idea Tony Pollard had in attempting to step out bounds when fielding the kickoff, unfortunately, it doesn’t work out the same way when you touch it in bounds first. Pollard’s mental mistake meant the Cowboys started their first possession of the game at the 12-yard line. Sometimes, he can be such a rookie.

And before you could finish stewing over that gaffe, the Cowboys quickly ended that possession as Dak Prescott threw an interception on the first play from scrimmage. It set the Giants offense up first-and-goal at the eight-yard line. Don’t fret, though. The Cowboys defense clamped down and held them to a field goal. They were doing a lot of clamping Monday night.

2. Give it away, give it away now

Stop me if you’ve heard this before - the Cowboys offense drives down the field only to cough up the ball and ruin a perfectly nice potential scoring drive. It felt like deja vu all over again as the Cowboys offense showed they could move the ball, but couldn’t get anything to show for it. It was a story we’ve heard before, and we don’t like it!

While the Cowboys gave the ball away twice early in the game, it was the Giants that started being so generous with the ball later on. Starting with an Xavier Woods pick, followed by an Xavier Woods forced fumble, and then capped off with a Dorance Armstrong strip/sack that resulted in a Jourdan Lewis touchdown. The takeaways were plentiful.

Don’t look now, but the Cowboys defense is taking the ball away.

3. The Cat-titude adjustment

Near the end of the first half, a black cat ran around on the field for a couple minutes. We all watched, chuckled for a bit, and then realized it wasn’t all that amusing as we had a football game to get back to.

As luck would have it, it marked a nice turn of events for the Cowboys. After putting up just three points through the first 29 minutes of the game, the offense got rolling after the cat incident, scoring 34 points over the remaining 31 minutes of the game. Did the cat having something to do with it? Probably. I guess we’ll never really know.

4. Zeke is heating up

We’re not going to make a big fuss about it, but Ezekiel Elliott rushed for a season high 139 yards. It’s his third straight game where he’s eclipsed the 100-yard mark, but it was his most efficient of the three as he averaged six yards per carry. Elliott has been running with a lot of vigor lately and it’s really opening things up for this offense. Monday night’s game marked the fourth time that the Cowboys have rushed for at least 170 yards. They’ve won every one of them, and the offense has scored over 30 points in each one.

The Cowboys are controlling the line of scrimmage and when that happens, it usually means good things.

5. Jarwin, the Giant-killer

It wouldn’t be a Giants game if Blake Jarwin didn’t catch a touchdown pass. For some reason, Jarwin comes alive whenever he faces the Giants, and he was at it again when his 42-yard touchdown catch gave the Cowboys their first touchdown of the game.

There must be something about playing against the Giants that makes Jarwin come to life. Starting with a seven-catch, 119-yard, three-touchdown performance in last year’s season finale, Jarwin’s now had three straight games against New York with a touchdown. In fact, of his six career touchdowns, five of them have come against the Giants.

6. Hop, skip, and Gallup

The last time Michael Gallup faced the Giants, he had a career-high 158 yards receiving. While he only finished with two catches for 33 yards on the night, he had one of the prettiest touchdowns I’ve seen in a while. Gallup showed great balance to find his way into the end zone to help give the Cowboys an eight-point lead in the fourth quarter. For the first time all game, we could breathe a little.

7. The old Lee

The Cowboys came into this game with a pretty good bill of health; however, they were without their All-Pro linebacker Leighton Vander Esch. Not to worry though, because the Cowboys have one of the best backup linebackers in the league with Sean Lee.

The veteran linebacker has been playing okay in limited action, but he’s never resembled his old self where he was sniffing out plays and flying all over the field. Well, tonight we got a little taste of the old Lee as he was able to get into a rhythm and put together his best game of the season. Lee led the team with 12 tackles, nine of which were solo.

8. Nasty Hernandez

The Cowboys were up to their old tricks of beating themselves with penalties. A holding penalty nullified a 17-yard Randall Cobb touchdown reception in the first quarter. That stung a little. All in all, the Cowboys had another game were a lot of laundry was seen on the field. They finished with ten penalties for 104 yards. That’s not good.

In the Cowboys previous two losses, they averaged ten penalties as they kept shooting themselves in the foot. While it didn’t doom them on Monday night, it was still annoying to see them let their tempers get the better of them as they were flagged for unsportsmanlike penalties multiple times. Strangely, a player who was always in the middle of the scuffles, Will Hernandez, didn’t get flagged for any. Zeke’s mom noticed the same thing...

The Giants second-year guard was clearly frustrating the Cowboys defensive linemen as several players had issues with him. Hernandez is a guy you love if he’s on your team, but he’s nothing more than a Woody Woodpecker - a giant instigator.

9. Yards after turnover

The Cowboys defense has been struggling to create turnovers as they ranked 28th in the league in takeaways a couple weeks ago. They’re making a quick rise up the ranks as they’ve had seven takeaways over their last two games.

While creating turnovers aren’t easy, it was refreshing to see the Cowboys defenders make the most of them by running out as many extra yards as they can. Xavier Woods made a nice play to read the deep throw by Daniel Jones to come away with the interception, but what was even more impressive was his ability to return the ball for 29 yards. This enabled Brett Maher to kick 52-yard field goal as time expired in the first half.

And how cool was it to see Jourdan Lewis scoop up the fumble and run it back 63 yards for a defensive touchdown.

10. No let down for 45 games straight!

There was a time no-so-long ago where the Cowboys were known for blowing big leads in the fourth quarter. With a defense that just didn’t have the talent to keep dangerous quarterbacks like Matt Flynn from rolling up and down the field, it made for some frustrating finishes to games.

Well, those days are gone. In fact, they have been for a while now. The Cowboys may do a lot different things wrong at different times, but one thing they don’t do anymore is give away the game. Credit the coaching staff and the mental toughness of these players for preserving a 7+ point fourth-quarter lead for 45-straight games, the largest active streak in the NFL.

Photo courtesy of NBC Sports