The Dallas Cowboys have won every NFC East game this season and now sit with a perfect 4-0 divisional record. Not only are they winning these all-important games, but they’ve won in convincing fashion as every single game has been decided by at least two scores. Their average margin of victory has been 18.5 points against their division rivals. Make no mistake about it, the Cowboys show up against teams from the East.
The Cowboys success recently is attributed to a lot of different things, but the most prevalent factor in getting back to their winning ways comes from how well they’ve been controlling the line of scrimmage.
When the offensive line is playing the way we know they’re capable of, the offense rolls down the field. The Cowboys continue to be the number one ranked offense in terms of yards gained as they put up their sixth 400+ yard performance of the season on Monday night against the Giants. They already have more 400 yard games than they did a year ago, despite being only half way through the season. Sometimes it can feel like a grind, but eventually the floodgates open and they’ll strike for big plays.
Stop me if you've heard this one before...— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) November 6, 2019
Around the 40-yard line, Dak Prescott scrambles to his right, throws on the run, hits Blake Jarwin who scampers off for a touchdown as Giants players forget how to tackle. pic.twitter.com/ChtyQiZzi0
Speaking of deja vu, I love me some Amari Cooper across the middle. pic.twitter.com/udhUghj5u5— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) November 6, 2019
Big chunk plays in the passing game is a huge part of the the offense’s success, but as Jason Garrett will tell you - it all starts by establishing the run. Surprisingly, the Cowboys first four plays of the game were all passing plays. The first one didn’t go so well as it resulted in a quick-pick, but the next three were good for a total of 38 yards as the Cowboys marched down the field. Once the Giants had to step back and respect the passing game, it was time for a nice dose of Ezekiel Elliott.
Ezekiel Elliott averaged six yards a carry against the Giants with a long of just 19 yards. He was churning out good runs all night. The footwork, the vision, the north/south burst - it's a beautiful thing to watch. pic.twitter.com/3dxWR4Spr5— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) November 6, 2019
While Zeke was extremely efficient on Monday night, the same was not true for the Giants star running back Saquon Barkley. Had it not been for his huge 67-yard run off a screen pass, Barkley would’ve been non existent. The Cowboys defense were locked in on him and for the second time in four tries - shut him down. Everyone had a part as the defensive line was getting push back against the blockers and the linebackers had clean shots at the running back.
The Cowboys have faced Saquon Barkley four times in his young career. In two of those games, the Cowboys defense has held him to exactly 28 yards rushing.— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) November 6, 2019
Total. Team. Effort. pic.twitter.com/OdF02mDmjS
Barkley’s now had three games in his career where he’s rushed for under 30 yards, and two of them have come against Dallas.
It wasn’t just the run defense that did it’s job against the Giants as they were also effective against New York’s passing attack. The Cowboys are allowing 220 yards a game through the air which ranks them second in the NFC, trailing only the 8-0 San Francisco 49ers. They were bringing the pressure against the Giants, early and often.
DeMarcus Lawrence was doing DeMarcus Lawrence things. New pass rusher Michael Bennett had a very nice debut making run stops and wasting no time recording his first sack in a Cowboys uniform. And Maliek Collins was throwing around $15.5 million guard Nate Solder as he continues to make his case for his own nice payday real soon.
Did you get your invitation to the sack party? pic.twitter.com/ISndWVXBQp— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) November 6, 2019
It wasn’t all good though. The offense bogged down after crossing midfield early in the game, and they did that thing where they were giving the ball away. That’s never fun to watch. They also committed way too many penalties. These are all things that have hurt them at different points in the season, yet they were good enough to endure all of these things and still win by 19 points.
One thing that might be a little cause for concern is how much they give up in field position when it comes to special teams. It’s unclear what the root cause is, but the Cowboys are losing the battle on special teams every game. Outside of Brett Maher’s occasional big boom, there has been very little to cheer about in the kicking game.