The Cowboys won by a score of 44-20 to earn their fourth consecutive victory while taking a two-game lead in the divisional race, and yet it’s easy to find flaws in Sunday’s performance. Dallas played arguably its sloppiest game of the year and still won by four scores, which is an endorsement of just how good this team is.
It’s also an indictment of just how bad, and shorthanded, this Giants team is. But style points count for nothing in the NFL and the Cowboys have recorded their third straight blowout win. These five plays were especially crucial in doing so.
Dak Prescott’s fourth-down pass gets intercepted off a deflection
The Cowboys got the ball to start the game and Dak Prescott and the offense started going to work. It wasn’t long before they had positioned themselves at midfield, but things fizzled out after Ezekiel Elliott came up two yards short on third down.
Mike McCarthy opted to go for it on fourth down. Kellen Moore drew up a play that looks like it would have worked, as Elliott was leaking out into the flat as it was being vacated by Giants defenders. But edge rusher Lorenzo Carter got in the way, batted the ball up in the air, and came down with it.
Ultimately, this play had the same impact as if Prescott would have just thrown an incompletion, but the heads-up play from Carter prevented what very likely would have been a successful conversion. And while New York didn’t get points from it, this turnover took away an early scoring opportunity in what ended up being a fairly lackluster first-half performance for this offense.
Dak Prescott fumbles the snap inside the five-yard line, turns it over
After the Giants missed their field goal following Prescott’s interception, the Cowboys moved the ball well before settling for a field goal. A three-and-out from the Giants offense gave it back to a Dallas offense eager to get things going.
They did just that, getting the ball down to the Giants five-yard line. But on second and goal, Prescott uncharacteristically fumbled the snap, leading to an easy Giants takeaway.
Backed up in their own endzone, the Giants went three-and-out quickly and punted the ball back to Dallas. But just like their interception on the opening drive, it was an example of the Cowboys offense just shooting themselves in the foot. This one hurt more because of how close they were to points, even if it didn’t make a difference in the end.
Jabril Cox’s goal line stop prevents points and takes Daniel Jones out of the game
First things first, this is in no way a celebration of Daniel Jones’ injury, and the hope is that all is well for the young quarterback. The play in which he left the game with what looked like a nasty concussion was pivotal in the game for two reasons, one of which is more obvious.
The play itself, of course, came when the Giants were on Dallas’ goal line and had just failed on successive attempts to run into the endzone. Jones then ran a bootleg out to the backside corner, but tremendous pursuit from both Chauncey Golston and Jabril Cox stopped him just short of breaking the plane.
Cowboys’ fans got excited because of the range and closing speed from the rookie Cox, who saw meaningful defensive snaps in the team’s first game since releasing Jaylon Smith. The more impactful part of this play, of course, was Jones’ exit. New York scored on the next play to tie things up at 10 apiece, an indicator of how close it was before he left. Backup Mike Glennon didn’t live up to Jones, and that undoubtedly played a massive role in the way this game ended.
Trevon Diggs keeps interception streak alive, helps extend the lead
The Giants started with the ball at halftime and they got into field goal position to cut the Cowboys’ lead to 17-13. Dallas responded with a touchdown on the next drive, upping it to 24-13 and putting more of this game on Glennon’s shoulders.
After getting the ball back on the kickoff, offensive coordinator Jason Garrett dialed up a shot play to C.J. Board in an attempt to flip the field all in one play. It didn’t go as anyone on the Giants sideline intended.
Trevon Diggs extended his interception streak for the year with a great play on the ball and even had a decent return as well. Just like the last two games, in which the Cowboys sandwiched Diggs interceptions with scoring drives, the Dallas offense came away with a field goal. Their ability to generate points off of these takeaways has been a key part of the Cowboys’ big margins lately.
Kadarius Toney trips on fourth down play, extinguishes all hope for the Giants
After the Cowboys got three points off Diggs’ interception, things weren’t looking great for New York but it wasn’t a done deal yet. The Giants responded with a long, methodical drive that ultimately fizzled out in the red zone. Basically, a Garrett Classic.
But with the Giants trailing by two touchdowns and the fourth quarter having just started, New York went for it on fourth and goal at the Dallas two-yard line. Glennon went for a quick out route to rookie Kadarius Toney, but the receiver slipped in coverage and there was no catch to be made.
A non-pass interference on Anthony Brown against Kadarius Toney.— Doug Rush (@TheDougRush) October 10, 2021
This should have been pass interference. pic.twitter.com/8UMZy9o9jC
Contrary to Giants fans’ opinions, Anthony Brown did not shove Toney to the ground, and the officials appropriately threw no flag on the play. The result was a turnover on downs that just about extinguished any hope of a comeback for New York, and the Cowboys’ nine-play, 98-yard touchdown drive from there was the dagger in this game’s heart. The silver lining for Giants fans? It wasn’t the worst thing Toney did on Sunday.
As we do every week we put together a compilation of the best highlight’s from Sunday’s Dallas Cowboys game on the Blogging The Boys YouTube Channel. Make sure to subscribe to our channel (which you can do right here) so you don’t miss any of our videos!