The Cowboys solidify their positioning atop the NFC East, and now look to improve their seeding.
For the third game in a row, all on the road, the Cowboys forced four turnovers to completely stymie their opponents. After taking down the New Orleans Saints and Washington Football Team, the New York Giants served as the defense’s targets this weekend as they forced backup quarterback Mike Glennon into three interceptions while forcing Saquon Barkley’s first lost fumble of his career. The result? A 21-6 victory that improved Dallas’ record on the season to 10-4.
The Cowboys’ offense was efficient on third downs, going 8-for-14, but still has not resembled the well-oiled machine of the early season. Dallas went 2-for-5 in the red zone, settling for three Greg Zuerlein field goals which didn’t offset his two missed extra points as he continues to lead the league in those.
Defense, defense, and more defense.
A defense that was so dominant a week ago at Washington continued that trend when on the Giants’ first possession Lawrence got to the quarterback, hitting his arm on the throw. With the ball popped up in the air, Jourdan Lewis came down with the easy interception and returned it 18 yards to the New York 13. The pick was the cornerback’s third of the season, a new career high.
Two snaps later, Elliott charged through the line and into the end zone for the score, but although Greg Zuerlein pushed the extra point wide left, Dallas still had the lead for good.
The Giants were able to respond with three points thanks to an 11-play, 58-yard drive that featured running back Saquon Barkley reaching back to make a remarkable one-handed catch on a screen. Graham Gano would go on to get his team on the board with a 35-yard field goal.
Zuerlein thankfully found his form in the second frame, kicking field goals of 26, 42 and 27 yards to up the Cowboys’ advantage to 15-3 at the break.
Trevon Diggs offers up potential bulletin board material with postgame comments- Josh Hill, FanSided
Diggs is confident in his team, and rightfully so after another dominant defensive performance.
After the game, Diggs had a bold claim about the Cowboys defense — one that puts a target on Dallas’ back heading into the final stretch of the season.
How does the Cowboys defense stack up against the other NFL defenses?
Cowboys CB Trevon Diggs: “We the best defense. For sure.”
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) December 19, 2021
Diggs wasn’t the only member of the Dallas defense making bold proclamations after the win. Demarcus Lawrence stood firm behind his teammate in declaring the
Cowboys DE DeMarcus Lawrence said this is the best defense he’s ever played on: “Yes, hands down.”
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) December 19, 2021
It’s a statement drunk on hubris, but neither player is entirely wrong for caping for their own defense, bias aside. Diggs himself has been one of the best defensive backs in the league this year, and Dan Quinn has taken one of the worst defenses in the NFL and completely revamped it.
Cowboys wager on touchdowns scored versus takeaways created as defense continues to power Dallas- Todd Archer, ESPN
Round one of the wager goes to the defense.
The transformation of the Dallas Cowboys from how people thought they would win games in 2021 and how they are winning games is staggering.
So much so that quarterback Dak Prescott and defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence have come up with a bet between the offense and the defense for the rest of the season. It’s touchdowns scored versus takeaways created.
After Sunday’s 21-6 win against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium, the Cowboys’ defense has a 4-2 lead.
The Cowboys had four takeaways — three interceptions and a fumble recovery — to a touchdown run by Ezekiel Elliott and a Prescott touchdown pass to Dalton Schultz.
“They obviously won this one, but we’ll make sure it carries over,” Prescott said. “They’re doing a great job getting the ball. Front seven’s attacking, back end’s getting their hands on balls and it’s impressive. It’s great to be a part of it.”
Owner and general manager Jerry Jones was not aware of the wager, and Prescott did not say what is on the line.
“I love that,” Jones said. “I’ve seen some of the most productive growth in teams when they’ve been doing a little wagering. Deion [Sanders] and Michael [Irvin] and the defense and the offense used to bet $50,000 a practice on 2-minute drills as to who won that practice. We had to stop that ... [but] it’s why they could say it was tougher out there at the 2-minute practice than it was in the game.”
To put it kindly, the offense has not been highly efficient lately.
As it continually has been for the last few weeks, the Cowboys’ offense didn’t kill them, but they didn’t help. CeeDee Lamb has to make a better block, period. Prescott has to be more aware when scrambling. He gave up a fumble because he had no idea that the defender was peeling down on him. To be fair, Lamb was supposed to pick up that block.
They should both be better there, but you can take encouragement away from the fact that both Prescott and Moore were looking for something big there. That’s what this offense is missing.
Although not often, the offense has shown an ability to string plays or a drive together. Making the big play or the play big enough to get into the box for a touchdown has been something different.
Prescott both made some really good throws and missed some key ones against the Giants. But you can’t blame it all on him. The entire offensive unit needs to be better, sharper, and crisper as they look to close the season. This current game plan isn’t going to cut it in the playoffs.
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