It wasn’t pretty early, but the Dallas Cowboys have swept the New York Giants and are now in sole possession of second place in the NFC East. After playing around in the first half, they overcame a halftime deficit and went on a 21-0 run to put the game away. Once they got into a groove, they never let up. There were a lot of things to like in this one, but they all weren’t delicious treats. Here are 10 thoughts on the Cowboys' 28-20 win over the Giants.
1. What was McCarthy thinking?
Who wouldn’t want the Cowboys to come out early and make a statement with a little extra aggression? Well, head coach Mike McCarthy decided to be bold and had the Cowboys go for it in their own territory on their first possession of the game. But with what this team has on defense, giving the Giants an opportunity to have a short field didn’t seem all that smart. And sure enough, New York’s defense came up with a big stop, putting the Giants' offense in great shape. As a result, the Giants got a free three points and got on the scoreboard first.
2. The costly “free play”
On the Cowboys' very next possession, they were moving the ball well when a Dak Prescott interception put a stop to that. At initial glance, it appeared that Giants edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux jumped into the neutral zone causing center Tyler Biadasz to instinctively snap the ball. Prescott, thinking he had a free play, just let it loose allowing the Giants’ corner Radarius Williams to jump the route and pick off the pass.
3. The costly second pick
Late in the first half, the Cowboys had another shot to get points, but again it was put to a halt with a Prescott interception. Dak tried to hit CeeDee Lamb on a third-and-long play, but the ball was deflected off of a smothered Lamb and into the arms of Giants defender Julian Love. Two first-half interceptions that squandered opportunities to come away with easy points started to look awfully familiar.
4. The costly penalty
It looked like the Giants were going to return the favor and give the ball right to the Cowboys when Daniel Jones was intercepted by safety Donovan Wilson. This would have given the Cowboys the ball in Giants territory with another chance to get a score before the end of the first half. Unfortunately, Trevon Diggs was flagged for illegal contact, giving the Giants a fresh set of downs. Instead of the Cowboys getting points late, it was the Giants who came away with a field goal to add to their lead.
5. Self-inflicted wounds
It’s nice to come away with the win, but it’s not nice to see so much dirty laundry on the field. Once again penalties were a huge hindrance for the Cowboys. It was an assortment of penalties as the team finished with 13 penalties for 86 yards, and some of their mistakes were just head-scratchers. Why did they have so much trouble with the false starts? They just couldn’t get in sync with all the pre-snap motion as there was too much confusion and the players were just too jittery. The Cowboys are a good team, but things like this are not characteristics of good teams.
6. The costly Barkley play
The Cowboys weren’t the only ones shooting themselves in the foot. New York had a chance to regain the lead when they went for it on fourth down near midfield. Daniel Jones had Saquon Barkley open to his left, but the throw came in a little low and the Giants running back started stumbling and wasn’t able to come down with the catch. Had Jones been able to hit Barkley in stride, it might’ve been a huge play for the Giants, but instead, it was a turnover on downs and ultimately ended up being detrimental for the Giants.
7. Forget the turkey, try a rack of Lamb
Don’t look now, folks, but CeeDee Lamb is starting to heat up. After not having a 100-yard game through the first seven weeks of the season, the Cowboys' third-year wide receiver has now had two 100-yard games over the last three weeks. On Thursday, Lamb finished the game with six catches for 106 yards, and Prescott was looking his way quite a bit as he had 11 total targets. It wasn’t a monster game, but he had some impressive catches and we are seeing the damage he and Prescott can do in this offense.
8. Frick and Frack-a-mole
What a day for the Cowboys' tight ends. Dalton Schultz scored two receiving touchdowns and Jake Ferguson had 57 yards, including one where he hurdled a defender and kept running. But the most exciting play from the tight end group came when Peyton Hendershot took a handoff on a jet sweep and scored the Cowboys' third-straight touchdown of the second half to go up 28-13 midway through the fourth quarter. The fun was capped off when Schultz, Ferguson, and fellow tight end Sean McKeon jumped in the Salvation Army kettle while Hendershot played whack-a-mole. How do you not love those guys?
9. Another two-sack performance
Which is it going to be - no sacks or two sacks? That’s been the story for Micah Parsons all season. There is no in-between. On Thursday, it was two sacks as the team’s star edge rusher came through with his sixth-multi-sack performance of the year. Parsons now sits at 12 sacks on the year, which trails only the Patriots' Matt Judon who has 13. He’s just really good at football.
10. Ten in a row
The two-interception game will draw out the haters, but when you look at his overall performance, Dak Prescott again looked sharp. He finished the game 21/30 for 261 yards with two touchdowns. Some of his throws were outstanding and he looked near unstoppable in the second half. Thursday’s win against the Giants marks the tenth-straight game Prescott has beaten them, with his only two losses coming during his rookie season in 2016. That’s total domination.