The Dallas Cowboys came away with their second straight victory on Monday night with a 23-16 win over the New York Giants. It was a little bit of a grind as the scoring was limited to field goals in the first half, but then the Cowboys turned it up in the second half. There were some good things on both sides of the ball and even the special teams came up with some big plays. Today, we’re going to highlight some key points that stood out after taking another look at the game.
Good things come to those who execute
It’s easy to criticize Kellen Moore when the offense doesn’t play well, but you have to give him credit for his game plan against the Giants. Some of his “crafty” run designs haven’t always panned out as the offense has seen some negative plays. Moore himself said, “It can go for minus-3, and you feel pretty dumb.” Yeah, we remember that.
Of course, when the players execute, the results can be a little different, which is what happened on the Cowboys' surprise run on 3rd-and-12 where Ezekiel Elliott took off for 27 yards. Emmanuel Acho took a moment to explain what went down on that play.
If you like football, or are remotely interested in learning about football at all, whatsoever, watch this. Incredibly fascinating stuff. #AchoAnswers #Cowboys @GehlkenNFL @BloggingTheBoys pic.twitter.com/aQNvlcDLHq— Emmanuel Acho (@EmmanuelAcho) September 28, 2022
The best thing about that play was how well executed the blocking was as we mentioned in the 10 thoughts article on Monday (click here for the video clip). This type of blocking was on display a lot against the Giants as the team did a great job utilizing two-tight end sets, throwing the fundamentally sound blocking Noah Brown at defenders, and regularly pulling the athletic rookie Tyler Smith as he punishes smaller defenders downfield. Let’s take a look at some of the well-executed blocks by these young offensive players.
Noah Brown has received a lot of praise for what he’s contributed in the receiving game. In fact, defensive backs are resorting to grabbing him to prevent him from getting into space. It’s easy to get caught flat-footed as Brown can often be found blocking around the line of scrimmage. He’s so good at it.
On this play, Brown secures the edge while CeeDee Lamb frolics to the second level. Then, the diesel truck Tyler Smith starts accelerating down the field ready to plow through any brave defensive back that obstructs his path. It’s like watching Snowman leading the way for the Bandit.
Eastbound and down, loaded up and truckin’ A-we gonna do what they say can’t be done
Noah Brown seals the edge.— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) September 28, 2022
CeeDee Lamb to the second level.
Tyler Smith pulls and blocks 10 yards downfield.
This is how you properly utilize your offensive tools. pic.twitter.com/NuaRiaHFsd
Matt Farniok is the weakest link along the offensive line because he can be overpowered at times. It’s why we are now seeing the veteran Jason Peters filling in at left guard. But Farniok moves well in space and Moore did a good job using him as we see more of the same from Noah and the Snowman on this play with Farniok pulling to the right to secure the edge.
Noah Brown seals the edge.— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) September 29, 2022
Matt Farniok pulls to the other edge.
Tyler Smith pulls and gets to the second level.
When you have a good blocking wide receiver and athletic offensive linemen, it's good to use them accordingly. pic.twitter.com/iNKBhZxm7M
But one of the biggest surprises in blocking came from the Cowboys' rookie tight ends. Both of them did a nice job with their assignments. Sure, there are things UDFA Peyton Hendershot needs to clean up as he’s getting flagged on occasion, but he’s fun to watch as a pass catcher in space. And those opportunities will keep coming if he continues to block as well as he did on Monday night.
Jake Ferguson and Hendershot were very reliable and their dirty work can be seen on this next play along with Brown getting a running start to use that momentum to push back his defender.
Jake Ferguson with a nice combo block.— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) September 29, 2022
Noah Brown goes in motion and flies to the second level.
And who knew Peyton Hendershot was this reliable of a blocker? pic.twitter.com/GWGBQIboiG
Former backup tight end Sean McKeon was called up from the practice squad and he joined the party on this play as all three tight ends were on the field. When everyone does their job this well, the Cowboys are going to get where they need to go.
Dalton Schultz was unavailable, but all three of the backup TEs blocked extremely well. Sean McKeon holds the edge, Zack Martin pulls to cover the outside, and Jake Ferguson provides just enough pop to give Ezekiel Elliott room to bust through for the score. pic.twitter.com/iOEXH0ei5o— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) September 29, 2022
Aggression comes with a price
The defense came after Daniel Jones like you wouldn’t believe and it completely disrupted the Giants offense. It was almost like a game of tag between the Cowboys pass rushers and Jones who was constantly trying to touch home base. Many times the Cowboys put the Giants quarterback on his back, but there were also moments when he got loose and that kept the Giants in the game.
If there was a negative from the Cowboys defense on Monday night it was their inability to contain the QB when he took off running. The Giants found ways to take advantage of the Cowboys aggressiveness. Jones had 79 yards rushing. Dallas needs to fix this before it really Hurts. pic.twitter.com/EDAoIZ5jkr— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) September 29, 2022
After Joe Burrow had a couple of good runs up the middle, this was something offensive coordinators took notice of and the Giants exploited it as much as they could. If the Cowboys don’t do a better job containing the quarterback and wrapping up when they get a clean look at him, this could be a real problem, especially when they play a much more elusive quarterback like say, Jalen Hurts.
The Cowboys special teams were amazing last year as they were blocking punts at a record pace. They can still be seen bursting up the middle and it’s just a matter of time before they block their first punt of the year, but Dorance Armstrong was able to get his hands on a field goal attempt and steal three points from the Giants.
But speaking of a matter of time, what game do you have KaVontae Turpin returning his first kick for a touchdown? Week 4? Week 5? Week 6? Get your vote in now because you know it’s coming!
This is the second-straight week KaVontae Turpin has almost taken a punt to the house. It's just a matter of time. Why the Giants would try a pooch kickoff is beyond me. And Dorance Arms-r-long is one of the best at blocking kicks. pic.twitter.com/kQxJsjU6eT— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) September 29, 2022