The Dallas Cowboys came into their game against the New York Giants wanting to get a big win, and they more than met that goal. They set an all-time franchise record for yards against their division rival, and completely shut down the New York offense in the first half while building an insurmountable lead on the way to the eventual 49-17 final score.
This was exactly the game the Cowboys needed. They totally dominated the first half from the beginning, even with an opening drive that saw them turning the ball over on downs and a Dak Prescott interception that gave the Giants the ball at the Dallas 11. They would get two touchdown passes in the first half, to Jake Ferguson and Brandin Cooks, and rushing scores on an end around to CeeDee Lamb and a scramble up the middle by Prescott.
The running game would show some much needed life with both Tony Pollard and Rico Dowdle getting off to solid starts and the rushing total over 100 yards before the two-minute warning. The deep game would show up with a 34 yard pass to Cooks that almost saw him break all the way to the end zone. He would eclipse 100 yards before halftime. Driving down to the end zone to add to the lead inside the two-minute warning, Prescott would scramble, have a defender hanging on to his foot, and find Lamb at the 11-yard line. That drive would be marred by a holding call on Tyron Smith, but the good news was that it was the first flag on them in the game. And Prescott would cap it with his running touchdown.
The defense was simply suffocating. In the first half, they just allowed one first down and 27 total yards, plus two sacks of beleaguered rookie Tommy DeVito by Neville Gallimore and Sam Williams. That compared with 20 first downs, 368 yards, and 28 points for Dallas.
A reminder, this was just the first half. It was a case of everything being exactly what was expected with a very good team just delivering a complete beatdown to a badly depleted and outmatched opponent. But the magnitude of the domination was extremely impressive, with the Cowboys averaging 8.8 yards per play. Dowdle contributed 50 yards rushing, Pollard had 48, and the team got 129 total. Prescott had 239 yards through the air, with Cooks finally breaking out for 104 yards and his TD, Lamb adding 98, and even rookie Jalen Brooks had two catches for 18. Jake Ferguson was the only other receiver to catch a ball with three for 19 yards and his score. Even Deuce Vaughn made a positive contribution with a nice little eleven-yard punt return, filling in for KaVontae Turpin, and the special teams came close to blocking a couple of punts.
Dallas did not look past this game at all, to Mike McCarthy’s credit. They took care of business thoroughly before halftime, with only a couple of errors to mar an otherwise sparkling performance by the whole roster. It was clear the Giants were frustrated and angry, as Saquon Barkley was very emotional on the sidelines.
The second half was just more of the same with Dante Fowler and DeMarcus Lawrence getting back-to back sacks to open the third quarter. The Cowboys would stall on their following possession, but this was hardly a major concern by this point.
It was a get-right game so far for Dallas, but it is a question of how much the clear inability of New York to do much with their battered team was responsible for all this. Still, coming into this game at 5-3 and trailing the Philadelphia Eagles by two, they needed to get a convincing win to start a three-game stretch before their rematch with the team of brotherly love. This was a great way to begin.
The announcers brought up how the Cowboys had outscored the Giants 68-0 over the six quarters the teams had played up to half, but on their second possession of the second half, New York finally got something going on offense, and the Dallas defense started committing penalties. Barkley found some running room, as did DeVito. They put together a seven-play, 91-yard scoring drive capped by a 10-yard DeVito touchdown pass to Lawrence Cager. Despite how they had dominated in the first half, the Cowboys needed to not let off too much and let the Giants start to have hope of climbing back into the game.
Thanks to a penalty on the previous extra point, Dallas started from their own 14 when Dowdle didn’t take advantage of the new fair catch rule for kickoffs. Prescott would find Lamb to overcome a third and long, then on the next play he threw a 41-yard touchdown to Michael Gallup to push the lead back to 28 points.
DaRon Bland would add his fifth interception of the year to cut the next New York possession short. Prescott would throw another deep dime to Cooks to overcome a second and 14, and find him again on third and ten to move the sticks and get into the red zone again. A strike to Lamb would get the Cowboys their second 40 burger in a row, and their third of the year*.
*Two were against New York.
Prescott now had his second 400-yard passing performance in a row, and Lamb was over 150 for the third game in succession, while Cooks was pushing 200 yards, with the fourth quarter to play. Everyone but Micah Parsons was collecting sacks. The Giants hadn’t gotten to Prescott once in the game, although he took a huge shot on the long pass to Cooks in the third quarter.
Cooper Rush would come in for the fourth quarter to make sure the starting QB didn’t get a pointless injury in a meaningless situation, and he would be joined by a lot of other backups. Rush would complete four passes before throwing an interception, but it was all garbage time stuff, including the final Dallas score on a Dowdle run. Their passing game was getting yards and points at will, and the running game showed up nicely. Both team and personal records were set by the Cowboys, who would finish with over 600 yards of offense. The defense did allow a garbage-time touchdown to the Giants.
It is hard to know just how much to read into this game, given the obvious issues of the opponent. But the numbers were so big, we still have to come away with a very good feeling about these Cowboys.