On Sunday afternoon, the Dallas Cowboys made short work of the New York Giants and controlled the game from the opening whistle. Following last week’s last-second loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, many questioned the team’s long-term viability. Hot-take theater and social media had themselves a field day last week but the Cowboys were undeterred. Quarterback Dak Prescott told the media that his team was going to be fine. They were more than just that.
Against the Giants, the offense demonstrated its true offensive potential and got several of its supporting pieces incorporated into the offense. Defensively, they took advantage of the inexperienced quarterback Tommy DeVito, who is the Giants’ third starting quarterback this year, and contained New York’s primary threat, Saquon Barkley.
Of course, there were a few standout performances that shined the brightest among the stars on the field and they are your stars of the game.
At his best, Michael Gallup was a terrific receiver at making contested catches down the field. Recently, Gallup has struggled in that department and has been challenged with making the most of those 50/50 opportunities. However, the Gallup of old made an appearance against New York. First, Gallup hauled in a 41-yard rainbow from Dak Prescott for a touchdown. Then late in the fourth quarter made another difficult catch down the sideline, this time a pass from Cooper Rush.
There are still lingering question marks about the Dallas running game after Tony Pollard had a less-than-stellar day against a porous Giants run defense. Yet, could Rico Dowdle be a part of a solution? He ran with speed and power against the Giants and Cowboys running game a spark. Though his 79 yards rushing isn’t much on its own, Dowdle was effective on his 12 carries, running for 6.6 yards per carry. Dowdle also managed to score a touchdown in the red zone.
Dak Prescott once again made it “Rayne” all over the New York Giants after collecting his 12th consecutive win to give New York the big blues. Prescott hasn’t lost to their division foe dating back to his rookie season in 2016 and continues to be the king of New York. After Sunday’s four-touchdown passing performance, Prescott has now thrown 27 touchdowns to eight interceptions against the Giants for a 100.9 passer rating.
Prescott was calm under the pressure of the Giants’ frequent blitzes and scanned the field with ease to make the right decision. Though Prescott threw one interception, it pales in comparison to how he managed the passing attack. Prescott threw a touchdown pass to four different receivers and made each throw from varying depths look like a simple pitch and catch.
There are so many throws we could highlight but arguably Prescott’s best throw was on a connection to Brandin Cooks. Prescott got to the top of his dropback and had to step up in the pocket to elude the pressure from his left. When he climbed the pocket to make his throw, Giants defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence put a huge hit on Prescott. Prescott knew he was going to get flattened by Lawrence but showed the toughness to sacrifice himself for the team. Big-time play.
With another 400-yard performance, Prescott now has 10 in his career which is the most in the history of the franchise and more than all other quarterbacks in the team’s history combined. Prescott has complete command of the offense and is brimming with confidence in himself and his receivers.
Over the past few games, CeeDee Lamb has scorched defenses throughout the NFL. Lamb has had 500 yards receiving in the past three games and after Lamb his 151-yard game against the Giants, that’s now three consecutive games of over 150 yards receiving or better.
Lamb sometimes makes it look so easy. His one-handed catch on the game’s opening drive was a thing of beauty. Lamb was running down the middle of the field from the slot and while being interfered with by the defender, who was holding his right arm. No big deal, Lamb casually made the catch with his left hand for the first down. This is nothing new. Lamb has been a showstopper since arriving in Dallas.
Following the game, Lamb told the media he feels he is the best receiver in the game. Given his recent output, it’s difficult to argue. Lamb’s diversified alignments and complete route tree from a multitude of formations make it difficult to account for and defend him. Plus, you add the proficiency he has as a route runner and he is virtually unguardable.
Take his touchdown catch for example. Lamb got off the line of scrimmage and made a slight hesitation to his left, freezing Giants cornerback Bobby McCain, before he broke his route outside for the touchdown catch. Not sure, why this was ever a question earlier in the season but simply stated, good things happen when you throw the ball his way. When targeted this season, quarterbacks have a passer rating of 129.4.
While many demanded that more targets go in the direction of CeeDee Lamb, you can make the same case for Brandin Cooks. It has taken some time, but Cooks has finally made himself a more prominent figure in the offense over the last month. After scoring against New York on Sunday, Cooks has now scored a touchdown in three of his last four games. Cooks was targeted ten times and caught nine passes for 173 yards. The element the Cowboys’ offense was lacking last year was speed. Cooks has that in spades. Cooks ran three routes of 30 yards or more and It created a lot of room for his receiving counterparts to work with.
Before yesterday Cooks had 165 yards on the season, so he more than doubled his total after his big game. Moving forward, signs are pointing to Cooks being featured more frequently. As the game progressed there appeared to be a rotation behind Cooks and CeeDee Lamb that saw Jalen Brooks, Jalen Tolbert, and Michael Gallup alternating snaps, while Cooks remained largely involved.