The Dallas Cowboys are off to a 2-0 start after defeating the New York Jets 30-10 in their home opener. We were all expecting a defensive battle, but little did we know that the Cowboys offense would put up 30 points and nearly 400 yards of offense. On the other side of the ball, the defense continued to be amazing. Yes, they did get torched one time, but hey, what’s one time?
There was a lot to love from this one and here are 10 thoughts on another convincing win over a New York football team.
1. Micah is amazing
It sounds like a broken record, but with each new game, Micah Parsons finds more ways to wow us. As Tony Romo stated in the game, he’s a game-wrecker and that was on full display against the Jets. Parsons finished the game with two sacks and a tackle for a loss when he met Breece Hall in the backfield for a two-yard loss. He even ripped the ball from Dalvin Cook and got up and ran to the end zone in what looked like a defensive touchdown. Replay showed that Parsons was down by contract, but it gave the Cowboys the ball in Jets territory.
2. Winning where it matters
The Cowboys' defense has been amazing, and the offense has been solid, but one reason they have dominated their opponents over the first two weeks is that they are winning the battle that matters the most, protecting the ball. The Cowboys came away with four takeaways on Sunday, including interceptions by Jayron Kearse, Malik Hooker, and Trevon Diggs. Add that to the picks by Stephon Gilmore and DaRon Bland last week and all five of the Cowboys starting defensive backs have a pick. The defense has a total of seven takeaways on the year to go with zero from the offense.
3. Nowhere to run
If you take away the instances where quarterbacks get loose from the pocket, the Cowboys' run defense has been stout. Last week, Daniel Jones rushed for 43 yards, but the Giants running backs collectively only rushed for 65 yards. This week it was even better. Sure, Zach Wilson escaped for 36 yards, but the combination of Breece Hall, Dalvin Cook, and Michael Carter combined for 10 carries for just 24 yards. Don’t look now folks, but the Cowboys’ defense can stop the run.
4. No more “automatics”
Not only has the Cowboys’ defense taken the running game away, but they are also better in an area that has plagued them for years. There was a time not so long ago (like, say, last year) when teams could just QB-sneak anytime they wanted to pick up a 4th-and-inches. Those days are over. It’s at the point now where the Jets felt more comfortable running a fake punt than trying a QB sneak. And three plays later they were in the same situation and they punted the ball away. It’s nice to finally see opponents fearful of the Cowboys' defense in shortage situations.
5. Quick strike, right back in it
After dominating the first quarter and a half, the Jets finally showed a sign of life when Zack Wilson hit Garrett Wilson for a quick one-play, 68-yard touchdown. The Cowboys’ defense was in man coverage and Wilson got away from Stephon Gilmore who was then obstructed by safety Malik Hooker. Once Wilson had a step, it was all over as no one on the Cowboys' defense had a shot at catching him. Just like that, it was 10-7.
6. Almost got Sauce’d
After the Jets scored a touchdown to stop the Cowboys' momentum, they almost jumped ahead of Dallas when Jets’ star corner Ahmad Gardner jumped a pass attended for CeeDee Lamb near midfield. Had he come up with that cleanly, it would’ve been an easy house call as there was nothing between him and the end zone.
7. Some good-fortune flags
On the final drive of the first half, the Cowboys benefited from some costly penalties by the Jets' defense. After a failed third-down completion in the red zone, the offense got a new set of downs when Jets defensive end John Franklin-Myers was flagged for a personal foul penalty for going low on Dak Prescott. Then, on the next third down, the Jets were flagged again when cornerback Brandin Echols was a little too grabby on Jalen Tolbert in the end zone. This gave the Cowboys a 1st-and-goal at the one-yard line where they capped things off with a touchdown pass to rookie tight end Luke Schoonmaker. On the play, the Jets were again flagged for roughing Prescott, allowing the Cowboys a chance to convert a shorter two-point conversion, which they did.
8. Tank saved a touchdown
The Jets had a chance to respond right before the end of the first half when they drove the ball 59 yards in just under two minutes. Fortunately for Dallas, the drive came up short when Zach Wilson wasn’t able to connect with receiver Garrett Wilson who had juked Trevon Diggs near the goal line. Looking closer, the ball was off target because DeMarcus Lawrence was able to just get his hand on it as Wilson released it. A touchdown there would’ve provided the Jets a spark and potentially cut the halftime lead to just three points.
9. Alpha Lamb to the rescue
The Cowboys were without their No. 2 wide receiver Brandin Cooks as he is resting his knee. How would this affect the Cowboys' passing attack? Could players like Michael Gallup and Jalen Tolbert step up? While it was a quiet night for Tolbert (three catches for 18 yards) and even quieter for Gallup (one catch for three yards), the answer came in the form of a huge day for CeeDee Lamb. The star wideout caught 11 passes for 143 yards, and some of them were not easy. Lamb sacrificed himself with some outstretched catches and even went head over heels for one grab. The dude was amazing.
10. Aubrey has been lights out
Do you remember how we felt when rookie kicker Brandon Aubrey shanked his first-ever NFL kick? Many of us took a deep breath and thought here we go again. But little did we know that the rookie would then settle down and go on to make all six of his remaining kicks against the Giants. Now, with another game under his belt, the rookie has doubled that streak and connected on 12 straight kicks, including five field goals against the Jets.