Defense Steps Up Big
With several new faces on defense for the Dallas Cowboys, the unit remained one of the biggest questions of the team heading into the season opener. Tonight, that defense was able to shut down the Giants and generate a fairly consistent pass rush on Eli Manning.
Odell Beckham Jr. was missing for the New York Giants tonight, but the Cowboys secondary also played big and credit to Anthony Brown for making a big interception in the fourth quarter that effectively ended any hope of a New York comeback.
Jaylon Smith’s Great Primetime Debut
The much-anticipated regular season debut of 2016 second round draft pick Jaylon Smith turned into an impressive success. The linebacker showed the speed and playmaking ability that made him a top projected draft pick before his injury and finished with seven tackles on the night. It was encouraging to see him back out on the field after a long road to recovery, and his good start will make head coach Jason Garrett and Cowboys fans very happy.
Special Teams Shine
With the Cowboys putting up just 19 points on the night, a hat tip to the leading scorer of the night: Dan Bailey. The veteran kicker was a perfect 4 for 4 on the night and was able to convert when the Cowboys offense stalled out.
On that note, a credit to Chris Jones on the night as well, who punted four times and pinning the Giants inside the 20 yard line every time. Having a long field to work with makes a defense’s job much easier and the specialists contributions helped make the Cowboys win tonight possible.
Dak Prescott And Offense Rolls Right Along, Still Have Work To Do
Dak Prescott threw the ball a career-high 39 times on the night and while he missed some passes high early, he appeared to get into a rhythm and started to let his receivers make plays. The four interceptions in 17 career starts (postseason excluded) is an impressive state and Cowboys fans and coaches should be pleased by that.
Since the merger, Dak Prescott's 4 interceptions are the fewest through a QB's first 17 career games (min 300 att).
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 11, 2017
The Cowboys also controlled time of possession and were able to run the ball effectively with Elliott, who ran for over 100 yards tonight as well. The missed opportunities, including the stalled drive inside the two-yard line in the first quarter, will be something they have to clean up. That said, no turnovers and nearly 400 yards of offense will make offensive coordinator Scott Linehan a happy man heading into Week 2 at Denver.
A special congratulations to tight end Jason Witten, who became the team’s all time receiving yards leader on Sunday night.
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