Cowboys 37, Giants 18

Cowboys vs. Giants: Good, bad and ugly

The Cowboys won their second consecutive game, and their fifth game of the season against the Giants on Monday night. Both teams got off to slow starts, but the Cowboys were able to overcome this setback and take a big victory in East Rutherford.

The good

Ezekiel Elliot had a great game with 23 carries for 139 yards. The Cowboys' offensive line was opening up holes left and right for Elliot to seemingly gain 5 yards on every carry. The offense relied heavily on the run game early on, but once Elliot got going, the rest of the Cowboys offense starting clicking as well.

The defense stepped up at pivotal times throughout the game. Sean Lee lead the game in tackles and had a key stop in the fourth quarter against Saquon Barkley. Xavier Woods had a pivotal interception in the 2nd quarter that would set up Bret Maher for a 52 yard field goal to put the Cowboys up 13-12. The boys never trailed again once they took the lead.

Dak Prescott got off to a rocky start throwing his first pass of the game to Giants Safety Antoine Bethea. The offense continued to stall until an 8-yard pass to Blake Jarwin that turned into a 42 yard touchdown. All of the momentum switched to the Cowboys after this score. We even saw the return of Dak's deep ball to Amari Cooper for a 45 yard touchdown in the 4th quarter.

The bad

Injuries are continuing to plague the Cowboys, especially on the defensive side. Leighton Vander Esch missed his first game after leaving early with a neck injury against the Eagles in Week 7. He is still listed as day-to-day, but his presence was sorely missed. Safety Jeff Health left the game Monday night with a leg injury. After the game he received 12 stitches to seal a laceration he suffered saving a touchdown on the opening kickoff of the third quarter. He did not return to the game.

Penalties are still a big problem for the team. The Cowboys committed 10 penalties for a total of 104 yards. Tyron Smith committed two holding calls and Randell Cobb had two penalties against him as well. One negating a touchdown.

Michael Bennett's debut for the Cowboys was lackluster to say the least. He committed two penalties, one for offside and the other for lining up in the neutral zone. The offside penalty gifted the Giants a free first down. He did have three tackles and one sack, but he needs to work on not obtaining so many penalties going forward.

The ugly

For the third time this season, turnovers and lack of offensive consistency stalled the Cowboys offense in the first half. If they want success in their final eight games, getting off to good starts is key. Tougher teams like the Vikings, Patriots, Bills and Rams can and will take advantage of the Cowboys if they continue to get off to sluggish starts.

The cat was the most odd thing about this game. Although it was entertaining to see a cat run on the filed, it did delay the game for a couple minutes. This oddity ultimately resulted in a Cowboys victory so whose to say a black cat is always bad luck.

The amount of penalties called on both teams caused the game to go longer than a typical NFL game should have. Together there were 18 penalties for 175 yards. There were 22 total flags thrown in this game resulting in one of the longest games of the week .

Overall both teams put up mediocre numbers offensively in the first half, but once the Cowboys took the lead, their offensive struggles dissipated. The Cowboys now sit alone atop the NFC East with a 5-3 record, and the Giants sit in 3rd place with a 2-6 record behind the Eagles and ahead of the Redskins.

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Boston's two grand slams in the first two innings were too much for Houston to overcome in ALCS Game 2. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

After a win in ALCS Game 1 that had the prototypical fingerprints of this Astros team all over it, Houston returned to Minute Maid Park on Saturday, hoping to take a dominant 2-0 series lead if they could grab another victory. The Red Sox dashed those hopes very early, though, scoring eight runs across the first two innings to build the lead they would hold on to even the series.

Final Score: Boston 9, Astros 5

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): tied 1-1

Winning Pitcher: Nathan Eovaldi

Losing Pitcher: Luis Garcia

Houston met with disaster to start Game 2

You couldn't have drawn up a much better start for the Red Sox or a worse one for the Astros in Saturday's ALCS Game 2. Luis Garcia met early disaster in the top of the first inning, allowing a leadoff double, then got two outs while issuing two walks to load the bases. That brought up Boston's designated hitter, J.D. Martinez, to the plate, and he delivered a crushing blow to Houston, launching a grand slam to put the Red Sox up 4-0 before Houston could even get to the plate.

After a scoreless bottom of the inning by his offense, things got worse for Garcia in the top of the second, as after issuing a four-pitch walk to start the frame, he would become the center of a meeting at the mound with trainers, ultimately leaving the game with an injury. Houston opted to bring in Jake Odorizzi for the emergency call to the bullpen, but things did not start well for him either. He would put two of his own batters on base with two singles, then gave up the second grand slam in as many innings, this one to Rafael Devers to double Boston's lead to 8-0, doubling down on Houston's disastrous start to the game.

Odorizzi rebounded with a 1-2-3 third, but with one out in the top of the fourth allowed a solo homer to Kiké Hernández, his third homer of the series so far. He would still get the job done of eating up a few innings, finishing the fourth, and retiring Boston in order in the fifth, giving Houston just four more innings to cover with the rest of their relievers.

Astros get a few runs back

Over that span, Houston did trim the lead by three runs, getting an RBI double by Kyle Tucker and a two-RBI single by Yuli Gurriel in the bottom of the fourth, making it a six-run game at 9-3. Their next reliever was Blake Taylor in the top of the sixth, and he would keep the score where it stood by sitting down the three batters he faced that frame.

The Astros threatened again in the bottom of the sixth, getting two singles to put two aboard, but would come out empty, sending the game on to the seventh, where Taylor would remain on the mound. He faced three more batters, getting two out while allowing a single before Yimi Garcia would come in to get the third out.

Red Sox even the series as it shifts to Boston

Garcia returned in the top of the eighth, getting through that inning despite a walk and hit by pitch, stranding both runners. Boston's bullpen kept Houston from getting any closer in the bottom of the eighth, then Ryne Stanek came in for the Astros in the top of the ninth. Stanek allowed a leadoff double, but with a groundout and double play, held the score at 9-3. Yuli Gurriel and Jason Castro did their part to keep the Astros alive in the bottom of the ninth, each hitting solo homers to make it 9-5, but that's as close as they'd come, dropping Game 2 to tie the series at one game apiece.

Up Next: The ALCS now moves to Boston for the next three games after a day off on Sunday, with Game 3 on Monday at 7:08 PM Central. While the Astros have named Jose Urquidy as their starter, the Red Sox have not yet determined theirs.

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