THE COWBOYS REPORT

Dallas put the “D” in defense in win over Giants; Seahawks next

Zeke Elliot and the Cowboys got a nice win. Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys (1-1) beat their division rival the New York Giants by the score of 20-13 on Sunday night.  The final score might make it seem like it was a close game, but it was not. The Cowboy defense DOMINATED the Giants.  

Quarterback Dak Prescott got the team started off right with a 64 yard touchdown pass to Tavon Austin on the third play of the game.  With the defense keying on Pro Bowl running back Ezekiel Elliott, Prescott faked a handoff to him and hit Austin right in stride on a fly pattern down the left sideline.  Once they took that early lead, the Cowboys leaned on Elliott and played stout defense to lock up their first win of the year.

Prescott finished the game 16 of 25 for 160 yards one touchdown and NO turnovers.  He also kept the team moving by rushing seven times for 45 yards to go along with Elliott’s 17 carries for 78 yards and a 4.6 average per carry.  Elliott put the game away with 5:45 left in the fourth quarter when he ran up the middle for a 6 yard touchdown and a 20-3 lead.  The Cowboys had a great game plan and kept a good balance between run and pass plays.  

I am not sure what changed this week but the Cowboy offensive line played exceptionally well.  They opened up holes for Elliott to run through and did not allow the Giant defense record any sacks.  One small issue that could become a big problem later is, even without any pressure Prescott rarely had any open receivers.  Austin was their leading receiver and he only caught one other ball after the long TD. Free agent acquisition Allen Hurns had one catch for 9 yards and the tight ends were nowhere to be found.

The main reason for the victory was the Dallas defense was on top of their game.  They held rookie sensation Saquon Barkely to 28 yards rushing on 11 carries and held All Pro wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to 4 catches for 51 yards on 9 targets.  The front seven were swarming all night and sacked Giant quarterback Eli Manning six times and caused one fumble, which led to a third quarter field goal.  The first score they allowed was a field goal late in the thirrd quarter before the game was out of reach and the only touchdown they allowed was late in the fourth quarter in garbage time.  

3 Players to Watch

  1. Tavon Austin (Wide Receiver), with only 2 catches on the season he is already the second leading receiver on the team with 79 yards.  The 5’8 veteran has great speed and can be used in the backfield as a running back sometimes.  Hopefully the coaching staff can figure out some more ways to get him in big play making positions down the field.

  2. DeMarcus Lawrence (Defensive End), this 6’3 lineman is probably the Cowboys best player on defense and is proving it too.  He has two sacks and three tackles for loss already this season. He will be an interesting watch as they will be going against four-time Pro Bowl QB Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks.  

  3. Sean Lee (Linebacker), Is the heart and soul of this team.  When he plays the Cowboys tend to give up 10 points less than if he doesn’t play.  He injured his hamstring late in the game versus the Giants but will need to be on the field to keep Wilson in check on Sunday.

Coming Up

Sunday afternoon the Cowboys (1-1) will be in the Emerald City of Seattle, Washington to take on the Seahawks (0-2) at 3:25 pm Central time.  Both teams are very similar in the sense that they both don’t have any stellar pass catchers on the offensive side of the ball and rely on their average defenses to keep them in games.

The Cowboys are going to need their offensive line to play the same as last week and keep opening up holes for Elliott to run through.  If that happens, hopefully somebody like Austin or maybe even Hurns can make a big catch down field to help keep the defense honest. On the defensive side, they are going to need to keep Super Bowl winning QB Russell Wilson from beating them because that is pretty much the only offense Seattle has.  This could be a problem because he can beat them with his legs just as easily as he can with his arm. If you can remember Cam Newton beat Dallas basically by himself in Week 1. All in all, it should be one of the better games on Sunday afternoon and I can’t wait to watch.

If you have any fantasy players, the only must start players are Elliott and Wilson.  Both kickers might not be bad plays either.

For you gamblers out there, the current line is Dallas +1.5.  With Seattle being 0-2 and this game pretty much being a must win, I would take Seattle at any number less than 3.



 

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

RAVENS 33, TEXANS 16

5 observations from the Ravens win over the Texans

Getty Images

Let's be honest; the Texans were not going to beat the Ravens. Baltimore has better players, a better quarterback and a better coaching staff. (And oh, a better kicker). All of that was on display in the Ravens' 33-16 win.

The Ravens move to 2-0, while the Texans dropped to 0-2 after facing the AFC's two best teams.

The Texans will still likely contend for a playoff spot, but nothing the last two weeks indicates they are anywhere near contending in the AFC. A look at five things from the Ravens win:

1) Oh, Brien...It did not take long for Bill O'Brien's goofy coaching to rear its ugly head. Down 3-0 at their own 34 as the first quarter was running out, O'Brien chose to go for it on fourth and one. The play was predictably blown up, the Ravens quickly scored to make it 10-0, and the Texans were instantly in a hole against a superior opponent. You can't give points away against the Ravens. They might have scored anyway with a punt, but there was no stopping them with a short field.

2) Some positives on defense. Despite the score, The Texans looked much better on that side of the ball against an explosive offense. J.J. Watt had two sacks, the team had four total, and they kept Lamar Jackson from destroying them. Seven of the points were scored by the Ravens defense, and O'Brien's gaffe led to seven more. The Ravens wore them down in the fourth quarter, but they played well enough until then to keep the team in the game had the offense been better. They did not force any turnovers, however, and that was one of the differences in the game. They were also blown off the ball on a fourth and one in the fourth quarter that led to the Ravens' 30th points and could not stop the run at all in the fourth quarter. But that's what the Ravens do with a lead, and the Texans offense gave them no breaks by being unable to stay on the field.

3) The difference between real contenders...The Ravens were just so much more skilled on both sides of the ball. Defensively, they focused on taking away the run. David Johnson averaged 3.1 yards per carry. Will Fuller had as many catches as you did. The Ravens forced two turnovers on just really good football plays. The Texans don't make plays like that. They might against lesser teams, but if your goal is to compete with the best, it's just not good enough.

4) Deshaun Watson needs to be better. His numbers looked so so on the surface (25 of 36, 275 yards, 1 TD, 1 interception). He was sacked four times and added 17 rushing yards on five carries. He did not make plays late when they needed one here or there to maybe get back in the game. With his big contract, it's time for Watson to stop being close to elite and take the next step. His interception was more of being fooled by Marcus Peters than throwing a bad ball, but the Texans were just 3 of 9 on third downs. Throw in the ill-advised fourth down play, and they were just 3 of 10 extending drives. Give the Ravens a lot of credit, but again, to compete with the best, you have to be better than that.

5) Now what? The Texans travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers, who have not been impressive in their two wins. Still, it's hard to see Houston as anything but serious underdogs. They are last in the AFC South, and have a lot of work to do. The defense showed some promise at times, but will have to continue to improve. The offense has a long way to go. They match up better with the Steelers than they do the Ravens and Chiefs, but that does not mean they can win. If you were hoping they would give you some indication they can be more than just also-rans, they failed to do that on any level against either the Chiefs or Ravens.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome