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.



 

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Houston dropped two of three

Astros drop series finale to Oakland, A's win series

Jose Urquidy couldn't hold Oakland back on Saturday. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

With Oakland finally ending their drought against the Astros on Friday night to split the first two games of the series, and with the Angels staying in step with them as both teams started the day 6-2, the Astros needed a win to keep momentum in their favor on Saturday.

Instead, Oakland would outslug Houston once again to take the series finale and take the series win. The loss moves Houston to 6-3 and down to second place, at least for now, until the 6-2 Angels complete their game on Saturday evening.

Final Score: A's 7, Astros 3

Astros' Record: 6-3, second in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Frankie Montas (1-1)

Losing Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (0-1)

Urquidy gives up four over six

Much like the night before, Oakland was able to bring in runs against Houston's starter, this time Jose Urquidy, Saturday afternoon in their second time through the order. Their first time through, Urquidy was cruising, allowing just one baserunner in the first three innings on a single in the top of the third.

Things shifted in the top of the fourth, with the A's getting back-to-back singles to set the stage for a two-run frame with dual RBI-singles to take a 2-0 lead. Oakland doubled that in the fifth, getting a two-out single to set up a two-run homer by Ramon Laureano to make it 4-0. Urquidy would go on to finish six innings, but with no run support to that point, would leave in line for the loss. His final line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 93 P.

A's pad their lead before Houston gets on the board

Meanwhile, although getting five hits, the Astros could not get anything on the board against Frankie Montas through six innings. Brandon Bielak took over out of the bullpen for Urquidy in the top of the seventh, but after loading the bases, he would allow a dagger two-RBI single to make it a 6-0 deficit for Houston.

With Montas starting the seventh looking to face a batter or two before Oakland moved to their bullpen, Kyle Tucker would finally get Houston on the board with a leadoff solo home run, cutting the lead to 6-1 and ending Montas' day. Houston would get a two-out rally going, with an RBI-double by Jose Altuve followed by an RBI-triple by Michael Brantley to make it a three-run game at 6-3.

Oakland takes the series win

Ryne Stanek tried to keep it a three-run game and give the Astros a chance to stay in it in the top of the eighth but instead would give up a two-out solo home run to push Oakland's lead back to four. That 7-3 score would go final as Houston would go scoreless in the eighth and ninth.

Up Next: Houston will have a day off on Sunday before continuing this homestand Monday night by welcoming in Detroit and former manager A.J. Hinch for three games. In the series opener, the Tigers will send young star Casey Mize (0-0, 2.25 ERA) to the mound, while the Astros will get another start by Zack Greinke (1-0, 1.38 ERA).

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