The Dallas Cowboys evened their record to 1-1 on the season with a 20-13 victory over the New York Giants on Sunday Night Football in a performance that was a much-needed breath of fresh air.
Like almost every team in the NFL, they aren't without their issues, but Sunday night against the Giants was a move in the right direction. There were a lot of players who made an impact in last night's game, but here are my 3 Stars in the Dallas Cowboys win over the New York Giants.
First ✭ - Tavon Austin
Tavon Austin was electric on Sunday night. On the opening drive, he quickly beat his man on a play action double move and caught a beautiful ball from Quarterback Dak Prescott that went for a 64 yard touchdown. It was a huge play that flipped the script on what happened last week against the Carolina Panthers when they struggled to move the ball for almost the entirety of the game.
Tavon Austin finished the day with 79 yards receiving on two catches (two targets) and added a carry for 15 yards for 94 total yards on three touches.
His route running when he got the opportunity was really, really good. He was quick.
The "Austin Effect" had a huge impact on the game as well. Even when he didn't touch the ball, his presence posed a problem for the defense. When he's on the field, the defense has to account for him because if they don't, he could be gone in the blink of an eye.
Every time that the New York Giants defense had to think about Austin in motion was a good thing for the Dallas Cowboys. The "Austin Effect" opens up so much more running room for Ezekiel Elliott and opens lanes for Dak Prescott to throw into. If you go back and look at the fourth and inches quarterback sneak by Dak Prescott, you'll see the Giants linebackers focusing on Tavon Austin in motion coming across the formation and not on Prescott as he snaps the ball and easily picks up the first down.
This was a much better use of Tavon Austin than his 10 snaps a week ago. He impacts the game in so many ways it's criminal not to have him on the field more than that.
Second ✭ - Byron Jones and Chidobe Awuzie
New York Giants Wide Receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is one of the best wide receivers in the NFL and he was pretty much a non-factor for this primetime game. You can't undersell how important Byron Jones and Chidobe Awuzie were to slowing down Beckham.
He finished the day with four catches for 51 yards on nine targets. It was a very quiet day for the highest paid wide receiver in the NFL because of the play on the outside by Jones and Awuzie.
Byron Jones was credited with six solo tackles and Chidobe Awuzie had eight solo tackles. According to Next Gen Stats, Beckham only averaged 1.6 yards of separation per pass attempt. For reference, the league average is 2.76 yards of separation per pass attempt.
For the most part, he was locked down by Jones and Awuzie on the outside.
Third ✭ - Dak Prescott
The passing numbers for Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Dak Prescott may not be stellar, but when you consider his rushing numbers as well, you see how important his play was to the Dallas Cowboys victory.
He finished the day 16/25 for 160 yards and a touchdown through the air and had six carries for 46 yards rushing on the ground.
In order to win football games in the NFL you have to score points and Dak Prescott led his team to 20 points. With this defense, that's going to be more than enough to win a lot of football games.
On the team's final touchdown drive, he was brilliant in orchestrating a 14 play drive that lasted more than eight minutes on the play clock. On that drive, Prescott was responsible for converting three first downs, either with his arm or legs.
When it mattered most, he orchestrated an excellent drive in the fourth quarter that was capped off by an Ezekiel Elliott touchdown rush.
For the most part, even when under pressure, Dak Prescott looked more under control and more poised than he did week one. Even when he had pressure in his face, he did what he had to do to buy time to either make the play or to throw the ball away to avoid the sack.
Prescott needs to continue to show this kind of promise week-to-week if he's going to be the franchise quarterback that we all thought he could be a year ago.
This game was a step in the right direction.
Rod Marinelli and Kris Richard
No matter who is orchestrating this defense, Rod Marinelli and Kris Richard had the Dallas Cowboys ready to play tonight. They kept Eli Manning under pressure the entire evening and had six different players credited with sacks in the game.
They had a great game plan to keep the New York Giants offense from beating them with big plays down the field. With as much pressure as the Giants were facing it was predominantly short passing attempts from Eli Manning. The entire defense did a really good job rallying to the football and limited the damage underneath.
After taking criticism all week-long, the Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator had a really good night. After not really getting Tavon Austin involved in week one, he got the speedy wide receiver involved early in the game for the team's first score of the night.
Linehan got Tavon Austin on the field early and fairly often, which opened things up for the rest of the offense throughout the game.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
Now that you've seen mine, show me yours. Who were your 3 Stars from the Dallas Cowboys win over the New York Giants?
Takeaway Tuesday: Cole Beasley is Your Interim WR1
Watching the Dallas Cowboys beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 40-7 was undoubtedly fun for Cowboys Nation. There were not many positive expectations for the Cowboys heading into this game but both the defense and offense put on impressive performances at home in an attempt to remain serious contenders within the NFC East.
We learned a few things about the Dallas Cowboys last Sunday as they beat one of the top defenses in the NFL. Let's talk about in this week's edition of Takeaway Tuesday!
Cole Beasley Is Your Interim WR1
The Cowboys have yet to find their #1 wide receiver, but Cole Beasley is making a serious statement looking like the most reliable target in Dallas. Being 5'8 and a slot receiver doesn't really help Beasley's case to be the #1 guy, but he's making plays.
Last Sunday, he was the only wide receiver on the team with more than one catch. The other player with more than one reception was Geoff Swaim, who only got his hands on the ball twice. Beasley finished the day with nine receptions for 101 yards and two touchdown catches. The Cowboys need other WRs to step up but in the meantime, let Beasley put the sauce on opposing defenses. Hopefully he continues to hurt defenses like he did versus the Jaguars' feared secondary.
The team still needs a guy who can be a consistent threat on the outside, though. Third-round rookie Michael Gallup could develop into that, but he isn't there yet. We'll have to wait and see. Meanwhile, it's all Beasley.
Bright Future for the Defensive Line
Blake Bortles was sacked three times by the so-called "Hot Boyz" last weekend. To be quite honest, the future for this defensive line looks brightest than it ever has. The return of Maliek Collins and David Irving to the field were desperately needed for this defense to take the next step. Collins and Irving were somewhat limited, but their snap counts will surely increase as the season continues.
A lot of little details went into this sack from Maliek Collins. From his alignment pre-snap to his timing on the spin, it was a beautiful display of rushing the passer by @SavageSevv. https://t.co/CYcfLH6AfB
Randy Gregory also got limited snaps versus the Jaguars, but he was able to make an impact either way. He finished the day with one sack, two hits and one QB hurry. I can't wait until these guys' snaps increase. This should be a very scary unit for opposing quarterbacks.
Dak Prescott's Stats Don't Reflect His Performance
The Jaguars are the best defense this team has faced and yet it's been the offense's best performance. Dak Prescott's passing stats may not look great, but his play was. Even though he failed to cross the 200 yard mark on the air, he rushed for 82 yards and kept Jacksonville's defense honest. Dak has faced a lot of criticism this year and will likely continue to do so.
Even still, we've seen him ball out on various occasions now. Dak can play. He may not be an elite passer, in fact he's far from being that, but he can make this offense work if they play to his strengths.
We've heard players talk about "turning the corner" in Dallas. Cowboys Nation should hope that is the case. What's more frustrating than watching an offense being unable to move the chains and score touchdowns, is knowing they could do it with a better execution and play-calling. Thanks to players like Dak, Ezekiel Elliott and Cole Beasley, there's a silver lining for the Cowboys' offense.
Inconsistency is the Problem for Cowboys
Simply put, this is not the team we had witnessed in the first five weeks of the season. Even in the two prior wins this year, the Dallas Cowboys had not looked dominant at all. Specifically the offense. They hadn't faced a defense as tough as the Jaguars', but they were able to drop 40 on them. Now granted, they did it with the help of the defense, but still. We hadn't seen this version of the Cowboys.
Even with a 40-7 win over the Jaguars, it is tough to imagine Dallas will keep this up as the season continues. Hopefully, they do and I'm wrong about this. They need to be more consistent if they want to end up surprising the NFC East and walk away with the division title.
Although they got the big win, they still left points on the field and fail to execute for touchdowns in the second half. Even when the defense forced turnovers. In close games, this cost you wins in the NFL. The Cowboys can't afford to lose many more games, even in a weak division.
CB Jourdan Lewis Finally Looks Himself In Cowboys’ Blowout Win
The Cowboys' up and down start to 2018 has been full of both positives and negatives, but the one player everyone can agree on and be excited about has been Byron Jones. And, overall, the one position group Cowboys fans have been excited about through six week are the cornerbacks.
Heading into the preseason, fans could not wait to see Jones and Chidobe Awuzie on the outside, with Jourdan Lewis patrolling the slot. It was Anthony Brown, however, who won that slot cornerback role during training camp, and through the first few weeks of the season Jourdan Lewis was nowhere to be found on defense.
Due to an ankle injury which sidelined Chidobe Awuzie for Sunday's game, Lewis finally got his shot to shine. Playing primarily on the boundary as the outside cornerback in Awuzie's absence, Jourdan Lewis looked like his rookie year self against the Jaguars.
Though Lewis was not credited with a pass defense during the game, he did make two tackles, and remained disciplined in coverage all afternoon. Jourdan Lewis also made a fantastic play on the first third down of the game, breaking on the receiver and joining forces with Byron Jones to force the Jags' first 3 and out.
Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.
Lewis also recovered a fumble forced by linebacker Jaylon Smith, making his impact felt throughout the game.
Another area where Jourdan Lewis excelled on Sunday was as a blitzer. The Cowboys have been more apt to blitz on third downs with Kris Richard calling the shots these days, and Lewis (like Awuzie) provides value as a blitzing defensive back.
It's unclear what the Cowboys' plan will be for Jourdan Lewis moving forward. He's too talented to simply waste away on the bench, but he is at his best as an outside cornerback, where the Cowboys currently have two starters that better fit Richard's mold.
While Awuzie is injured Lewis can provide a more-than-adequate fill in, but you have to wonder if they can develop him into a slot cornerback to replace Anthony Brown in the future. Plus, Brown has had a nice bounce back season thus far himself.
The Cowboys suddenly have a surplus of talented young cornerbacks on their roster. Hopefully competition will bring out the best in all four players, including Jourdan Lewis.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for Cowboys Against Jaguars
I don't know what you were personally expecting Sunday afternoon when the Dallas Cowboys squared off against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but I think it's safe to say what happened was a pleasant surprise. The Cowboys not only beat the Jaguars 40-7, but they did so in an absolutely dominant fashion. Hopefully, this is just a sign of things to come.
The Dallas Cowboys will go on the road this week in a matchup with their division rival, the Washington Redskins, in a game that could ultimately decide who wins the NFC East division. But before we get into any discussion about the Redskins, let's talk about The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for the Cowboys against the Jaguars.
As always, please feel free to share any of your opinions about what I chose for each category in this article. I also encourage you to share your own good, bad, and ugly in the comment section located at the bottom. I enjoy hearing all of your feedback and look forward to reading what you have to say.
In a game where just about everything fell just right for the Dallas Cowboys, it was a little difficult to narrow down exactly what I wanted to put in this category. It was a great all-around team effort, so I didn't want to go with an individual. Ultimately, I decided the good for the Cowboys against the Jaguars had to be awarded to the entire offense.
All last week I was trying to figure out how the Cowboys were going to move the ball against the Jaguars top-ranked defense. Jacksonville's defense was ranked No. 1 in the passing game and in total defense. I thought if the Cowboys had a chance it would be on the ground where the Jaguars were just ranked 14th against the run. Boy was I shocked at what took place Sunday afternoon.
The Cowboys offense not only moved the ball on the ground with Quarterback Dak Prescott (83 yards rushing) and Running Back Ezekiel Elliott (106 yards rushing), but also found success in the passing game. Prescott and Wide Receiver Cole Beasley connected with one another nine times for 101 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Overall, it was quite impressive to see the Cowboys put up 40 points against one of the league's best defenses.
For a change, finding something to put in this section this week was extremely difficult. The Dallas Cowboys pretty much played a flawless game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, so I decided the bad had to be that because they played so well our expectations should be for them to continue to play at this level. After all, if they can put up 40 points on the NFL's best defense, why shouldn't this kind of dominance continue.
The sad truth is, we have already seen the Cowboys offense raise our expectations once this season. After the phenomenal performance against the Detroit Lions earlier this season we expected them to pick up where they left off the next few weeks against the Seahawks and Texans. Unfortunately, we know how they played in both of those contest, so we should probably temper our expectations a little.
I don't know about you, but I'm trying not to get too excited about what took place Sunday afternoon against the Jaguars. I'm really hoping that the entire offense is finally starting to click and that Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan has figured out how to use his playmakers to the best of their abilities. But for now, we will just have to hope that this bad will actually turn out to be a good.
I really liked what I've seen for the Dallas Cowboys defense this season, but I absolutely loved how ugly they made the Jacksonville Jaguars offense look Sunday afternoon. This defense is playing at a championship level and they aren't quite receiving the recognition as of yet that they probably deserve. But, that could change if they continue to play the way they did against the Jaguars.
Jacksonville's offense had a tough time getting anything going Sunday against the Cowboys defense. They barely had over 200 total yards of total offense and I lost count of how many three and outs they had. What I loved the most though were the turnovers the Cowboys forced. Turnovers have been pretty nonexistent so far this season, so it was good to see that change against the Jaguars.
I honestly can't say enough good things about the Dallas Cowboys defense and how they've played this season. I'm just hoping they are able to do the same against this week's opponent, the Washington Redskins. With the NFC East division up for grabs, how the defense plays against the Redskins could impact the outcome of this game and help secure the division title.
What is your good, bad, and ugly for the Dallas Cowboys against the Jaguars?
Star Blog6 days ago
If Jason Garrett’s Out, Who’s In? Potential HC Candidates
Star Blog2 days ago
Should the Dallas Cowboys Trade for These 2 Oakland Raiders?
Player News6 days ago
Leighton Vander Esch Lands on List of NFL’s Top 10 Rookies
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Dez Bryant Tweets Desire to Return to Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Did Garrett’s OT Decision Cost Him More Than Just the Game?
Star Blog5 days ago
Is Jason Garrett Losing the Cowboys Locker Room?
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
3 Dallas Cowboys Players Who are Performing at an Elite Level
Game Notes4 days ago
Jaylon Smith Looks Healthy, And The NFL Should Be Terrified