The Dallas Cowboys opened their 2017 season in style, slaying the New York Giants 19-3 in the most one-sided victory between the two rivals in several years.
The Cowboys defense was the real story of the night, sacking Eli Manning three times and rarely letting them even get close to the endzone. DeMarcus Lawrence had two of those sacks; a rare feat for a Dallas defender. In all of 2016, only Maliek Collins had a two-sack game for the Cowboys against the Cleveland Browns.
The other sack came from Charles Tapper, making his NFL debut after missing all of his rookie season with a spinal condition. 2016 classmate Jaylon Smith also debuted and was second on the team with seven tackles. Unsurprisingly, Sean Lee led the way with eight.
On offense, Ezekiel Elliott had 104 rushing yards and another 36 yards receiving. The Cowboys lone touchdown went from Dak Prescott to Jason Witten, who led the team with seven catches for 59 yards. Terrance Williams also had a nice night receiving; 68 yards on six catches.
Prescott wasn’t as sharp as we’re accustomed to but still made critical plays and never turned it over. He completed 24 of 39 passes for 268 yards, and also had 24 yards rushing. He was only sacked once and wasn’t pressured too often, which is a credit to new offensive line starters Chaz Green and La’el Collins.
The Giants were missing receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who was deactivated as his preseason ankle injury hasn’t healed fully. Their offense was held to just 233 total yards and couldn’t find the endzone without its franchise player.
The Cowboys had lost three-straight games against the Giants, getting swept last year and losing their second meeting in 2015. Dallas leads the all-time series between the division rivals with a 63-46-2 record.
With only three points, the Giants scored the fewest points in the Cowboys-Giants rivalry since 2003. Ironically, that was also a 19-3 win by Dallas. Jason Witten was a rookie then and also had a touchdown catch in that game, thrown by the immortal Quincy Carter.
- Dan Bailey started 2017 looking once again like one of the greatest kickers in NFL history, hitting 4-of-4 all right down the middle. His longest was a 48-yarder.
- Jason Witten became the Cowboys all-time leader in receiving yards tonight. He also closed with one score of Michael Irvin for third in all-time receiving touchdowns.
- CB Orlando Scandrick left the game early with a left hand injury. It has since been confirmed as a fracture and his return timetable is not yet known.
- Speaking of cornerbacks, Anthony Brown made a key interception in the 4th quarter, all but killing the Giants’ hopes of a comeback and setting up the Cowboys’ final field goal. Brown’s one INT last season also came against the Giants.
- Elsewhere in the NFC East today, the Philadelphia Eagles got a road win in Washington. The Cowboys won’t play another divisional opponent until Week 8 when they also head to the nation’s capitol.
- Dallas’ next game will be on the road against the Broncos. Denver opens their season tomorrow night, hosting the Chargers.