The Cowboys defense held the Giants to just 260 yards of total offense. They sacked Eli Manning three times and recorded three turnovers. It was probably their best night all season as an overall unit.
To say all of that after a loss is tough to swallow, and the Dallas offense is to blame. The Cowboys couldn’t manage more than one touchdown as they lost their second game this season and gave the Giants the season sweep.
Despite nine days of rest and what we thought was a wake-up-call game in Minnesota last week, the Cowboys’ passing attack continued to sputter. Dak Prescott was sacked three times and threw two interceptions. He completed just 46% of his throws for a paltry 165 yards.
At least two of the sacks on Prescott were due to coverage. Dak held the ball too long as he couldn’t find an open receiver. The Giants did not sack him immediately on their blitzes but disrupted his throws many times with pressure. They did not seem to be missing Jason Pierre-Paul one bit with the amount of rush they generated.
Dez Bryant was targeted nine times and had just one catch all night. Dallas would have had a hard time getting into scoring range anyway, but Bryant made sure of it by fumbling the ball to end the final drive. It was the second time this year that bad play by a wide receiver ended a comeback effort against the Giants.
- Dallas could have had a 10-point lead at halftime, and perhaps the game-tying points, if Dan Bailey’s 55-yard kick had just been a foot longer. The ball clanged off the front of the crossbar for the miss. Of course, coming off the foot of the greatest kicker of all time, it was still dead center.
- Ezekiel Elliott did his part, picking up 107 yards on 24 carries. Given that Dallas had the lead throughout the first half and it was always a one-possession game, it’s surprising that Dallas did not utilize the run more. It was the only thing that consistently worked all day.
- The early box score has Sean Lee with 18 total tackles tonight. He was incredible tonight, shutting down run plays and short passes at every turn.
- Anthony Brown snagged one of the nicest interceptions you’ll ever see away from Odell Beckham. His read and react on the play was flawless and he did what so few Cowboys defensive backs seem to do by completing the catch. He just keeps flashing his tremendous potential.
- Tyrone Crawford and Benson Mayowa each recorded a sack as Dallas put plenty of pressure on Eli Manning. DeMarcus Lawrence was not on the field much dealing with back issues, but we did see him getting close to Eli on a few plays. He was used selectively and the rest of the team did a nice job in his absence.
- Brice Butler has a chance at a touchdown, leaping over Eli Apple in the end zone for a jump ball but failing to make the catch. Those are make-or-break plays for a guy trying to earn a new contract.
- Terrance Williams has the team’s only touchdown on a gorgeous fake. The entire Giants defense bit as Prescott faked a toss to Elliott, running one way while Williams ran uncovered for the end zone. Dak just had to gently lob it to him for the score.
Let’s recap where the Cowboys stand after the loss. Now 11-2 on the season, they are still well within the driver’s seat for their postseason goals. They still have a two-game lead over New York for the division title with only three games to go. Of course, the Giants now hold the tiebreaker after beating Dallas twice.
As for other NFC goals, the Seahawks’ loss in Green Bay was a help. Dallas is still in good position to claim a first-round bye and home field advantage in the weeks ahead. Seattle fell to 8-4-1 today, leaving the Detroit Lions as the next closest team with their 9-4 record.