In their season opener last Sunday the Dallas Cowboys got off to an incredible start, defeating the New York Giants 35-17. And it wasn’t even as close as that blowout final score indicates.
The Cowboys offense was as efficient as ever, with every decision having a purpose and every play being executed to perfection. On defense they mostly just needed to protect the lead, but they held the Giants under 20 points during this dominant win.
Let’s get into my game notes from the Cowboys fast start and first victory of the 2019 season.
- You can’t talk about this game without praising new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. An offense that looked constipated during the last two seasons absolutely exploded on Sunday. Moore schemed up open receivers and easy throws for Dak Prescott, utilized pre-snap motion and formation shifts on what seemed like every play, and deployed play action on 47% of their pass attempts. This was a clinic on “modernizing” an offense, and the Cowboys have the personnel to turn Moore’s vision into a reality.
- Dak Prescott was incredible on Sunday. Kellen Moore put the offense in position to succeed, and Prescott took advantage of each opportunity he had. Throwing for over 400 yards and 4 touchdowns Dak had arguably the best game of his career to open up his contract season. The play that stands out, though, was his touchdown pass to Amari Cooper. On a key third down Prescott knew exactly where he was going pre-snap, and when Cooper beat man coverage with ease, Prescott dropped a perfectly placed dime in there for the score.
- The Cowboys have completely overhauled their receiving corps over the last two seasons, and we saw it all come together on Sunday. Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup each had huge days, and even free agent signing Randall Cobb got in on the action. Gallup seemed to be the go-to target for Prescott on third down, and his ability to create yards after the catch makes him so dangerous. Honestly, that makes all three of these guys dangerous. Randall Cobb’s third down stiff arm conversion turned what would have been a field goal attempt into an easy touchdown that really showed that the rout was on.
- One play design in particular thats stood out to me was on Ezekiel Elliott’s touchdown run. The Cowboys lined up with Prescott in the gun and Elliott to his right. They then brought Tavon Austin in jet motion across the formation (right to left) before the snap. Once the ball was snapped, they had Jason Witten cross the formation left to right to create a split-zone type block. All this movement confused the Giants’ defense, as Prescott could have handed to Elliott, shoveled the ball to Austin, or pulled the ball and followed Witten as a lead blocker to the right side. This was a thing of beauty and resulted in a rather easy touchdown run for Elliott.
- I can’t go a whole post without talking about the defense, so let’s give a shoutout to Xavier Woods. It’s rare a player with training camp hype lives up to that hype during the opening week of the regular season, but Woods did so and more. On the first play of the game Woods forced a fumble, and really set the tone for the kind of day he was going to have. Safety was considered a major weakness of the Cowboys before the season, but Woods is proving a lot of people wrong already.