Did you think the Cowboys would have a second disaster at Metlife Stadium in just three games? For about a quarter and a half, it certainly seemed like they could.
As has become almost habit this season, the Dallas Cowboys came out slow to start Monday night's game. Dallas shot themselves in the foot repeatedly early on, allowing themselves to fall behind 12-3 late in the second quarter. Then, Prescott hit tight end Blake Jarwin for a 42 yard score and a Xavier Woods interception gave Dallas great field position to steal the lead before the half.
Dallas let the Giants hang around for about three quarters, but took the game over in the fourth to run away with a 37-18 victory. Dallas improves to 5-3 on the year and retains their spot atop the NFC East.
Let's get into my game notes from the win.
- There was a lot of talk during the offseason about Xavier Woods “taking the next step” for this Cowboys defense. And while he might not have been that guy through the first few weeks, he's been incredible as of late. Monday night was arguably the best game of his career, as Woods had 4 tackles, an interception, and a forced fumble. Dallas' defense had been quiet all year on the turnover front, but Xavier Woods just about single-handedly changed that against the Giants. It's the other safety spot Cowboys fans need to worry about.
- DeMarcus Lawrence is back. Well, he never really went anywhere but the sack/pressure production and counting stats are starting to get where everyone expected before the season. Lawrence had a clear plan on each rush, and was able to take advantage of Mike Remmers with his excellent quickness and technique. Lawrence and the Cowboys pass rush abused the Giants offensive line for much of the night both with talented individual pass rushers (like Lawrence) and with exciting pressure packages which allowed linebacker Jaylon Smith to get after Daniel Jones.
- With Leighton Vander Esch out, Sean Lee was tasked with playing an entire game at WILL – and boy did he come through. Lee finished with 12 tackles, 1 for loss, and a pass deflection. He was all over the field, and was a major reason why Dallas was able to hold Saquon Barkley to just 2 yards per carry.
- After a slow start quarterback Dak Prescott turned his night around, and once again looked well deserving of the contract he'll receive this offseason. Prescott's first throw of the game was actually an interception, but after the defense held the Giants to just 12 points in the first half the offense was able to explode late in the second quarter and beyond. Prescott threw for 257 yards and 3 touchdowns, finishing the night with an 81.0 QBR. Even when he's a bit off this year he's still able to be downright phenomenal when it matters most. Ironically, his best throw of the night was actually an incompletion. Dak stood in the face of pressure and delivered a dime to Amari Cooper over tight coverage, but Cooper was unable to bring it in.
- Michael Bennett fit right in, huh? Bennett both spelled Lawrence at defensive end and was used as the nickle tackle in replacement of Antwaun Woods, and he was fantastic in each role. Bennett finished his Cowboys debut with a sack, 2 tackles for loss, and 4 quarterback hits. Yeah, I think he'll be useful in Dallas.
- The Cowboys special teams just continuous to be atrocious in 2019. Brett Maher went 3/4 on field goal attempts – a result Dallas can certainly live with – but their kickoff coverage was plain bad on Monday night. Twice the Giants had returns of 40+ yards, something you never see in the NFL these days. They need to clean up their special teams mistakes if they hope to beat the good teams around the league: like the one from Minnesota they play next Sunday.