NYG Report: Week 1 @ Dallas
Kickoff time. The Cowboys get the ball to start the game, now we get to see if Dak Prescott is all bark or if that bite is as real as advertised. Also, we get to see if the money Jerry Reese spent on defense was worth it.
Our defense held them to field goals on multiple drives after allowing them to march into the red zone quite easily. While I was satisfied with the way we stood up to stop them from getting 6, I couldn't help but think they shouldn't have scored at all on a few possessions. This is a talented, but still NEW, defensive unit we're working with; and that's what I found solace in. We were able to stifle their run game, namely Ezekiel Elliot, early and often with the help of our D-Line. 'Zeke' was able to find the end zone in the second half 1 time, but his average was a mere 2.5 yards per carry with a long of 8. Alfred Morris was able to gain 35 total yards on the ground off of 7 carries, while those numbers don't LOOK scary; he damn sure looked scary running it in real time.
The pass defense made me proud as well. Janoris Jenkins had Dez Bryant locked up with no chance of parole all day. Dez had a near touchdown grab, but he dropped it...again; as a result of great coverage in the end zone. Dak found Dez in the right corner of the end zone, which got broken up by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie who played the ball absolutely perfect to stop a sure touchdown. Bryant finished the game with 1 catch for 8 yards. As happy as I was with the play of our secondary, our linebackers have to be more disciplined in coverage on short passes. Dak made a living with short, accurate passes that moves the chains all day long.
The offense came out slow to start the game, in typical fashion, leaving questions about just what the game plan was. Slowly but surely we got it together with Rashad Jennings exposing the Cowboys D-Line, opening up the run game. Eli found Odell for a 45-yard gain that led to a Larry Donnell touchdown to finish the drive. While Odell didn't get to touch the end zone, he opened up the passing game for his fellow receivers. Sterling Shepard caught a 9-yard touchdown from Eli, displaying his playmaking ability. The story of the game, for most of us, was definitely the Victor Cruz go-ahead touchdown with just about 6 minutes left in the game. It was 700 days since Cruz's last NFL game and what better way to come back.
I have to admit that Dak Prescott earned my respect in this game with his poise and confidence. He made effective and efficient short throws, taking limited chances with the deep ball. The deep balls he threw were to Dez in the end zone, who got simply outplayed by our CBs on both plays. He never took a sack or turned the ball over, and I have to salute that man. For a rookie, he handled a home opener against a division rival as well as anyone could have; great game, young man.
In the end, the Cowboys basically pulled an old Giants move. You know, when you play good enough to keep the game close, but shoot yourself in the foot late to lose it. Terrance Williams cut back in bounds instead of heading to the sidelines since they had no timeouts left and needed just a field goal to win. Those 7 seconds seemed like they took forever to run off, but I was glad they did. I was even happier that our run game kept us from giving the ball back with more time remaining on the clock, as we were able to pick up yardage late and kill the clock.
Bottom line: I’d rather be 1-0 with areas we can fix over 0-1 with "man we coulda...". Vereen has to stop dropping sure first downs in the open field, no way around it. We have to cut those penalties out because that game could've easily been less stressful had we got off the more on 3rd downs. Hey, we won and we're on to the next now; a home game as we host the Saints. We owe them for LA...I'll speak about that soon. Holla.