Dallas 19, N.Y. Giants 3: Dominance, for Starters
The Dallas Cowboys were once known as the fastest-starting team in the NFL. Most fans are well aware that the team once won 17 consecutive opening-day games between 1965 and 1981.
Those days are long gone, and the first game of seasons for the past twenty years have been more of a mixed bag. Since 1998, Dallas has an opening-day mark of 10-10, and several of those games have been nail-biters.
The last two season openers against the Giants produced two one-point games, with Dallas taking a 27-26 win in 2015 only to lose 20-19 the following season.
Sunday night’s game did not cause the same anxiety. The Dallas defense, with its new secondary, shut down the Odell Beckham-less Giants offense, and the Dallas offense did enough to give the Cowboys a 19-3 win.
The big question marks heading into the season focused on the defensive side of the ball, but the defense was a strong point on Sunday night. Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence recorded two sacks, and the line was able to pressure Eli Manning throughout much of the night.
Although the Cowboys lost Orlando Scandrick to a broken hand, second-year corner Anthony Brown came up huge with an interception in the fourth quarter. The play occurred with 7:48 remaining in the game and all but ended any chance of a New York comeback.
Dak Prescott missed a few throws, but he was largely efficient and did not throw an interception. Ezekiel Elliott picked up where he left off last year, rushing for 104 yards on 24 carries.
The highlight of the game came from receiver Cole Beasley. With Dallas facing a 3rd and 6 early in the fourth quarter, Prescott threw the ball on a short out to Beasley. Beasley managed to tip the ball to himself, then trapped the ball along the nameplate on his back shoulder before hauling in the pass to gain seven yards. The play allowed the Cowboys to maintain possession and drain another three minutes off the clock in the fourth quarter.
The three points were the fewest allowed by the Cowboys on opening day since the 1995 Cowboys beat the Giants, 35-0.
The 16-point point differential in the season-opener was the greatest since the Cowboys beat the Browns 28-10 in 2008.
Dallas travels to Denver to face the Broncos on Sunday afternoon.