The Dallas Cowboys came out of the gates and got a monkey off their back on the way to defeating their divisional rival New York Giants.
The Dallas Cowboys regular season opener on Sunday night was ugly at times. The offense struggled against the New York Giants vaunted defense, and quarterback Dak Prescott was under duress much of the game.
The offense did enough to win-ugly against the Giants, 19-3, which was great. But the Cowboys defense was the star of the show.
There was not a lack of questions surrounding the Dallas defense this offseason. The unit underwent a huge transformation on the back-end, and had five new starters compared to a year ago.
If the first game was any indication, the defense is going to be a strength of this team. They absolutely dominated Giant’s quarterback Eli Manning and every other aspect of New York’s offense.
America’s Team only allowed the G-Men to gain 35 rushing yards. Manning was only able to pass for 220 yards – much of it in garbage time – and the pass rushers were able to sack him three times.
The defensive unit as a whole played together very well and there didn’t appear to be any weak-links. There were some players that stood out in the game though.
Defensive end DeMarcus “Tank” Lawrence had perhaps his best game of his career. Tank was unblockable most of the game and was disruptive in every aspect. He had 2.0 sacks and a very heads up play on a screen play he blew up.
Linebacker Jaylon Smith made his professional debut and he did not disappoint. It was easy to see why the hype is so high surrounding Smith. He is just a natural terror at middle linebacker.
Smith was robbed of a fumble he forced while fellow linebacker Sean Lee was holding a running back in place and these two will be a force to be reckoned with all season long.
Defensive end Charles Tapper got involved in the action notching a sack of his own. I believe Tapper could be a huge producer in the pass rush and he is off to a great start.
While the Dallas Cowboys’ defense still has plenty of room to grow the start of the season could not have been much better. Surrendering only three points to a hated rival, all while playing together for the first time is something to be proud of.