The Dallas Cowboys were able to defeat the New York Giants on Sunday despite several ‘here we go again’ moments and their reoccurring issues.
The inauspicious start by the Dallas Cowboys offense on the road of their Week 17 divisional matchup against the New York Giants on Sunday made for several “here we go again’ moments. It was disappointing to see Dallas get absolutely no points off of two early Giant turnovers. And placekicker Brett Maher didn’t provide any comfort when he missed a 34-yard field goal to cap off a scoreless first quarter in the Big Apple.
In fairness, the inactive status of running back Ezekiel Elliott, tackle Tyron Smith and guard Zack Martin had an obvious affect on the flow of the offense. That was a lot of talent standing on the sidelines.
It seemed like there was no rhythm or consistency to the Cowboys’ offense, except when the Giants didn’t feel like covering or tackling tight end Blake Jarwin. Jarwin had a game for the ages. One that not even future Hall of Fame tight end Jason Witten has ever had. The second-year tight end posted a career-high seven receptions for 119 yards and three touchdowns against the Giants.
Playing in place of Tyron Smith, left tackle Cameron Fleming had an awful game. He repeatedly gave up pressure, allowed multiple sacks, other plays to be blown up, and had a huge false start penalty on the Cowboys’ final drive.
Quarterback Dak Prescott continued to miss the deep ball, overthrowing wide receivers Tavon Austin and Amari Cooper, yet again. The first two touchdown throws to Jarwin appeared to be behind him as Prescott is still having issues anticipating his throws and getting the ball out sooner. It certainly helped the New York defenders went to sleep on both plays.
Prescott seemed to be at his best when threw on the run. He made four big plays with his feet. The first two were to wide receiver Allen Hurns and on the third touchdown pass to Jarwin. The last two were on the touchdown to wide receiver Cole Beasley and the game-winning two-point conversion to wide receiver Michael Gallup.
Why offensive coordinator Scott Linehan doesn’t design more roll out plays is mystifying. Prescott has shown a knack to make plays with his feet when he keeps the ball and or throwing on the run. It allows Dak to keep his eyes downfield, where they should be.
Prescott had great stats but he still threw the ball way too many times. He would end the day throwing for 387 yards and four touchdowns, completing just 27 of his 44 passes. In fact, his 44 passing attempts doubled the 22 rushing attempts. The balance simply wasn’t there and its still a concern.
My biggest surprise and disappointment was the Cowboys’ defense. Despite the early takeaways, this unit was shredded for over 400 yards for the second consecutive game, giving up a season-high 35 points to the Giants.
While it was a collective bad performance, safety Jeff Heath continues to remind fans why we should question how he still has a spot on this roster. His repetitive poor tackling technique and bad positioning made his performance stand out negatively.
Finally, head coach Jason Garrett has taken his share of lumps in the media. He has to be given credit for going for the two-point conversion at the end of the game. The ninth-year head coach understood it did no one on his team any good to go into overtime. It was refreshing to see Garrett unequivocally play to win.
So what does it all mean? Can the Dallas Cowboys win at home next week with the offense still trying to find its way and a suddenly struggling defense? Do you have any confidence going into next week? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.