The Dallas Cowboys completed the ultimate goal this past Sunday in getting a win against the New York Giants. While the final score of 44-20 gives the first impression of a dominant performance, I am hesitant to call yesterday dominant. There are a few reasons as to why I think improvements not only can be made but that the lackluster moments from yesterday could be the best thing to come from the game.
Let me get this out of the way immediately: it is the NFL and you take every single win you can get in this league filled with parity and unpredictability. I can’t ever complain too much following a victory. After that, good teams find ways to constantly improve and that is why I believe the Cowboys are a good football team.
Sunday did show us some areas that still are cause for concern. The first half was evidence of a lackluster start as the Cowboys let a completely undermanned Giants team stay tied with them almost through the first half until the Cowboys’ offense marched down the field for a two-minute drill touchdown.
Week 5 told us the Dallas Cowboys are good but still have work to do
Against a team that, in just the second quarter, didn’t have their starting quarterback, running back, and two receivers, the Cowboys played down to their opponent’s level. Fortunately, the talent disparity took over, but a half like that will get the Cowboys ran out of town against playoff-caliber teams. That can’t happen for a team with Super Bowl aspirations.
Going into Sunday, the Giants really only had receiver Kadarius Toney as a threat outside. Prior to this game, I discussed how he could be a player to watch and was he ever. The Cowboys’ defense let the one serious threat to their success on Sunday haul in 10 catches for 189 yards, most of which came from Giants backup quarterback, Mike Glennon.
I don’t know if the Cowboys will play an offense with this much talent sidelined the rest of the way. To be the team the Cowboys want to be, they have to show the ability to at least slow down the opposing teams’ top targets. Cornerback Trevon Diggs can do a lot, but when teams scheme to get their top targets on others, they need to answer the bell.
Offensively, the Cowboys started extremely slow. Two uncharacteristic first-half turnovers by quarterback Dak Prescott hampered the offense from scoring more points. Luckily, the Giants couldn’t capitalize for any points off of these turnovers but a minus-2 turnover differential early in the game isn’t a game I want to play against more explosive offenses.
The first half of yesterday might be the best thing for the Cowboys in a hidden blessing. It seems odd and it seems weird, but I think it is exactly what they needed for a few reasons. First, this team left opportunities on the table and still dismantled a lesser opponent by hanging 44 points on them. Good teams find a way to pull away, exactly like the Cowboys did.
Secondly, I don’t think I want the Cowboys playing their best ball right now. That isn’t sustainable. Get the offensive miscues out of the way, figure out some defensive schemes they like and dislike, and know what it takes to come out of the gate hot.
Time and time again the NFL playoffs see the team who is hot at the right time, not necessarily the best team, make a run. This team has the two-headed rushing attack, the passing game, and an opportunistic defense that could be lethal if they put it together at the right time.
Take the W, clean up the mistakes, but in my opinion, flush this game away and toss the film. Sure, there could be some things to get from the film, but personally, as a former player, there isn’t much schematically to get from this one. Spend the time prepping and having those honest discussions of what works and what doesn’t on each side of the ball.
The Cowboys played bully ball against a team that couldn’t match up across the board and while that is what it takes sometimes, more often it takes execution. There are things to clean up, areas to improve, but the Cowboys might just be lucky those issues reared their head now with 13 more weeks to go. It’s a long season, good teams get better, and the Dallas Cowboys should strive to set this game as their new baseline.