It wasn’t a fun start, but the Dallas Cowboys whipped the Giants and came away with an impressive season-opening 35-17 victory. Even in good years recently, the Cowboys have struggled in the first game of the season. That was not an issue today, perhaps a sign that these Cowboys have turned the corner into the team everyone has been waiting for.
The Giants got out to a 7-0 lead on the back of a 59-yard run from Saquon Barkley and a beautiful play fake for a short touchdown from Eli Manning to Evan Engram, but the Cowboys dominated from there. It was a coming-out party, for Dak Prescott, for Michael Gallup, and certainly for new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. If there were any doubts about what Moore could bring to the table, the young hotshot coordinator had a resounding answer: “I got this!”
There were bunched formations, pre-snap movement and play-action fakes that confused the Giants all game long. Three of Prescott’s four touchdown passes went to wide-open receivers. They were all part of the motion and window dressing coached up by Moore. It looked much more like Sean McVay’s vaunted offense than the smash-mouth style we’ve gotten used to under Jason Garrett and Scott Linehan.
Dallas’ offense that has long been thought of as ground and pound, threw early and often. Moore called for 32 passes, while running it 30 times, a skewed number due to the team running out the clock in the fourth quarter.
Prescott finished with a perfect passer rating and threw for 405 yards to go along with his four passing touchdowns. He was in complete control of the offense and led them to the line of scrimmage playing much faster than we’ve grown accustomed to seeing the Cowboys. The offense routinely ran plays with 15 seconds or more left on the play clock.
Moore and Prescott also attacked the middle of the field much more than Dak’s done in his first three years in the league.
It wasn’t just a stellar day for Prescott, but the entire offense. Gallup set a career-high with 158 yards, Amari Cooper went over a 100 yards with a score and Randall Cobb had 69 yards and a touchdown too. Cobbs biggest contribution was a catch and run on third down that set up a score. And, of course, Giant killer Jason Witten caught a touchdown in his return.
As good as the passing game was, it would be hard to omit Ezekiel Elliott’s role on the day. He came in on a short week to score a touchdown and had multiple blitz pickups that allowed Prescott to deliver throws from the pocket. The entire offensive line kept Prescott clean all game long.
This was a money game for the Cowboys; Prescott proved he warrants the $30+ million deal, Elliott showed he was worth the money and Amari Cooper showed why he’ll be getting paid soon too. Garrett and Moore demonstrated why they could be getting in line for extensions as well.
The Cowboys made it look easy on offense, dismantling the Giants to kick-off the season 1-0. It’s been a long time coming for this team.
You can chat with or follow Ben on twitter @BenGrimaldi