The Dallas Cowboys officially kicked off the 100th season of the National Football League Sunday afternoon at ATT Stadium in Arlington when they hosted their NFC East Rivals, the New York Giants. 93,353 rabid Cowboys fans loved the outcome, as Dallas blew the Giants out by the score of 35-17.
New York won the coin toss and elected to defer to the second half.The kickoff went into the end zone and Dallas set up shop at their 25 for their first possession of the game. The Cowboys picked up a couple of first downs but Prescott threw incomplete for Amari Cooper on a third-and-five and the Giants set up at their 9 following a Rosas drilled the extra point through and the Giants took an early 7-0 lead. The drive was 7 plays, 91 yards and took 4:07.
On their next possession, Prescott hit tight end Blake Jarwin from 28 yards out with 3:19 left in the opening frame. The PAT by Brett Maher was good and the score was tied 7-7. The drive was 11 plays, 75 yards, and took 4:47 off the first quarter clock.
After holding the Giants, Prescott hit Michael Gallup on a 36-yard pass down the sideline that put the Cowboys deep in Giants territory. Dallas closed the deal when Prescott hit Jason Witten from the 3 with 10:19 left in the first half. Maher added the PAT, and Dallas had their first lead of the day, 14-7. The drive was 10 plays, 93 yards, and took 4:59.
Just before halftime Prescott hit Cooper from 21 yards out to give Dallas a 21-7 lead after Maher nailed the extra point. The score came with 1:13 left in the first half of play. The scoring drive was a 13-play, 13, 83-yard affair that consumed 6:43 off the clock.
New York took the opening kickoff of the second half and Eli Manning ripped the Dallas secondary and methodically moved his team down the field. The Dallas defense stiffened once the Giants got in the red zone and force a 28-yard field goal by Rosas. The kick was good and New York narrowed the gap to 21-10 with 10:59 left in the third quarter. The drive was 11 plays, 75 yards, and took 4:01.
Feeling a little lift with the score, the G-Men were determined to shut down the potent Dallas offense as the kicked the ball back to the Cowboys. It didn’t take long for Dallas to shut down that thought, as Prescott hit Cooper on a 45-yard connection on the first play of the possession. Then just 2 plays later Prescott hit Randall Cobb on a 30-yard scoring strike with 9:48 left in the third quarter. Maher added the extra point and Dallas went up 28-10. The drive was 2 plays, 75 yards and 1:11.
On their next possession, Ezekiel Elliott found the end zone from 10 yards out with 1:12 left in the third quarter of play. Maher added the extra point, and the Dallas lead swelled to 35-10. The drive was 7 plays, 89 yards, and consumed 4:01 off the clock.
Manning led the Giants on a TD drive that concluded with2:47 left in the game. The drive was 6 plays and 75 yards and took 2:25. The score came on a 3-yard run by Wayne Gallman, Jr. Rosas added the extra point and the Dallas lead was trimmed to 35-17.
The Giants forced a three-and-out on the ensuing Dallas possession, and following a Jones punt they took over on their own 39 with 1:46 left in the game. Rookie quarterback Daniel Jones came in on the find possession for New York. He moved the team, but fumbled the ball on a third down at the Dallas 39. He was originally ruled down by contact, but after review it was clear Jones fumbled. Chidobe Awuzie recovered and Dallas took over on their 38.
Dak Prescott came in and knelt in victory formation for 2 plays and the game ended and the Cowboys walked off the field with the 35-17 victory, marking their fifth win in a row over the struggling Giants.
We asked Coach Jason Garrett after the big win if he was excited about his team’s performance in the opener. “Yeah, I thought we did some good things in this game. We didn’t get off to a good start. Our first drive we bogged down a little bit. They had a big play in the running game and they go down and score and they go up 7-0, but I thought after that we settled into the game a little bit. I thought we did a good job of mixing the run and pass offensively. We made a lot of plays in the passing game and a lot of guys got involved, different guys scored touchdowns, I just thought it was pretty efficient, it was pretty explosive throughout.”
“Defensively, their runners are big time players; a couple of times he got out on us a little bit. They did make some plays. The second to last drive our defense was not what you’re looking for, obviously. You’re in that situation, you know, where you’re trying to milk the clock and get through the game, but you still want to play with the same identity that you play with all the time and that was disappointing, but we did a better job on that last drive taking the ball away.”
Quarterback Dak Prescott, who owner Jerry Jones reported after the game regarding contract negotiations with Prescott’s agent that a new contract was “imminent”, performed to perfection. He had a perfect quarterback rating of 158.3, becoming just the fourth quarterback in NFL history with 30 passes or more to reach the perfect rating. Jared Goff of the Rams attained the feat on September 27th of last year, Ken O’Brien reached the peak on November 2nd last year, and Kurt Warner accomplished the feat on October 1, 2000.
We asked Dak in his postgame presser how much fun it was with all the receivers he has to throw to this season. “You said it. It’s fun. It’s fun to be a part of it. It’s fun to be the quarterback of this group. To be able to go out there and lead these guys, the offensive line the way they played, our receivers making plays, the backs, obviously, it’s just fun to be a part of this group.”
Running back Ezekiel Elliott, in uniform and playing after just three days of practice following the signing of the largest contract ever awarded to an NFL running back was excited to be back on the field and had nothing but praise for his teammates.
“It felt good. It felt great to be there back with my guys and great to be back on the field. Dak had a hell of a performance out there. The defense was really keyed-in to the run and we just have way too many weapons on the outside and we made ‘em hurt.”
Dallas doesn’t get but a day to enjoy the victory, as they head to FedEx Field in Landover, MD this Sunday to take on another division foe in the Washington Redskins. The ‘Skins were ahead of the hated Philadelphia Eagles Sunday afternoon, but couldn’t keep up in the second half and fell by the score of 32-27. Kickoff is scheduled for noon Central Time. The ‘Boys return back to AT&T Stadium on Sunday, September 22 when they face the Miami Dolphins in a 3:25 pm game.