The Dallas Cowboys used their super-talented defense to dictate the story of the game in New York. But there was more to it than big plays.
Coming into the game against the Giants on primetime, everyone knew about the stars on the Cowboys roster. They are as big as the one on the helmet, but underneath that headgear, there was something else that could stand them in good stead as the season goes on.
Cowboys Defense More Than Just Big Plays
Cowboys Defense Sets the Tone
It didn’t look that way early on as just the second play of the game. Jayron Kearse got an unnecessary roughness flag that cost 15 yards and took the Giants to midfield. This could have been a spark that the home team needed. It was though, a marker. The tone was set that the Cowboys D would be after Daniel Jones all game. Soon after the Giants were indeed threatening to take the lead but suffered their own penalty inside the Dallas ten-yard line. With momentum stalled, leading to a blocked field goal with Noah Igbinoghene racing down the sideline for the opening score.
It is perhaps inevitable that Trevon Diggs got a flag. His super aggressive ball-hawking will lead to some bumps but on this occasion. It was a holding call that drew a yellow and kept a Giants drive alive. It wasn’t to be costly though and the fact this was only the second penalty that the Cowboys suffered in the first half showed that the fast aggressive style was matched by playing safe.
Another flag flew against the defense in the third quarter. Terence Steele got the only flag for the offensive side of the ball, a false start knocking a Dak Prescott led drive back from a promising position on the field. The Cowboys were called back just twice more in the game, late in the fourth quarter with the game dead. Jones was trying to salvage something from the rainy night, Markquese Bell had a holding call, and Sam Williams was offside trying to get a jump on Jones.
The big plays are the ones that make the highlight reels. After all, it is very rare that you will get penalty calls repeated unless they are subject of a controversy. This was of course a great display by the Cowboys D. Often when a game goes your way it is matched by clean football. You get the rub and the bounce of the ball, but playing sharp and with good discipline will bring rewards too.
It is well and good getting to the quarterback, but if you are too quick off your mark then it makes you more cautious when anticipating the snap count. Being a good cornerback means more than having a natural skill set, it also means playing smart. If this trend continues the Cowboys can continue to be fast and hungry for the ball. As we can see from Sunday night, this reaps huge dividends. This will add an extra element of fear to opponents.
Main Photo Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports