2022 NFL Season, Week 3: What We Learned from Cowboys’ Win over Giants Monday Night
No Dak, no problem. Cooper Rush began his second game in 2022. He completed 21 of 31 passes for 215 yard and made a critical touchdown pass to CeeDee lamb to propel the Cowboys past the Giants at the end of the fourth quarter. Rush has shown grace and ability to handle the enormous responsibilities of Cowboys quarterback in two games. His performance led to the Cowboys outgaining the Giants by more that a yard per play. Rush’s series of completions on the touchdown drive, including a bullet to Lamb for conversion of a fourth-and-4, helped the Cowboys win a significant victory early in the season. The illogical quarterback debate will be left for Twitter users to discuss in the days ahead. We can however acknowledge Rush’s contributions in the two previous games. It’s why Dallas is now 2-1.
Still, the Giants’ line has issues. Although the statistics don’t support it, Daniel Jones performed well, with the exception of his last attempt which was lost to Trevon Diggs. Jones was the Giants’ quarterback for the past few years. Jones was composed, even though some of his passes were a bit slow. He still had a lot to say throughout the night. His receivers didn’t always do him any favors, and neither did the ones who were supposed to protect him. The offensive line is the one to blame for Jones’s loss. They gave in to QB pressures on an astonishing 40.5% of Jones’ dropbacks Monday night. Jones was literally put under pressure for most of the game. He was fired five times and still managed to keep the Giants in business. Jones never had enough time for himself to settle down, which is a sign of New York’s current state. The first-rounder, however, will enjoy the tape even though rookie tackle Evan Neal is the target of Dan Quinn’s defensive coordinator.
Saquon Barkley is…back? Saquon Barkley is leading all running backs with more rush yards than expected over the past three weeks (+112) and trailing only Lamar Jackson of all positions. Barkley accounted for 27 of the RYOE total, with +31 coming from his 36-yard touchdown run. Giants fans have waited years for Barkley’s return to the form that saw his 2018 second-round selection. Barkley appears to be healthy again and is capable of making a difference in this Giants offense. He displays the same burst and agility as he did when he was first selected second overall in 2018. This is a great timing, considering that Barkley is in his contract year. His contributions will be a huge help to the Giants if he is able to stay healthy throughout the season.
Dallas’s rushing attack: Also back. Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliot, who combined to rush 28 times for 178 yards and one touchdown, deserve a 10-gallon hat. They were able to shield Rush and establish a ground attack that controlled Rush’s game. This helped Dallas’ offense move it consistently throughout the night. Their offensive ambitions were hampered by penalties, but Elliott was there to help in key moments of short-yardage on a drive that culminated with an Elliott score of 1-yards. Rush was able to move the ball down field because of the threat of the run. New York’s defense also remained resolute. This was particularly important on the drive that resulted in the decisive touchdown. A lot of credit goes to Jason Peters, who was inserted at left guard. On third-and-12, Dallas called a throw left. The Cowboys quickly picked up the first down with a 27-yard Elliott run. This was what made the Cowboys an elite football team in Elliott’s early career. While Elliott isn’t the same home run hitter as years ago, his one-two punch with Elliott and Pollard can prove to be a powerful weapon for Dallas, regardless of the quarterback.
Dallas’ defense is not just Micah Parsons. Although the second-year linebacker can be a game-wrecker, Monday night was a victory for Demarcus Lawrence. For much of the night Dan Quinn, the defensive coordinator, played with Lawrence’s alignment, creating problems for New York’s offensive line. Lawrence capitalized on the situation to score three sacks, four pressures, and a total of four pressures. Parsons added four pressures to the game, and they teamed up with Dorance (four pressures, one bag) to harass Jones throughout the night. Diggs’ diving interception by Dallas sealed the win. Quinn should be proud of his unit for its ability to make a significant difference. In the coming weeks, it will matter even more.
Next Gen stat of this game: Cooper Rush completed 10 out of 15 passes for 112 yard and a touchdown agains